Friday, 13 August 2010

Mutant Pizza

Being sent a menu to pre-order your meal for the following week I always find highly intrusive.
They are basically pre-empting your exit before you have had chance to sit down and slightly absorb the ambiance.

Like people who choose to find out the sex of their baby and talk about it for the next 8 months, I don’t like to think about my food all week.

An Italian menu. Good start. The standard layout and choices. Girls tend to steer away from the meat and fish section. Firstly, it is too healthy and second, too damn expensive.

Pizza and Pasta may as well be the only choices to show us.

Most girls will choose pasta. It is safe. Pizza can say a few things when it comes to ordering in a restaurant.

You are an unpolished philistine with no social etiquette when it comes to eating out.
You are greedier than an urban fox sniffing around a KFC waste control bin.
You can’t read properly.
You could be pregnant.

I like to hold my pudgy fingers in the air and throw caution to the wind on this one as I flippin' 'love Pizzas and that is what I went for.
Essentially a very posh toastie, it is no nonsense. You don’t have to have a back catalogue of knowledge on the location of the ingredients, nor will it whiplash you in the face and smear sauce up your nostrils.
Some classic pub quiz trivia for you. Pizza owes its origin to Neapolitan cuisine and has been adopted in various bread guises across the world.
Now, if they were to ever bring back the game show You Bet! (without Matthew Kelly as he scares me somewhat) I would be able to compete on the topic of Pizza.
I would vouch for eating going on 2000 pizzas in my lifetime. I love everything that the Pizza stands for.
For those of you who are interested in its Etymology, the first recorded use of the word "pizza" dates from 997 AD and comes from a Latin text from the town of Gaeta in southern Italy. There are many varying stories from die hards from various Pizza Posse’s. Some believe it comes from the Latin word “pinsa”, the past participle of the verb “pinsere” which means to pound or to crush and may refer to the flattening out of the dough.

Some believe it comes from the Greek word Pita just for bread and there are even some cheeky Germans (they never retreat) who believe it is a derivative from their word "bizzo" which means bit or bite. H to tha bizzo indeed.

My piousness for Pizza can be traced back by Pizza anthropologists to my love of mini cheese and tomato Pizzas in my grandmother’s house in the six week holidays.
A chewy CD size of pale white dough, the bread looked like an aero when you cut into it with your knife. The cheese was the type although it had been under the glare of a 180 degree oven, it did not melt fully and still maintained a bulbous maggot appearance, similar to strands of all bran.
The tomato sauce was sharp to say the list; I would go as far to say that we were eating cheese and tomato ketchup on toast.
The advantages to these little babies were that you could essentially build your own Pizza on a daily basis.
Having a mum who worked in a supermarket also played a big part in my love of Pizzas. We were able to try all the latest imports hot off the conveyor belts of Chicago Town and Findus back in the day.

Mum worked at ASDA who had already cottoned onto the sheer magnitude of Pizza’s in the UK.
Soon our freezer was stocked full of French baguette style Pizza’s, Pizza pockets for the toaster no less. Both should have been banned under ISO 1001 for their different inflicting injuries on the gums and upper mouth.
The black orchid in our Pizza trail was back in 87’ when the world was a place full of Deeply Dippy, Respectable by Mel & Kim, Flipper on a Sunday morning followed by Batman and Robin and more notably to our household WWF and Teenage Mutant Ninja (now Hero) Turtles.
Part and parcel of being a younger sister to an older brother means that you have to learn to fit in with their chaotic lifestyle.
Being utilised in WWF knockouts in the front room was just one of the deal breakers. Yes, I have been involved in the Hart Foundation, The Colossal Connection, given an elevated walls of Jericho move whilst trying to be The Honky Tonk Man and also been impaled into the carpet after many a Tombstone Piledriver as he attempted to be the Undertaker.
After a good pasting from my dad (heavy duty brass wedding ring and all) WWF was given a timeout and the ring was usurped from under his evil clutches.

TMNT soon became our new fascination. I became particular enamoured by Michelangelo, developing quite the crush on our anthropomorphic buddies. I don’t know whether it was the fact that we were kindred spirits in our shared love of the party scene or that he made me laugh but I developed quite the crush on Mikey.
My brother was not so strange and just stuck to April O’Neill.

Again, another thing we had in common which could not be ignored was our love of Pizza.
The clever cads at ASDA decided to start knocking out some TMNT pizzas. Nobody to this day believes us, but you could get a sweet flavoured TMNT pizza which used chocolate spread on the base and marshmallows as the topping.
We were only ever allowed this on very special occasions. Essentially just nutella on toast with extra sugar smeared across it, this is Pizza Piety in its glory.
Now of course, like anything, I have had my poor Pizza’s. Over use of the dough, stingy on the sauce and oily flabby cheeses are guaranteed ingredients for a teenage dirtbag mutant pizza.
Over in Italy, Pizza’s are all a serious business and are recognised through their regions.
Sicilian Pizza has a thicker base, Rome like to make their bases as thin as crackers, Naples like a soft and pliable dough, Neapolitans stay true to their roots and will only produce two flavours, the Marinara and the Margharita. So staunch about their doughy discs, a Pizza can only be classed as a true “Italian Pizza” if it passes a parliamentary bill by the Pizza mafia.
Once snorted at as a peasant food, it was sold in the street and not even recognised as a dish to be made in a kitchen.

Early pizzas were covered in a white sauce as opposed to tomatoes. It wasn’t until 1889 to honour the Queen consort of Italy, Margherita of Savoy when a Neapolitan chef created the “Pizza Margherita” covered in tomatoes, mozzarella cheese and basil to represent the colours of the Italian flag.
My personal Pizza poison has to have a thin base, preferably with a Naples style chewy dough so that you can taste the pepper in the extra virgin oil. A good lashing of tomato sauce which is still perfectly pulpy bearing flavours of sweet San Marzano’s.
Toppings would bring out my wild Michelangelo side. Vivid orange sweet pointed peppers, soft and sweet artichokes, Milano sausage, capers, fresh red chilli, chilli flakes, a thin layer f patchwork mozzarella cheese and a shower of Pecorino Romano.

Now that’s what I call music 2010.

The pre planned pizza in question had all the pre requisites of my perfect pizza. The venue was Piccolino’s in Clitheroe. A pleasant and cheery restaurant chain from Manchester, it brings a slice of cosmopolitan neopolitano to the East Lancashire eating scene.
Packed with beautiful people quaffing the Italians champagne Prosecco, I was in good company with equally beautiful people.

My week old pre-conceived Pizza was plated up and it did not disappoint. The only problem was the age old routine of “I don’t need to eat a starter”...who was I kidding.
I decided to opt for a little dolce instead......being an official funder of the I hate Tiramisu/all coffee based desserts, I went for a little gelato instead. Ferrero Rocher to be precise.
The waiter was a cheerful soul, who embraced his charachtature of the Italian waiter with great gusto. He obviously fancied his chances as he questioned my choice of a dessert.
Pointing to his belly “you not afraid of diet no?”..........................
No mate, I’m bloody starving after that Pizza was his abridged version.
It is a good job I was steering off the Prosecco or he could have found himself entangled in some Sweet Chin Music, Shawn Michaels styleee.

All in all, a tidy little meal.

Shall I compare thee to an ASDA build your own Pizza??? Hmmmmm, purely for nostalgia, the pick and mix greed factor and the dessert comment, I am going to opt for our supermarket giant.

A Saturday lunchtime favourite from my region of the country is to whack some onion jam on a naan bread or pita, crumble over with feta or Lancashire cheese, decorate with spinach leaves and if I am feeling exuberant, some anchovies.

Mangiamo people!!!

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