Preparing the Perfect Pizza: Do's and Don'ts (Mostly Don'ts)
I must have had thousands of pizzas over the years. Who hasn’t unless you’re lactose intolerant? Crust with tomato and no cheese on it doesn't count. That's not a pizza. That’s that weird pizza substitute they eat in Spain, called Catalan pizza.
I’ve become quite the connoisseur. I’ve had my good pizzas and bad pizzas – even pizzas that are bad are, according to some, still pretty good. I’ll bet you’re probably thinking that pizza is starting to sound like a euphemism for something else in this article. But it isn’t, so you can put your tissues away now.
So what am I getting at here? Well, I’ve recently had a string of bad pizzas, and only just the other day did I have one that ended this streak of bad pizzas. This made me think about what would make the perfect pizza. What should you do and not do to craft it?
People who make pizza and especially pizza places who specialise in the service should pay special attention because some of things I’m going to list here that I don’t like may be exactly why nobody comes to your place to eat pizza any more hence the reason you’re going out of business. Just note before ranting in the comments that this is what makes MY perfect pizza. You don’t have to agree with me but don’t attack me because of that. You are more than welcome to leave your own suggestions for what makes your perfect pizza at the bottom of the article. Also just realise that this isn’t a recipe for making pizza. I like to eat food; not cook.
Real men cook their pizzas with wood fired ovens.
- First off, you have wood and electric oven cooked pizzas. Wood-fired ovens are older and have a more traditional feel to them. When done properly, pizzas out of a wood-fired oven taste great. But it’s quite easy to burn them. And I don’t eat burned pizza. I’ve even re-ordered a pizza because it was burned, and the staff didn’t throw it away – they ate the burned pizza themselves. And that is a fitting punishment for pizza makers who burn pizzas, I think.
- Don’t argue with me when I say that a pizza is burned and is unacceptable/inedible, otherwise I’ll name and shame you online for all of the 10 people who end up reading this to see.
- Electric ovens don’t so much burn pizzas, but they can still be overcooked. This is most evident when there is a hard base and crust, and it isn’t, contrary to what you may think, all that nice.
- Pizzas are becoming more and more expensive, and it’s really more of a luxury nowadays. Gone are the days when we would have pizza every night of the weekend. In this case, pizza bases are an option, but only some brands are actually any good. I once had a make of pizza base -- it was like chewing on concrete, and I actually almost had to visit a dentist the following day. Crunchy is okay, but not when it’s your teeth, and not the pizza, that come off second best.
"Crunchy is okay, but not when it’s your teeth, and not the pizza, that come off second best."
- One thing that bothers me a little is when pizzas aren’t sliced properly, and what I mean by that is that slices aren’t more or less equal in size. So you end up with two or three big slices and several small ones. At least use a divider and/or a ruler or some measuring tape (all hygienically sterilised too). A bit of professionalism people, please.
- What’s worse than that however is when they don’t bother slicing it at all, and you have one big pizza with no slices, or the person didn’t slice it properly. So off you go to the kitchen to get a pizza cutter, and you realise just what a hard job it is to slice a pizza. I’ve since developed a healthy respect for anyone who manages to do at least a half-decent job with pizza slicing. You instinctively press in and drag the thing only making things worse. You can’t. You have to roll the cutter over the top repeatedly, but gently, back and forth until the job is done. It’s really just better to use a guillotine, like one would use for cutting paper. Not the one for chopping heads off. Firstly, because that wouldn't be safe, and secondly, because I would use that on the person who didn't cut my pizza properly/at all.
- Better undercooked than overcooked. I like my pizza to be somewhat sloppy but not so much so that all the cheese runs off when I’m trying to pick it up, and the only way to make it set is to put it in the fridge. I’m not a fan of cold pizza and people who are, probably like other things that are cold, like bodies, and should be avoided, quite frankly.
"You instinctively press in and drag the thing only making things worse. You can’t. You have to roll the cutter over the top repeatedly. It’s really just better to use a guillotine."
- I’ve mentioned that I like my pizza to be done just right. It’s not underdone or overcooked, and the cheese is a bit stringy and chewy, but not too much. Well I don’t like pizza that sticks to the bottom of the box when trying to lift a piece and eat it, and as a result a little bit of cardboard ends up going in to my mouth. I would pay extra money, maybe, to have a box made of different material, because cardboard is actually one of those things I hate, sort of like wooden spoons or smelly plastic drinking cups with bite marks in them. I also don’t know why there have to be so many holes in the pizza box, because this is a challenge in summer especially when flies are about, and you end up using all of the serviettes the pizza place provides you with to plug up the holes so flies don’t get in. Of course, you don’t have this problem when you eat at a restaurant and the pizza is on a plate. Then the flies will just dive-bomb your pizza, which is okay if you’re an amphibian who happens to like flies as a pizza topping.
- I also don’t like to see a lot of grease in the box. I don’t like fatty pizzas. You are what you eat, and all.
- One thing I don’t tolerate is when pizzas delivered to my house arrive late. I have on at least one occasion tipped the delivery boy for actually finding the place, but didn't pay him the money for the pizza. I notice that many people find this unethical to do. But they make the rules: if it’s late, it’s free. I will set my stopwatch and time them, and if they are even a bit late, it’s only right that I get my pizza for free. If they’re very late I won’t tip them. It's my right according to them, so I don’t see a problem with it. It’s their responsibility to know exactly where they have to go and provide the delivery people with maps, GPS devices and other such equipment. It should be a requirement for pizza delivery people to have a good sense of direction and know the area they are servicing well, and not to be a complete muppet.
- I also won’t tip someone if I open the box and find that the pizza is pushed over to one side and the topping has come off as a result. Then I know that pizza delivery person must drive like a maniac and should clearly have his licence revoked. Maybe he was going fast so it would get to my place hot and on time. But I still don’t appreciate it much.
- I mentioned that I don't like cold pizza, didn't I?
- Nowadays, pizza places often offer stuffed crusts which I personally like a lot. I usually go for the cheese option, because the sausage option I don’t like. I don’t find it acceptable to put a Vienna or a cheese griller in the crust. That’s a sausage substitute. For the price I’m paying I expect a proper sausage of some kind. You might as well put spam in the crust if you’re going to screw me.
- And as we’re on the subject of screwing customers, I will stop ordering pizza from your place if you put the price up and put less on my pizza. If you put less toppings on my pizza, I want a price cut.
- And lastly, don’t tell me that the only pizzas on offer are: a) margherita; b) seafood; c) Hawaiian. That’s not a pizza place. That’s a concentration camp.
What is the worst thing someone can do to a pizza?
Do you like your pizza perfect?
© 2013 Anti-Valentine