John Arena gives his take on what makes pizza so special.
Pizza explains John is a collaborative food. He says that professional pizza makers are actually astounded that there so much discussion about pizza.
When you go to a pizzeria you go go with the idea that the pizza maker will make your vision of what is a perfect pizza.
In that sense making pizza is really a collaborative process.
You figure it out with your friends and the people you are with. You then communicate that with the pizzaiolo and he tries to recreate what you this is the perfect pizza.
John brings out the idea and asks: is pizza really authentic Italian origin?
There is no disagreement that pizza is made with a dough and crust. John says that dough goes back to the ancient Egyptians. He reveals that beer and pizza are related. Beer is a liquid form of pizza dough.
Was it perhaps the Greeks who started making flat bread? The bread came from Egypt and was perfected by Greek bakers.
The tomato, however did come from the new world. Brought by the Spaniards to the Neapolitan area. And of course tomato was at thought to be at first poisonous. Somehow the tomato made it onto pizza.
The water buffalo was brought over by the Crusaders. They were the ones who added buffalo mozzarella. The spice cam from India: the basil.
John quotes Jonathan Goldsmith who has a poem in his pizzeria, Spacca Napoli. The gist of the poem is that dough, mozzarella, tomatoes and basil do not make the pizza. There is a missing ingredient in the pizza: the heart of the pizza maker!
Find out more about John at The Slice of the City.