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Pizza and spaghetti were classic Italian dishes as much as bagels represented Jewish food and egg rolls represented Chinese culinary practices. Films about Italian-Americans have prominently featured pizza consumption as a definitive marker of ethnic identity. It should therefore come as no surprise that several cultural connections between pizza and Italian-Americans have played with the more negative aspects of the reputation of this immigrant group.

Along with Swiss fondue parties and backyard Hawaiian luaus, pizza moved beyond an urban context into a suburban one. This playful sense of creativity made pizza the perfect make-at-home snack or meal and technology enabled consumers to have pizza at any time. The very context in which pizza was consumed changed dramatically as pizza grew more popular. Prior to the war, Italian-Americans made pizzas at home, certainly, but they also consumed them on the street and communally in pizzerias.

After the war, the private pizza was born, as families and individuals ate pizzas in the privacy of their own kitchens and dining rooms, assisted to a great extent by frozen-food technology and the growing availability of pizza delivered to the home. Pizza delivery made life easier for college students and working families. It also prompted a new American pastime: the pizza delivery prank, where individuals would order pizza delivery sometimes dozens for unsuspecting individuals. Certainly pizza was one of the first foods to be delivered to consumers, making it even easier to order a quick meal, snack or party food.

ISBN 13: 9781861893918

And, despite the great creative burst that accompanied pizza in the early days of its popularity, these distribution mechanisms ensured a greater standardization of form and taste. Like many other fast-food restaurants, franchise restaurants like Pizza Hut proved to be tremendously popular among families who sought more reliable or predictable food in environments that welcomed or at least tolerated children.

Consistency and predictability also describe frozen pizza, despite occasional health scares about the threat of food poisoning or the criticism from consumer- and healthadvocates that these pizzas lack nutritional value. Frozen pizza has become one of the cheapest and quickest ways to feed a hungry family.

Some brands of frozen pizza, such as the Tombstone brand, are even sold in multiple packages. The pizzas were originally sold to bars in Wisconsin, but as sales continued to increase, the Simeks constructed a frozen pizza factory that supplied bars, taverns, bowling alleys, petrol stations and small grocery stores. In fact, the makers of standardized pizza were acutely aware of the need for pizza to retain its humble image.

Whether in cold war America or in eighteenth-century Naples, pizza was available and inexpensive. Not surprisingly, however, the ubiquity of the standardized pizza prompted strong countermeasures on at least two fronts. After a few years of serving celebrities, LaDou left Spago to develop the menu for California Pizza Kitchen, a chain that made the gourmet pizza more affordable for the masses. The second reaction to the growing popularity of standardized pizza was the desire to preserve the pizzeria as a classic American small business and to commemorate authentic forms of pizza and pizza-making.

No one individual represents this sometimes obsessive quest for authenticity better than pizzaiolo Chris Bianco, who owns Pizzeria Bianco in Phoenix, Arizona. Bianco himself is widely praised for being uncompromising in his dedication to the art of pizza-making. Today, pizza critics debate whether the day of the pizzaiolo-as-artist has passed; more often than not even gourmet pizzas are assembled by line cooks who do not dedicate themselves solely to the craft of pizza-making. This may be true, but it is also true that the taste for more authentic pizza runs wide and deep in the United States and has even influenced national pizza chains.

In the case of the United States, however, the search is for a pizza-that-never-was, given that pizza originated in Italy. This type of culinary regionalism was one reaction to the broader globalization of pizza; indeed it is not surprising that the globalization and localization of tastes tend to occur at the same time. Pizza became one of many ways to adapt to the powerful combination of economic mobility and cultural dislocation. It appears that pizza has taken off on two connected tracks across America. First there is the simple track. No matter how much the forms and toppings of pizza have changed, the classic cheese and tomato pizza has never gone out of style.

Then there is the creative track. Such creativity constitutes a powerful testament to how much Americans have embraced pizza as a national pastime, not only in terms of eating the food, but also in terms of thinking about new ways to incorporate it into constantly shifting culinary trends. For good or for bad, Americans transformed pizza culture, or at least pushed out the boundaries of what constitutes an acceptable pizza. And they did so in a remarkably short period of time.

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As the next chapter reveals, many other countries embraced pizza as their own but increasing numbers of consumers encountered their first taste of pizza inside a Pizza Hut rather than a pizzeria run by an Italian immigrant. Standardized pizza is large: it is meant to be consumed by several people at once.

And, despite the marketing campaigns touting crisp crust, standardized pizza tends to be softer because it is baked in pans, on racks, in a steel pizza oven. Standardized pizza is frequently criticized because it is, well, so standardized: your extra-cheese pizza in Chicago will look the same as the one you order in Sydney. Culinary conservatives appreciate this consistency because there is something reliable about a pizza from a chain restaurant; you know exactly what you are getting when you order it.

This chapter will explore the strange career of standardized pizza, first in the United States and then throughout the rest of the world. It should come as no surprise that standardized pizza has been criticized for dulling consumer tastes and for threatening the livelihood of the corner pizzeria and the independent pizza-maker.

The historical itinerary of the global pizza, then, is all about profit, technology and creativity. As the last chapter has demonstrated, the moment pizza appeared outside Italy it began to adapt to the economic circumstances and cultural milieu of the United States. As pizza has appeared in different parts of the world, it has adapted to varying consumer tastes, despite the fact that these innovations are sometimes brought about by corporate executives. Pizzeria selling pizza, kebab and falafel, Vienna, Austria. Indeed, as this chapter will argue, the very appearance of pizza in a certain area in some instances via a chain restaurant prompts experimentation; pizza fans open their own restaurants and consumers in that area make their own meal-on-a-plate from pizza.

Witness, for example, the popularity of Pizza-La in Japan, which offers a dizzying variety of pizzas — some that could be considered Italian, American or Japanese style, and others with no discernible geographic or cultural origins. The standardized pizza is anything but standardized and it has fed a creative impulse among consumers who, once introduced to pizza, cannot resist experimenting with it.

Pizza traditionalists maintain that these new pizzas — squid ink pizza, pizza topped with mayonnaise, sweetcorn pizza — represent a degradation of the art of pizza-making. Pizza fanatics in Italy and elsewhere decry the standardized pizza because it is soulless: made for profit, not for the love of pizza-making. Standard-ized pizzas, some contend, take all the fun and love out of pizza.

Much of the debate about standardized pizza rests on how the pizza tastes. To state the obvious, this misses the point entirely — standardized pizza did not become popular because it tastes good and, generally speaking, pizzas of all types are consumed for reasons other than taste. Thus, the social, corporate and technological contexts in which pizza develops tell us much about how and why pizza has become a global phenomenon.

As our definition of what constitutes a meal or snack shifts to incorporate new family rhythms, work patterns and cultural practices, pizza has played an important role in the process of change. The taste of standardized pizza is predictable: the dough is soft, the tomato sauce is sweetened and flavoured with dried herbs and the cheese is hard, not soft, mozzarella. The popularity of American-style pizza throughout the world can be attributed to a handful of American entrepreneurs who used marketing and technology to bring pizza to every corner of the world.

And, as more American women entered the workforce, consumers liked the convenience of food service franchises because they supplied meals for the whole family in a short period of time. The original founders of these pizzerias were not recent Italian immigrants, nor were they expert pizza-makers. Rather, they were businessmen who saw tremendous opportunity in pizza sales and, to be fair, their primary motive was profit, not the love of pizza. Their efforts to make pizza production more efficient effectively dislodged pizza from its Italian roots.

Franchise pizza was initially sold to Midwestern Americans, who preferred crisp crust, tomato sauce and lots of cheese. Americans also liked lots of toppings on their pizza, and the franchise pizzerias heaped their pizzas high with all kinds of meats and vegetables. This emphasis on abundance is a far cry from the simple Neapolitan pizzas that relied on only a few key ingredients. Pizza Hut restaurants served thin-crust pizza made with spicy sauce, which was popular in the Midwest and southern United States, but had to be adapted to suit north-eastern tastes for a chewier crust.

Pizza Hut set up a central phone number in major American cities, calls were automatically routed to the closest store, orders were stored on computer files for future reference and repeat crank calls screened and identified for employees. Not surprisingly, making Pizza Hut more available to consumers meant more consumers bought Pizza Hut pizza. In the last days of the cold war, Pizza Hut enthusiastically courted communists.

Catering to the Russian preference for salty foods, Pizza Hut featured salmon and sardines as toppings. Despite using Mikhail Gorbachev for commercials, Pizza Hut was not wildly successful in the former Soviet Union, although Pizza Hut Poland recently bought out the Russian franchise with ambitious plans for expansion in the coming years. Russia and Italy are two exceptions, however. Following on the tails of its successful expansion around the world, Pizza Hut promised to be a leader in food delivery in space as well.

Brands Incorporated. Its recipe for success includes tight control over the making and distribution of the product. The corporation itself owns about half of the restaurants. Pizza Hut has proven itself to be highly adaptable, which also accounts for its success. As the corporation expanded into Italian-American strongholds in the United States, it tried out new crusts and sauce recipes more in line with what consumers already understood to be pizza.

And while Pizza Hut did not destroy the competition many small pizzerias still exist in the north-eastern United States because people prefer Italian-style or Greek-style pizza , it did become popular in certain areas. In New Jersey, for example, a centre of Italian immigration, Pizza Hut restaurants sold twice the national average for volume. Pizza Hut has also adapted itself to fit the local culinary landscape as it expands throughout the world. Pizza offerings are divided up into vegetarian and non-vegetarian, and in addition to the usual pepperoni and extra cheese pizzas are pizzas topped with mutton seekh kebabs, coriander and paneer.

Pizza Hut Poland tries to attract customers by appealing to both local and cosmopolitan tastes: the menu offers some standard pizzas like the pizza margherita, the pepperoni pizza and the Hawaiian pizza, but these take a back seat to more exotic offerings that emphasize worldly sophistication. Pizzas named after cities — the Marrakech, the Berlin, the Oslo, the Dubai and the Barcelona consisting of paella on a pizza: tomatoes, peas, rice and shrimp — offer an eating tour of the world while pizzas named after Polish cities the Krakow, for example, with kielbasa sausage and pickled cabbage provide more familiar toppings for the less adventurous customer.

It is difficult to argue whether Pizza Hut or other chain restaurants are mirroring existing trends or creating new ones, but the fact remains that the standardized pizza presumably churned out by chains is anything but standardized and soulless. Surprisingly, Pizza Huts outside the United States turn out some of the most creative and unusual pizzas in the world.

Unlike Carney, whose restaurants targeted families, Monaghan targeted college students and the youth demographic, setting up outlets near universities, colleges and military bases.

Wood Grilled Pizza: Pizza or Flatbread? -- Really Dough?

Monaghan has since become one of the leading philanthropists in the United States and the biggest benefactor of conservative Catholic institutions through his Ave Maria Foundation. The standardized pizza has significantly altered the meaning of convenience because of its availability and portability, but it now has to keep up with consumer preference, which mandates even more convenience through efficiency and greater choice.

The standardized pizza also has to keep up with technology, which now makes frozen pizzas taste at least as good as some delivery pizzas. So as we have seen, the standardized pizza was created in the Midwestern United States by non-Italian immigrants who treated pizza-making as a business and subsequently created the largest pizza restaurants in the world. Bushnell, the founder of Atari video games, offered pizza to customers who dined while robotic animals performed. The restaurant also sold tokens a certain number came with each pizza for children to play electronic games.

Pizza Time Theater became Chuck E. Cheese, an outlet that today specializes in entertainment for children and families. Chuck E. Although pizza is served at Chuck E. The growing popularity of Chuck E. Cheese demonstrates how much pizza has become embedded in the American consciousness. Despite the lukewarm rating that pizza receives from nutritionists, American parents raised on pizza have made it the favourite food of their children.

At the same time that pizza became everyday fare for kids, it became a chic, even trendy food for young adults. PizzaExpress adopted a radically different view of pizza and eating out, transforming otherwise drab restaurants into exciting spaces, where the open kitchen for the pizza-makers constitutes a kind of dinner theatre.

Changing menus emphasize the culinary traditions of various Italian regions and the restaurant has taken a serious interest in pledging some of its profits to a foundation to save the city of Venice. The fact that PizzaExpress changes its menus frequently and employs pizza chefs to assemble the pizzas out of fresh ingredients makes it less of a fast-food experience than other chains but, nevertheless, hundreds of PizzaExpress restaurants offer customers the same experience. Although the prices are relatively low, PizzaExpress makes the experience of eating a pizza chic: one sits in a beautiful space, eating elegantly crafted pizzas and choosing decent wines to go with them.

With its stress on good design, art and community, PizzaExpress made the pizzeria both sophisticated and trendy. In fact, the history of standardized pizza around the world suggests that most communities tend to experiment with the basic form of pizza once it is introduced by a corporate office or a Neapolitan entrepreneur.

In most cases, the community puts its own stamp on the pizza, with or without the help of corporate executives or skilled pizzamakers. This type of pizza individualization, by ethnic, religious or national communities, can express certain food prohibitions for example, pizzas topped with chicken instead of pork sausages for Muslims or preferences the taste of spicy, sweet, or sweet and sour.

These include sweetcorn, fish, mayonnaise, curried foods, tofu and pickled cabbage. It has also become customary to speak of certain national types of pizza, which are defined either by the kinds of topping used or by the style of preparation. For example, Romanian pizza is defined as having a thin crust, little cheese or sauce and lots of fresh toppings like mushrooms, olives or peppers. Brazilian pizza is known for having little or no sauce, a very soft crust and unusual toppings like hardboiled eggs, hearts of palm and sweetcorn.

Kuwaiti pizza is defined by the addition of schawarma meat roasted on a vertical spit , beef or chicken and sliced long pickles. The list goes on and on, and as soon as one pizza fan defines what Romanian, Brazilian or Kuwaiti pizza is, another contests that definition. As numerous websites, blogs, chat rooms and discussion groups on the internet suggest, there is little agreement even on the most general definition of the many types of pizza available around the world.

As pizza becomes more popular throughout the world, it becomes a metaphor for cultural exchange generally and the blending of food cultures in particular. Pizza fanatics do not just think about pizza, they think with pizza about expressing themselves, defining their community and experimenting with the unfamiliar. In Turkey, a dish called lahmacun is now known as Turkish pizza. Popular in Turkey, Armenia and in Turkish and Armenian communities throughout the world, lahmacun consists of round flatbread sometimes pitta bread , topped with minced meat usually beef or lamb , sprinkled with lemon juice and then rolled up with vegetables like gherkins, tomatoes, onion, garlic and peppers.

Lahmacun has been around for thousands of years but it has become much more popular over the last few decades, particularly in parts of Europe where there are large Turkish populations. In Germany, for example, Turkish pizza is one of the most popular fast foods sold on the streets. It can also be topped with ingredients such as sweetcorn or bacon. Pizza purists would not call lahmacun or okonomiyaki pizza but many people do.

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  • This is partly because pizza now has a certain universal character, so even foods that only slightly resemble it can be called pizza or are considered a national version of pizza. Turkish pizza, lahmacun. Japanese pizza, okonomiyaki. For one, even the largest pizza chain, Pizza Hut, is willing to adapt its products to the local market. Thus their understanding of pizza will undoubtedly be more elastic than if they patronized a pizzeria that maintained a stricter definition.

    Yet in both Italy and in the United States, there are also strong impulses to get back to basics, as pizza enthusiasts and pizza snobs have created a demand for simpler, thus more authentic, pizza. In both cases, Pizza Hut represented the West, although there was no articulated protest against pizza as a specifically western food.

    Or maybe there is little protest because the chain pizzerias frequently coexist with independently owned pizzerias. The pizza industry is one of the most diverse in terms of business practice: there are independent pizzerias run by dedicated pizza-makers, pizzerias which have several outlets in one area, franchises of varying sizes, and huge pizza conglomerates, all supplying pizzas to different constituencies — and thus, perhaps, there is less anxiety on the part of pizza fans that the huge pizza conglomerates will take over the world.

    The combination of offerings satisfies multiple yearnings: for authenticity, for comfort food, for simplicity, for abundance, for experimentation. And still customers know and understand that they are getting pizza: it is a round flatbread with toppings. A key characteristic of pizza appears to be its adaptability; adaptability has made it popular in many countries outside Italy, despite the occasional backlash against rogue pizzas and calls to return to more authentic pizza styles. To be fair, the independently owned pizzerias had as much to do with adapting pizza styles as the pizza chains did.

    However, the tremendous growth of the standardized pizza over a short period of time has substantially sped up the process of adaptation and experimentation. And in many countries, the more experimental pizzas coexist peacefully with the more traditional ones, perhaps because they exist for two different markets or perhaps because pizza is such a simple, yet complicated food.

    The rapid success of the standardized pizza should come as no surprise. Today pizza is considered one of the most inexpensive and filling meals a person or family can enjoy. Like many other foods, pizza is inexpensive because of changes in food technology, agriculture, transportation and franchise operation. Yet unlike many other inexpensive meals which become monotonous, pizza is a food one can eat practically every day without tiring of it.

    These pizzas hardly raise an eyebrow in a world saturated with oversized portions, but from a historical perspective they seem fantastical, like something one would find in Cockaigne, the medieval land of plenty, alongside rivers of wine, mountains of pasta and roasted pigs running around with carving knives in their backs. No doubt the Rabelaisian pizza has contributed to the return to authenticity and simplicity among a number of pizza fans.

    And pizza cookbooks published in the last decade have put an increased emphasis on proper dough-making technique, preferring to feature pizzas made with only a few key ingredients. Today, those who make and eat pizza can be divided into two general camps: the first favouring taste, simplicity, authenticity and quality; the second opting for convenience, cost, abundance and creativity. The boundaries between these camps are permeable, although the first camp has become increasingly critical of the second, while the second camp is blissfully ignorant of the first!.

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    Thanks in part to pizza, consumers around the world now have a convenient source of nourishment that exists in great variety, not just in terms of the variety offered, but also in terms of the method of acquisition, time of preparation and cost. Perhaps the world, like pizza, is flat. It consisted of a thin flatbread topped with Italian onion puree, white truffle paste, fontina cheese, baby mozzarella, pancetta, cep mushrooms and fresh herbs. The white truffle pizza was bested a year later when Glasgow restaurateur Domenico Crolla offered a luxury pizza on eBay, with the profits going to charity.

    The pizza was topped with edible gold, lobster marinated in the finest cognac and champagne-soaked caviar, Scottish smoked salmon and medallions of venison. Why not, some answered — pizza has been a cheap, fun food and perhaps it is time it conquered more elite markets.

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    Is this the future of pizza? Perhaps — although something seems terribly wrong about the idea of luxury pizza. Pizza is supposed to be cheap and accessible to all; when royalty sampled pizza, they did so with a certain frisson, understanding that they were slumming it. But then again, why not let the wealthy have their way with pizza?

    Just about everyone else has left their mark on this round flatbread. If one could say anything about the future of pizza, it would be that its popularity will continue to grow because there will be no limit to what people will put on it and eat. Edible gold seems wasteful from a financial perspective but it probably makes as much culinary sense as a bacon and mustard pizza or a hot dog and hamburger pizza. It may have a precise albeit mythic chronological and geographical origin, but it has transcended these origins and is reproducible anywhere, at any time.

    And, unlike many other single-dish meals, pizza can be consumed just about anywhere — at the table, on the street, at work, at a party, in a pizzeria, restaurant or tavern. And, as this book has demonstrated, pizza has been renegotiated ad infinitum and there is no end in sight to the ongoing dispute about what exactly it is within the broad community of pizza eaters. What is pizza? If it is flatbread scattered with various ingredients, then it seems to be doing quite nicely and will continue to thrive as long as people can top it as they wish.

    If, however, one chooses to define pizza more conservatively as a specific kind of flatbread that originated in eighteenth-century Naples and is characterized by only a few ingredients, then it is in danger of becoming extinct and perhaps deserves to be monitored, revered and protected. Wherever it ends up, pizza has followed divergent paths throughout its history, whether these paths are high or low, haute or standardized, creative or traditional. As a frontier food, pizza carries a lot of contradictory characteristics. It is both a simple Italian food produced through poverty and want, and an American celebration of abundance and wealth.

    It is both a local and a global food. It is both mass produced and individually customized. Another important contradiction of pizza is how it both brings people together and distinguishes the tastes and habits of a certain population. Wherever pizza becomes popular, it takes on different meanings for those eating it. In the United States pizza marked economic, demographic, social and regional distinctions between communities of pizza fans.

    The kind of pizza one ate as well as the place where one ate it differentiated young from old, working class from middle class, poor from leisured, recent immigrant from established family, heartland from coast. And, throughout the world, pizza is a way to bring people together in that it turns us all into creative cooks and daring yet enthusiastic consumers.

    It is these peculiar qualities of pizza that make it both a mainstream and a marginal dish. Pizza will continue to bring people together, distinguish them and divide them, all the while holding on to its traditional shape and essence: a round flatbread baked with toppings. More specifically, there is something about the shape and ingredients of pizza that make it a universally understood and conceptualized food: we all have some sense of what a pizza is even though we all may be putting our individual, regional or national imprint on it. Indeed, the universality of pizza may explain its popularity; after all, flatbreads can be found in many cultures and so it was not a dramatic leap of faith for non-Italian consumers to try pizza.

    Yet the fact that many people tried it does not explain why it became so popular around the world. Or perhaps Alexandre Dumas was right: pizza is a simple yet complicated food that both keeps us in touch with our needs and wants and links us to the broader world of tastes and desires. It has been, remains, and will continue to be a gastronomic thermometer that tells us as much about ourselves as it does about flatbread, tomatoes and cheese. You can find San Marzano tomatoes and water-buffalo mozzarella at specialist food shops if you want a more authentic taste.

    Add the pastry flour and salt and mix well. Add the all-purpose flour one cup at a time, kneading until the dough is smooth. Punch the dough down and divide into pieces. Distribute a small amount of the chopped tomatoes on the dough and swirl around with your fingers. Dot the dough with chunks of mozzarella, then sprinkle some salt over the pizza and add several fresh basil leaves.

    Roll out the pastry, cut it into two rounds, and garnish them with the usual tomatoes, anchovies, oregano or basil, and cheese. The book went through multiple reprints and new editions and set records for cookbook sales in a country not known for buying and reading cookbooks. This dish is also referred to as torta rustica; it is a stuffed pizza made with a flakier crust and a rich variety of fillings. The English translation added ricotta cheese, which makes for an even richer dish, and referred to the torta rustica as a pizza.

    This pizza is similar to the Chicago-style deep dish pizza and the various stuffed pizzas throughout the world. In a bowl place ricotta, eggs, Parmesan, salt, and pepper, and mix together well with a wooden spoon. Place prosciutto over ricotta mixture and place second sheet of dough over all, pressing edges closed carefully and cutting off excess dough around edges. Serve cool.

    Sfincione Sicilian Pizza Sfincione is a relative of the Neapolitan pizza and is probably an ancestor of the Chicago deep-dish style pizza; it has a thick crust and the ingredients are poked into the dough. Place the flour on a board, make a well in the centre and pour in the yeast and water and mix well. Add a tablespoon of olive oil and knead. Punch down the dough then stretch it out over a well-greased pan or baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper. Set sauce aside. Distribute the pieces of anchovies and cheese over the dough, sticking them down in as far as they will go.

    Spread the tomato and onion sauce evenly over the dough. Mix the breadcrumbs and oregano together, and sprinkle over the sauce. The tomato pie is the structural reverse of the pizza: the cheese is layered on first, followed by the tomatoes. The key seems to be to make a very thick, biscuit-like crust that can support sliced whole tomatoes. Spread the pizza dough over a large well-oiled tin, taking care to make a crust or lip around the edges.

    Slice the mozzarella and layer on the bottom of the dough. Cover the cheese with fresh sliced tomatoes or canned tomatoes. On top of the tomatoes generously sprinkle grated Parmesan cheese, then add oregano and some salt and pepper. This pizza should be served hot as it does not taste very good cold.

    Chicago Deep-dish Pizza Chicago-style pizza dough is never rolled and is cooked in a pan with deep sides. Use your fingers to press the dough into the pan; this allows for a more biscuit-like texture. Punch the dough down and knead lightly, then press into a well-oiled pan with sides. Cover the pan with a cloth and let the dough rise until it is about two inches high. Stir in the basil at the last minute. Take the pizza dough and press it down again with your fingers, leaving a lip or crust around the edges. Spoon the tomato sauce on top and sprinkle the Parmesan cheese over everything. Cool slightly before serving.

    In Naples, little fried pizzas can be eaten plain or covered with tomato sauce and cheese, then folded over. In Calabria, Italy, little potato pizzas called cullurelli are made for Christmas Eve: this is done by adding mashed potatoes two medium-sized potatoes, boiled then run through a food mill or processor to the dough. Knead the dough until smooth, then let it rise for an hour, until about double in size.

    You can then dust them with powdered sugar or eat with a dab of tomato sauce and a small cube of mozzarella cheese. My thanks to Ken Albala for the pizza dough recipe and to everyone who suggested toppings. Add the bread flour and a good pinch of sea salt, slowly working it into a firm dough. Place the dough in an oiled bowl for an hour to rise, covered with a tea towel. If you have a pizza stone, heat this in the oven. Remove the dough from the bowl and stretch it or roll it flat on a board before adding your topping of choice see below.

    If you are using a peel, quickly transfer from the peel to the stone in the hot oven by carefully sliding it on. You can throw into the oven two ice cubes which will create steam and a nicely risen crust. Then spread on a very thin layer of wasabe paste, some pickled ginger, shredded, and a combination of flying fish roe and slices of raw tuna, salmon and any other sushi. Sprinkle on top seaweed flakes, bonito flakes, egg, sesame seeds and other flavourings.

    Drizzle the oil mixture over the cheeses and, if you like, drizzle with more olive oil. You may want to marinate the chicken in the sauce before baking. Let the chicken cool and cut into bite-sized pieces. Shape the pizza dough then brush it all over with olive oil. Top with a layer of shredded fontina cheese and shredded smoked Gouda cheese. Spoon the remaining barbecue sauce over the cheeses, then arrange the chicken pieces and sliced red onion on top. Drizzle the pizza with olive oil.

    After baking, sprinkle with coriander if you wish. Smoked Salmon Pizza Drizzle a little olive oil over the dough and spread some sliced red onions on it. Bake until golden brown. Arrange slices of smoked salmon over the dill sauce, sprinkle with chopped chives and serve. You may also add a tablespoon or two of caviar if you wish. Carpaccio Pizza Bake the dough as a plain flat focaccia and allow to cool. Top with slices of raw filet mignon, pounded as thin as possible without breaking.

    Top with rocket, sea salt and cracked pepper, shavings of Parmesan and a drizzle of the best olive oil. You can also use diced squid or octopus as a topping on this pizza. Brush onto the dough. Sprinkle with some oregano before baking. Once the onions are ready, add the bacon then set aside. The pizza may be eaten hot or cold. If you want to cook a lot of these and serve them all at the same time, you can keep them warm in a covered dish or a pot with a lid: just fold the lahmacun in half and make sure they stay covered.

    Then mix in the ground meat and refrigerate the mixture for about an hour to blend the flavours. Take some of the meat mixture and spread it in a thin layer on a pitta bread. Lahmacun can also be grilled. You will want to experiment with cooking the onions: some recipes call for them to be cooked until they become like puree but, if you prefer, you can cook them until they are soft and translucent.

    Meanwhile, slice the onions and cook them in the olive oil until very soft. Pour the onion mixture onto the dough and place the olives and anchovy fillets on top. Okonomiyaki This is more like a pancake than a pizza but you can turn it into a pizza-like meal by adding various toppings and slicing the okonomiyaki into wedges.