Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Hi, My Name is Kaya and I'm Anti-Pepperoni.

Why am I in the minority where pepperoni is concerned? I don't like pepperoni. I'll eat pepperoni pizza if it's the only thing around, such as last night (and leftovers for lunch today) but in reality, it's kinda like eating cooked carrots. I don't care for them much, but if they're on my dinner plate I'll consume them. I prefer them raw, with bleu cheese dressing. :-)

Packaged pepperoni has that funky reddish-orange greasiness. I think I need to try some authentic Italian deli pepperoni. I'm betting that the difference will be huge, like when you have homemade macaroni and cheese as opposed to the boxed kind with that not-found-in-nature powdered orange cheese. C'mon, admit it...we all like Kraft.

When I make pizza, it isn't like Domino's or Papa John's, Godfather's, Double Dave's or Pizza Hut. It isn't like DiGiorno, Amy's Organic, Red Baron or my early childhood favorite, Totino's. It definitely isn't like the best pizza in the U.S., the Sweep The Kitchen pizza at Johnny's Pizza in Monroe, Louisiana, where I grew up. I would say it's the best in the world, but since I haven't been outside of the U.S., aside from Mexico, I can't make that claim. I'm betting there is fabulous pizza to be had in Italy. I've had NY style pizza, folding the thin crust and eating it like Tony Manero (John Travolta) in the opening scenes of "Saturday Night Fever" and still enjoy Johnny's more.

[Quick Kaya trivia: SNF was my very first R rated movie. My mother and her friend took Kim & me to see it and we sat at least four rows away from them in an almost empty must've been the first showing of the day. They giggled uncontrollably when Tony's friend pretends to drive off while he's trying to open the car door, causing Tony to complain "You assholes almost broke my pussy finger!". My sister and I were truly embarrassed by their laughter.]

Let me get back on track but take a moment to rhapsodize about the Sweep The Kitchen pizzza. It had it all. Pepperoni, ham, hamburger, sausage, bacon, onions, mushrooms, black olive, bell peppers, jalapeƱos and anchovies on a thin pizza crust spread with an unassuming but perfectly complimentary red sauce and covered with mozzarella. The sauce and toppings are always spread to the very edge, so the "pizza bones" or crust, if you prefer, were almost nonexistent. Johnny is a hometown Monroe man who started the chain in the year of my birth, probably in homage to my future cooking skills. I wish. Truthfully, the year I was born, he opened his first pizza joint in a tiny building on Desiard across from the university. Back then (and when I went there) it was known as Northeast Louisiana University. Now it is called the University of Louisiana at Monroe. Ugh. At least the college students have plenty of Johnny's Pizza restaurants to order from now. The local chain survived and thrived enough to make it through a rough spot in the 80's when they filed Chapter 11. They introduced the Sweep The Swamp pizza in the 80's, too, so the decade wasn't all bad.

No, my pizzas are more exotic creations. My current fav is smoked salmon, goat cheese, red onion, capers, anchovies and mozzarella on a thin crust. I don't like bready pizza crust. I don't care much for deep dish at all, unless the crust is thin and the fillings are plentiful. As Frederick says, a pizza cobbler. And I don't use red pizza sauce much. I usually just spread the crust with crushed garlic or garlic paste and layer on a bit of mozzarella before topping it with whatever...and more mozzarella on top, of course. I like making mini pizzas on 81/2" x 11" sheets of lavash bread. This type of lavash looks a little bit thicker than a tortilla and comes in precut rectangular sheets. It makes a fantastic cracker type crust.

I like pizza margherita, the classic tomato, fresh basil and mozzarella. I like using proscuitto or chicken and ingredients such as thin slices of seeded tomatoes, mushrooms, asparagus, red onion, olives (in moderation, since Frank doesn't care much for them), basil, shrimp, spinach, capers and of course anchovies. If I have deli meats, like hot sopresata or capicola hard salami, I'll use those, too. I suppose they are my answer to the sliced pepperoni found in unrefrigerated packages in the grocery store. How many preservatives do they have in order to be on the shelves in simple plastic packages? Lately I've been dreaming of a chicken, monterey jack, onion and long green chile pizza.

What do you like on your pizza? And please, no hate mail from pepperoni lovers. I don't knock anyone's preferences so don't have a hissy over mine.


Frederick Reinhardt said...

I'm just seething with anger over your insulting, hate-filled email. And I would like to mention a couple of things.
A) Carrots are the bomb...especially steamed with melted butter and fresh cracked pepper on them. What did the veggies ever do to you? I think you just have a hatred for all things orange.
B) If I ever hear of you knocking KRAFT Mac n' Cheese again, it'll be the last time you see Adrian. ( things!!!)
C) How could you go through your entire pizza tirade and fail to mention the best pizza in Austin at our very own Frank & Angie's (despite Mangia being named the best pizza in the country...I just get horribly offended having to spend $35 on a pizza that only has 6 slices).
D) Your pizzas are the bomb-digity bomb bomb.
E) Since you asked, I'm an old fashioned SMO (Italian Sausage, Mushroom, & Onion) kind of guy...but my absolute favorite is Lagosi's Lament at F&A...can't beat a pizza that has an entire bulb of oven roasted garlic on top of it!

Kaya said...

A) Anything with melted butter is good. I could eat sauteed rat tail with melted butter and freshly ground pepper. Add melted cheese and I'll ask for a second helping.
B) I distinctly did not knock Kraft Dinner...I just commented on the day glo color of the cheese.
C) It's true, I ADORE F&A's. Their sausage & roasted garlic is the bomb. But I still love Sweep The Kitchen more.
D) Thank you, you have wonderful taste!
E) Mmmmm....roast garlic.

TwinKim said...

First, I agree that Johnny's Sweep the Kitchen pizza is the best pizza ever. I would practically give my firstborn for a couple of hot, tasty, large STKs right now, particularly after he got into a pushing fight with a GIRL in his first grade class and lost recess yesterday. No matter how much of a little beyotch she is, you don't fight with girls.

Second, carrots are fantastic. Who's sibling are you?? Have you forgotten copper pennies? I craved cooked carrots while pregnant with the same son I'm willing to trade for pizza. Sweet baby carrots, cooked just to softness with butter and maybe a dusting of garlic powder and pepper--yum, yum, yum!

As I can't get Johnny's Pizza here in Missouri, my next favorite pizza is dependent upon one thing. My hormones. If it's Game Day for the Crimson Tide, I'm ordering a pepperoni and pork sausage pizza from Pizza Hut with a side of hot wings. I don't know what they put in that sauce but it sure makes the demons back down and helps my family survive the week. If it's not Arts and Craft week at Panty Camp, my favorite pizza is my own. I make our childhood pizza, deep dish with a bready, yeasty dough and pile it with hamburger, bacon bits and tons of mozzarella and cheddar cheese. To steal a phrase, now that's good eats!

Frederick Reinhardt said...

LOVE LOVE LOVE Arts & Crafts day at panty camp!!!!!!!! Nothing bleeds like Crimson pun intended!!! You should be ashamed of yourself for admitting to eating Pizza Hut. Nothing sends me to the toilet with the bends faster than shag-nasty Pizza Hut.

Kaya said...

Ummmmmkay...the only thing I crave when I'm Taking Carrie to the Prom is salt & vinegar chips. No pizza. I'm also hoping Pizza Hut in MO is better than the one in this state, 'cause Freddy is right, it's nasty. Not as nasty as that cardboard covered with red sauce and cheese pizza at Imo's that you made me eat during one visit. Blech!

Please tell my boy that it is only okay to fight girls if they are in the boxing ring with you and everyone is wearing protective gear.

I abhor copper pennies. I'm unsure why you like them. They were the worst thing Mom made us eat. WTH was that reddish sauce they marinated in? GROSS.

Juliabohemian said...

I don't liek pepparoni either. I don't eat beef or pork, for medical reasons. But, after I found out how and with what it was made, I was convinced it wasn't for me.

When I went to see the Spiderman movie the theater was filled with like, fifteen year old girls who giggled through the entire movie at Tobey Maguire. I remembered being sexually frustrated at that age, so I just ignored them.