March 22, 2023
Ithaca, NY | 36°F


Good ol’ cheese no longer

This past spring for The Ithacan, I interviewed Scott Weiner, who started a pizza tour business in New York City. He only allows his tour participants to eat cheese slices, so they can judge properly between each establishment they visit. However, this professional pizza enthusiast named sausage, “good” mushrooms, and sometimes pepperoni as his favorite toppings.

I asked some friends what their favorite pizza toppings were. Pineapple was the unlikely winner. Pineapple with pepperoni or ham was also favored as were green peppers. Chorizo, mushrooms, and multi-vegetable followed, with olives and cheese in last. My absolute favorite is a combination of green peppers and pepperoni (part of why I love the previously cited American Flatbread- it’s actually a menu item there).

So do toppings make the pie? Fans of Sammy’s pesto or Rogan’s Bomber pizza would argue yes. Even great cooks might- my Uncle Brice, who always cooks us a delicious Thanksgiving dinner, once made pizza with olives and some other vegetables I could not identify. (Different but good.) From my friends to a man who is paid for his love for pizza, cheese does not seem to be anyone’s favorite topping, or plain the favorite flavor.

But then again, they may kill it. Ever seen a picture of fried egg pizza? It made me want to quit eating eggs and pizza. I am not even going to venture into breakfast and dessert pizzas- occasionally good, usually weird, and always a challenge to persuade yourself to eat.

It seems fit to mention the Guinness Record for the world’s most expensive pizza.  In November 2006, gourmet chef Domenicio Crolla set out to break the record with his “Pizza Royale 007.” Auctioned off for charity at £2,150 (about $4,200), the 12 incher did not have a spare space between the cognac-marinated lobster, Scottish smoked salmon, venison medallions, champagne-soaked champagne, all on top of sunblush tomato sauce and prosciutto, topped off with vintage balsamic vinegar and edible gold flakes.

Given the choice, would you pick edible gold or extra cheese? I think we all know the answer. In conclusion, the good ol’ slice of cheese is dead.