The Thinking 

Pizza Bowl Sunday

February 3, 2013



In Spring a young man’s fancy turns to thoughts of love. On the first Sunday in February a huge number of citizens of this country turn their thoughts to the Super Bowl, the most widely viewed sporting event in the world.

Professional football is a national religion. Many, if not most, of our citizenry will remain at home to observe its rituals today. Hence, the stores will be virtually empty; the streets deserted. Well, not quite. From hither, thither and yon, delivery trucks will crisscross our cities delivering the victual that has now become synonymous with the Super Bowl: pizza.

On cue, The Washington Post’s Food Section (Jan. 30) contained a front page article that informs us that the quest for the perfect pizza should be part of that celebration. Further, the better way to prepare for Pizza Nirvana is not to order it, but to prepare one’s own, using a secret recipe that was presumably known only to the Etruscans, but lost in the wake of the barbarian invasions.

The protagonists in this misadventure, Joe and Tim (surnames never disclosed) seek the advice of a pizza chef d’oeuvre, Peter Pastan, who is described in terms of being the “Merlin the Magician” of pizza making. Signor Pastan can’t be all that bad, for the article describes him as “a Neapolitan true believer,” which can go a long way. But our protagonists believe that adding “something different” may improve on the quality of pizza. They engage in lengthy disquisitions about the use of toppings including bacon, pungent red onion, and “a little kimchi …and the runny-yolk egg, the bacon of vegetarians.”

I have some sad news for our enthusiastic pizza makers: for all that you do, and for as long as you try, neither of you will ever make the perfect pizza. You have neither the ingredients, nor the craftsmanship required. For that and more you will have to walk the labyrinthine streets of Naples, and when you see the sign, Pizzeria D.O.C. enter the establishment. You will sit in a modest setting, be given a knife and fork, and watch as the old men who have been making pizza for generations go about the task of making their masterworks, with no frills. You will call it “the perfect pizza.“ Buon viaggio.

— Comments —

Kevin writes:

Don Vincenzo writes that the Super Bowl is the most widely viewed sporting event in the world.

Not trying to pick a fight here, but as I have lived overseas on a number of countries, it has been made rather clear to me that soccer’s World Cup is watched more than the Super Bowl by a factor of roughly a gigazillion. This is largely due to soccer bring played in every country on the planet, whereas American football is played in about four (and played well in only one).

Here’s a comparison of the two events.

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