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Video: What do the Italians have to do with it? Pizza is a typical New York dish
2023 Author: Cody Thornton | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-11-26 19:13
For the supporters New Yorkers, we Italians are a gang of usurpers who don't even know how to eat their national dish correctly: la Pizza (as reported by Federico Rampini in Repubblica).
Brandishing a knife and fork like clubs, we pollute the ritual of tasting the "real pizza" - a dish notoriously born, raised and fed in New York - and which, according to them, would be religiously constituted by grasping the large slice dripping with ananans, mussels and ketkchup all together to make it land in the gaping jaws.
Only an upstart like that Italian-American De Blasio, current mayor of New York, could dare to show himself in public by eating a pizza with regular cutlery, and claiming the right to say that "in Italy, pizza is eaten like this, with knife and fork ".
What does Italy have to do with pizza, what do we inhabitants of the Big Apple care about how they eat it in Croatia, Bosnia, Tanzania or, precisely, in Italy?
Here, although the above may seem a surreal tale, it is instead the sad truth. Italy has been gradually cheated out of its most popular dish in the world, pizza, so obviously Italian for us as well as for them, the New Yorkers, so typically American.
But are we so sure that "they" are so wrong?
Do we really want to claim as Italian a preparation that with our warm comfort food par excellence shares only a pasta base, be it circular or rectangular? Just take a look at the different styles of pizza assembled in this image from the Wall Street Journal.
As recently stated by Paolo Di Croce, secretary general of Slow Food International, it is the " contamination", The influence of other cultures and other ingredients that broadens and connotes a" traditional "cuisine; neither the wheat used for the dough, nor the tomato, needed to season the pizza as we understand it, are indigenous products, originating from our peninsula.
Yet, when combined, they have resulted in one of our national highlights. Just like what happened to Baklava, the rich dessert of Turkish origin that passing through the Austrian shores was enriched and transformed into a dessert with its own dignity taking the name of strudel, without either Turks or Austrians ever complaining about it.
The same thing that is happening now in New York and throughout the USA.
In fact, the "Neapolitan Style" pizza, launched by the immigrant, is far away Gennaro Lombardi in 1905 in Spring Street, in the heart of Little Italy, as indicated in the more detailed guide to New York's ethnic pizzas, entitled "A Complete Guide to New York City Pizza Styles", a post published in 2014 by the American site Eater, New York section.
Soon, that pizza that still could still be called Italian, was taken, distorted, incorporated by the host culture, which made it a new dish, different, independent from the original.
And it is therefore useless to repeat that US-branded pizzas are "too", too rich, too seasoned, with a jumble of ingredients thrown on top at random: those pizzas are simply another thing, with their dignity (even if we struggle to imagine which) and their specific characteristics.
It would be like wanting to compare paella to risotto alla parmigiana: rice unites them, of course, but nothing else. Just as it is useless to criticize the Chicago pizza, called pious, so rich and thick that it was defined by the television humorist Jon Stewart as "a rat feeder".
Or turn up your nose in front of the Cajun pizza, rich in African American and Caribbean influences and widespread in Southern states such as Louisiana, and since 1987 present in New York with the Two Boots chain, in which Italy is still remembered as one of the two boots, the other is precisely Louisiana.
Also there California Pizza it has little of the classic tomato and mozzarella pizza, while it is rich in seasonal ingredients and organic farming, in honor of current gastronomic trends.
Of course, this flourishing of "alternative" pizzas does not mean that even in New York you cannot enjoy a traditionally Italian pizza, the very snobbish Rampini di Repubblica who lives in the Upper West (lucky him) reports Fiorello at Lincoln Center, where you can enjoy an excellent Roman pizza, or the Masseria dei Vini at Hell's Kitchen, for a classic Neapolitan or Apulian pizza.
But they are Italian pizzas, typically Italian.
Now, in this era of globalization, travel, interconnection and contamination, we can no longer claim to connote with the term " Pizza"Only the traditional margherita or the four seasons (also this, if we go to see, very little traditional and much more" American "than the classic Neapolitan).
“Pizza” is now a common, widespread heritage, to be interpreted as one pleases according to one's tastes, one's latitudes and one's traditions.
If we really want to indicate the classic local pizza, which we love so much, we will only have to add a small adjective: Italian. And we will be sure that we will not (hopefully) get a disc of pasta covered with pineapple and mussels.
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