All it took was one post to turn my social media account into a cesspool of hatred.
I didn’t bring up politics (which would be stupid), express a common sense viewpoint that’s gone out of vogue (which would be silly), or say a “fur baby” is just a dog (which would be potentially life-threatening).
This turned out to be worse. I said I was going to top pizza with strawberries.
People are passionate about pizza, more passionate, it seems, than they are about religion or movie spoilers.
Pizza, in the form of flatbread with toppings, has existed wherever there have been people since the late Neolithic era. Pizza as we know it today has existed only since 1889 when baker Raffaele Esposito of Naples baked a special pizza for Italy’s Queen Margherita using tomato sauce, fresh basil and white cheese. The first pizza shop in America opened in Manhattan in 1905.
The United States population eats about $37 billion in pizza per year, which averages out to each American eating 46 slices (not in one sitting, I hope). Every day, one eighth of the American population eats pizza.
CNN’s Wolf Blitzer told Stars and Stripes that when he was a Washington, D.C., correspondent in 1990, he knew something big was going to happen when pizzas began to roll into the Pentagon. A military official later told him Iraq had just invaded Kuwait.
“Bottom line for journalists,” Blitzer told the newspaper. “Always monitor the pizzas.”
Pizza is a weekly meal in our house. Even our 3-year-old is used to the routine.
“You go grocery store get pepperoni triangle pizza me eat at night,” she rattles off every Friday when we go shopping.
And for her, the slices have to be in triangles. I cut the pizza in squares one night and paid dearly for my arrogance.
People have different tastes when it comes to crust – thin, flatbread, hand-tossed, thick, or that Pizza Hut madness of crust stuffed with cheese or hot dogs. However, people who like different crusts can live in harmony, like today’s Germany and France. It’s when they discuss toppings that violence breaks out, like yesterday’s Germany and France.
I found the idea of strawberry-topped pizza in a news article about people hating the idea.
“I already called the police,” one person tweeted. “I hope it was worth it.”
“Pineapple and non-pineapple pizza eaters must put our differences aside and join forces to defeat this evil,” wrote another.
Ina Garten, the Food Network’s “Barefoot Contessa,” faced a similar backlash when she recently announced Brussels sprout-topped pizza might be her new favorite. Responses on Twitter were less than kind.
“I would rather eat my own fingers.”
In a world where pizza toppings include horse meat (Denmark), coconut (Costa Rica), sweet peas (Brazil), squid (Japan), canned tuna (Germany), bananas (Sweden), kangaroo (Australia), fried eggs (France) and haggis (UK), I think strawberries are the least of our worries.
I still haven’t baked that strawberry pizza. Maybe this weekend. I’ll let you know how it turns out. Just save your hatred for the people who deserve it. You know, the people who think Pepsi is better than Coke or Microsoft is better than Apple.
– Jason is waiting for your hate mail. His newest novel, “Bad Day for the Apocalypse,” is available at jasonoffutt.com.