“What would you like on your pizza?” asked our friend in Italy, addressing my kids.
“Pineapple” answered my son joyfully.
“Pineapple! that is disgusting”
“Chicken! is that a joke?”
“Ok, ok, ok beef and feta cheese”
no response, a look of horror instead.
Turns out that most of what we North Americans place on pizza is considered humorously disgusting in Italy. The cultural appropriation of a food and bending it around into unrecognizable dimensions is full of uneasy yet comedic tension. We still call pizza Italian. Yet we have created a zombie bitten by a vampire concoction, that the originators wouldn’t recognize.
How to explain pizza to Italians?
A snake is a creature of equal weirdness. It has no legs, no ears, no shoulders and no eyelids. Yet it dances across the plains with elegance that makes you curse all the unnecessary appendages. It can inspire fear. It has come to symbolize both good and evil in different cultures. In some religions they are considered divine, in possession of mystical powers. In others, they represent sin and are associated with sinister influences. Finally, a snake can be associated with the idea of eroticism. So much confusion with one living creature. Will we ever look at a snake with clarity?
Needless to say that all the pizza I ate in Italy was fantastic. Beyond fantastic. It was amazing.
Snake Pizza Ingredients
Spicy Olives (seems appropriate that the snake should bite back)
Snake Pizza Recipe
To make the dough, I placed the yeast and sugar in the warm water and let it sit for 10 minutes. Then I added water on top of flour and salt. Poured the olive oil on top and mixed by spoon. Then I kneaded the dough for about 10 minutes. I covered the dough with a kitchen towel and let it rest for one hour. Later I punched in the risen dough and kneaded it some more for a few minutes. Then I used my hands and a roll pin to get it into a thin long strip.
The red spinach was an experiment. My mother gave me some to try. It tasted bitter like arugula when uncooked. After it cooked inside the snake pizza it turned a dark burgundy red and tasted like regular spinach. I don’t like tomato sauce on pizza, the pesto was my substitute.
I baked the whole thing in the over for 30 minutes. It was super yummy. The crust was soft. The fillings were tasty without being overwhelming. I was super happy with the end product. The whole thing got eaten up by the end of the evening by my family.
Here is what it looked like at the end
Music in the video by Kevin MacLeod. Song title “One Eyed Maestro”. Visit his website at http://incompetech.com/
Funnily enough, my husband is the only one who complained that it looked a bit too creepy. My kids on the other hand found the concept delightful. My son, however, exclaimed that this creation can’t be called pizza. “Mom! you can’t call it pizza, because it has no tomato sauce. It’s good, I just wouldn’t call it pizza.” We had a long discussion about the definition of pizza. Me arguing that pizza doesn’t have to have tomato sauce. Him arguing the opposite. Finally he exclaimed definitively: “Even in Italy, pizza had tomato sauce on it”. I had no answer to that and thus he won the argument. So I guess I should call this post Not-pizza pizza snake.
This is one of many recipes I created to inspire me while writing a novel about food.