Saturday, September 10, 2005

Clarification for the Culinarily Challenged

I still have so much to learn about food writing. I assumed, in yesterday's blog about white pizza, that everyone would know what I was talking about and that I didn't need to elaborate on the actual definition of white pizza. However, my poor sweet mom, who is more concerned with the happiness and welfare of A LOT of children than with food details, asked me this morning what a white pizza is. She assumed I meant that I made a pizza with a white crust (which of course doesn't make any sense, for why would I be so proud of something not only so simple, but so blatantly nutrient-poor?). And so, a little history lesson on white pizza is clearly in order...

A white pizza is nothing more than a pizza made without tomato sauce. There may be chopped tomatoes on the pizza, but no tomato sauce. White pizzas are common in Italy, but since Americans get confused easily, this variation on pizza is actually referred to as white pizza, to distinguish it from regular pizza, which Americans believe must include tomato sauce. Absurd, but true.

Since white pizzas are made without tomato sauce though, much more subtle and intriguing things can be done with them. Herbs and spices stand out more, and the use of different, stronger cheeses can create entirely new tastes from what one is accustomed to. The recipe I devised last night is a testament to this.

While I was on my quest for a white pizza recipe yesterday, I came across this in The Joy of Cooking: "According to American labeling laws, if it does not have tomato sauce, you cannot call it pizza. This would astonish Italians, who frequently eat pizza with just a touch of tomato or even none at all."

I'm a pizza queen to begin with, and now that I know how to make my own whole-wheat crusts, I'll be dangerously focused on a mission for a while (or until The Carnivore and Fat Baby rise up in revolt). Imagine the possibilities here...

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