Alex Massie

In Search of the Perfect Pie

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As any newcomer to DC must, Megan McArdle bemoans the relative lack of decent pizza in Washington:

To a lifelong New Yorker, there is no other sort of pizza than the large, thin, New York slice. We may disagree amongst ourselves about the theological details--crispy or floppy, thick border or thin, sweet sauce or spicy, and how much grease is too much? But basically, we're all in the same church, and it's a highly localized one. Chicago pizza may be a fine foodstuff, as long as one consumes it without trying to imagine that it is actual pizza. But it is no substitute for the One True Faith.

Well, sure, the Chicago Deep Pan is a different kettle of poisson indeed, just as the Provencale pissalidiere is a cousin of the classic Neapolitan pizza.

That in turn reminds me that I've long been puzzled by the description of "New York style" pizza (or "New Haven style" for that matter) as though it were some sort of mysterious treasure, only available in the five boroughs or the tri-state area. After all, when you're talking about a good, thin pizza you're not talkin' about "New York" you're talking about the traditional Neapolitan pizza.

There's lots of very good pizza in New York, but to hear north-eastern folk go on about it you'd think that pizza - a cheap, artisan food after all - can't be made properly anywhere else. I don't know if it's controversial or heretical to say this, but the best - and most consistently excellent - pizza I've eaten has been consumed in, well, Italy.

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

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