14 Mar Why You Love Pizza, and I do too
Why do people love pizza?
Pizza is a food that is almost globally loved. Pretty much everyone that tries the pie is hooked the first time they eat it. In countries that have virtually no exposure to Western food culture, pizza restaurants are the first to have success.
Pizza bridges the cultural gap
Somehow pizza manages to bridge the gap in unique ways compared to other foods. Take China as an example. Western-style food has been available there for decades, but outside of the big cities, it remained very niche. Very few Western-style restaurants experience much success.
But something strange happened when a leading pizza chain opened a store in China, in 1990. It was an almost immediate success, today, pizza restaurants are springing up everywhere. The strangest thing about this story is that up until that point the Chinese ate very few dairy products, especially not cheese.
Yet, somehow the Chinese could not resist the gooey goodness of a pizza. They came, they saw, they tasted and just like everyone else they were hooked. They loved the pizza whether it was made with a traditional Italian marinara sauce or thousand island sauce.
Now, stop frowning, weirdly thousand island sauce actually tastes fine on a pizza. It is a great alternative for those who cannot digest dairy. In China, a surprisingly high percentage of the population is lactose intolerant, so a non-dairy alternative had to be developed. But, it is the cheesy ones most Chinese people cannot resist.
OK, so that is an example of the power of pizza. But, the question still remains, why is it so irresistible? Well, the answer is kind of complex, first, the science, followed by the social reasons.
The chemistry of pizza: the science behind the pie
A few years ago, the American Chemical Society (ACS) carried out a study to try to work out what made pizza taste so good. They actually did a very good job of unraveling the mystery.
Apparently, most of it is down to something called the Maillard Reaction. This is something that happens when food is browned. When food reaches a temperature where it browns sugars are created. If you leave the food in the oven long enough a caramelizing effect takes place. Now, you all know how sweet and lovely caramel is, so you get some idea of why we like the taste of slightly seared food so much.
The fact that the pizza oven is so hot ensures that the Maillard Reaction takes place super fast and that only the very outer surface of the ingredients are affected. That is why a good pizza chef will be very careful about how quickly they get the pie out of the oven. If it comes out fast enough you get the flavors of the fresh ingredients combined with the slightly sweet flavor of the lightly seared bits.
The flavor of the dough
Another important element is the dough. It needs to be left to rise properly. The yeast quickly gets to work making carbon dioxide and is very efficient at doing so. But, if you leave it a bit longer it begins to create flavor molecules instead. This ingredient is very unique.
So dough that has been properly worked and kept long enough will develop a more complex and interesting flavor. This is part of the reason our handmade dough is so much nicer than the kind you can buy from most supermarkets and food retailers. It is also far fresher, which means more of the right flavor molecules are still alive and can be tasted.
Pizza offers so many choices
Perhaps the biggest reason people love pizza is that they can have anything they like as a topping. Really, no combination is off-limits, sardines and Nutella, anyone? Weird, yes, but totally OK if that is what you are into.
Pizza is a great food for sharing
Pizza is a communal food that has the potential to give everyone a little of what they really fancy. It is always nice to share food. There is something particularly nice about everyone being able to pull a slice from a plate of pizza that is set down in the middle of the table. Most pizzerias will happily make you a half and half pizza to cater for everyone’s tastes and dietary needs.
Pizza is super easy to cook
Cooking pizzas at home is a fantastic way to introduce your kids to cooking. It is not hard to cook a half decent one at home. If you order some professionally made pizza dough from us, you can easily make a fantastic tasting pizza.
Once you have it at home all you need to do is to stretch it out and get the kids to top it with the ingredients they like. Then you just need to slide it into a very hot oven. The whole process from beginning to end should take 15 to 20 minutes, max. Kids love cooking like this and if you eat it with your hands there is very little washing up to do.
We would love to hear about the toppings you added to our dough. So, please use the comments box to share your ideas and cooking experience.
Line Arias is a writer at Nonnabox.com. When she is not experimenting with food, she is either planning her next trip or writing Poetry.