Hot Take: Pineapple Belongs On Pizza
Pineapple belongs on pizza. There, I said it. Now, before you go and get out your pointiest pitchfork and bombard the comments section with eye roll emojis, I want you to listen to what I have to say. Mainly because I already know what you’re going to say. You’re going to say, “2005 called and it wants its hot take back,” you’re going to say “this is all getting a bit Fiat 500 now,” and you’re going to say “I can’t believe you’d yet again stoop to meaningless clickbait, fire Lucas immediately”.
Don’t worry, MOB. I actually agree with you (apart from the whole firing thing, obvs). The debate about whether or not you should put pineapple on pizza is one that’s been done to death since the dawn of time. It’s hackneyed. It’s boring. It’s what our Neanderthal ancestors used to argue about over the fire after having hunted and gathered yet another gorgeous bounty of pineapples, cheese, and pizza dough. But it’s also – whether you like it or not – an argument that’s still going on to this day. Which boggles my mind, to be honest Because, well, there’s no real argument to be had, is there? Anyone who thinks that pineapple on pizza is anything but delicious is, quite simply, a fool.
If you disagree with pineapple getting slightly sweaty palms as it holds hands with pizza then you’re no better than Romeo and Juliet’s bigoted parents. Pineapple and pizza are the kinds of star cross’d lovers that we should be encouraging to have holy palmer’s kisses all over Verona, and I'd attest that you’re a pizza prude if you think otherwise. When the sweet, sharp acidity of pineapple combines with the hot, himbo cheesiness of molten mozzarella it creates a passion of flavour that bounces around your tongue like two cats in heat and marks a lipstick-red X all over your taste map. Pineapple on pizza simply tastes damn good – a reality aided by the fact that pizza is, by and large, one of the most delicious foods on the planet. In fact, I'd say you can put pretty much anything on a pizza and it’ll still taste all right in my books. I’d reference that “sex is like pizza: even when it's bad, it's still pretty good” joke to back myself up here, but I’m 99% sure the person who wrote that joke was a man who was very bad at sex.
You see, pizza is more of a concept than a dish, really: it's a blank, crisp canvas that’s limited only by the stretches of your imagination. You can put apples and gorgonzola on a pizza. You can drizzle marmite on a pizza. You can even throw a bagel shop combo of mustard and pickles on a pizza. Honestly, MOB, when it comes to controversial pizza toppings, pineapple is actually pretty milquetoast. And, unlike a brash and aggressive smattering of BBQ chicken, pineapple doesn’t detract from a pizza’s more subtle flavours. When pineapple is given a few chunks of ham for company on a cheeky Hawaiian – a combination that always gives me a retro “let’s have the melon and parma ham as a starter” vibes – it brings out the natural sweetness of the marinara while also providing ballast to the salty meat. Pineapple is the glue that holds that delicious marriage together. A plain ham pizza screams “I’m single and alone,” whereas a Hawaiian whispers a sultry “opposites attract” into your ear. My conviction on that subject was only further confirmed the other week when I sunk my teeth into a beautiful béchamel-based Hawaiian-ish pizza that came topped with pancetta, parmesan, sarawak pepper, and grilled pineapple. It was everything you'd want in a pizza... and then some.
In spite of its aloha name, Hawaiian pizza was actually created in Ontario, Canada by a Greek-born businessman named Sam Panopoulos around 1962. Panopolous claims he was inspired to mix both sweet and savoury flavours on his slice thanks to past experiences preparing Chinese-American food in restaurant kitchens. If we’re to take Panopolous for his word here – and I don't see any reason not to – then the Hawaiian pizza might just be one of the most global dishes of all-time. It’s passed through the hands of so many different food cultures and cuisines (Italian, American, Chinese, Greek, Canadian) that it no longer belongs to any one nation. It is a pizza without borders; a pizza that doesn’t discriminate about who you are, where you’ve come from, or what you do for a living.
So, forgive me for getting a little ahead of myself here but I’d like to argue that pineapple belongs on pizza not just because it’s delicious, but because it is an edible embodiment of human endeavour. When Sam Panopoulos created the Hawaiian pizza he was channelling that same sense of “fuck it, why not?” energy that inspired the Wright Brothers to take flight and has inspired all of us at some point in our lives to make potions in the bath out of shampoo and conditioner. Throwing a fruit on pizza and finding out that "hey, that actually tastes pretty good" is exactly what cooking – and living – is all about. Sometimes you’ve got to throw caution to the wind and, although it might not always work out, sometimes the risks you take can result in the truly spectacular.
Pineapple belongs on pizza, MOB. It might not be everyone's cup of tea but it offers an important lesson about shooting your shot and seeing what happens. So, go on: make your next delivery a Hawaiian and marvel at what can be achieved with a little human ingenuity and a tin of fruit. Unless you’ve got a pineapple allergy, of course. In which case you should probably just stick to the pepperoni.