The Oxford English Dictionary defines a ‘Pizza’ as: [noun] A dish of Italian origin, consisting of a flat round base of dough baked with a topping of tomato sauce and cheese, typically with added meat, fish, or vegetables.
The Oxford English Dictionary also defines a ‘Crime Against Humanity’ as: [noun] A deliberate act, typically as part of a systematic campaign, that causes human suffering or death on a large scale.
I feel it is important to note these two definitions before we delve, head-first, then body, legs etc. – the standard order if you will – into the cut and the thrust of this article. It is important to bear these definitions in mind as we deal with the fact that Irish Pride are, currently, soliciting their customers through a small, garishly colorued speech-bubble on the side of their packaging to create pizza slices using white sliced bread as the base.
As we have seen, the OED’s definition for a Crime Against Humanity does not currently reference ‘encouraging the making of a ‘pizza’ using white sliced bread’ as falling within its terms. This is evidently a glaring oversight. While it would be churlish to expect that when the definitions of what constituted a Crime Against Humanity were being codified in international law – in the buildup to the Nuremberg trials – law-makers should’ve considered including such a clause, we have now reached a situation where its absence is a foolhardy omission.
Let’s look at their recipe:
It reads: “6 slices Irish Pride Sandwich, Pesto, Grated Cheddar Cheese, Crumbed Ham, Tomatoes. Cut Slices diagonally, add pesto, grated cheddar cheese, cubed ham and diced tomato. Grill until cheese is melted.”
This is self-evidently less a recipe and rather the deranged cry for help of a mad-man. It is an existential howl from a person in the grips of a profound crisis. It is the craven ramblings of someone who’s very soul has become corroded through contact with the unremitting harshness of life. It is not, by anyone’s metric, a recipe for a pizza. If we are to circle back to the definition, stated above, of a pizza, we see that its crucial criteria are for there to be bread, tomato sauce, cheese – in that order. Already, before we even have umbrage to take with the suggestion of using sliced sandwich bread as a base, we see that this heinous suggestion falls down on an ontological level – there is no tomato sauce. Tomatoes, sure. But no tomato sauce. This is, at best, a suggestion for a very busy open-cheese-toastie – and that is being generous with the situation we’re dealing with.
The true horror of all this only comes into full, sharp focus when we consider the idea of using sandwich bread as a pizza base. There is – and I have scanned it several times, dissected it, gathered colleagues round me to source second opinions – no suggestion within the speech bubble to suggest that you ought to pre-toast the bread to give it some texture and rigidity. It simply implies that you grill it until the cheese is melted. To consider this is to consider the scope of man’s depravity.
I am not here to suggest that some toasting will not occur. It would be foolish for me to not concede that the perimeters of the bread will undergo some toasting, sure, that seems inevitable. However, vast swathes, large stretches, of the underside of the bread will never know the searing heat of a grill and will consequently remain floppy, soft and pliable – in short, an unmitigated yeast-based travesty.
Yet, I must admit, that this is not the first time that I have crossed paths with such a perverse culinary concoction. It seems that I am roughly destined to come across such a creation once every 10 years. A decade ago, in transition year, as part of an ill-fated Home Ec module – which largely consisted of our class congregating in a science lab and melting pens over bunsen burners while a disinterested teacher floundered about trying to make a schnitzel on an electric hotplate – we were set the task of each making a pizza at home and documenting our recipes and approaches to this classic. While the majority of our class stoically tried, in spite of our collective lack of expertise, to make something that didn’t actively bring shame to the idea of what a pizza was, one student threw caution to the wind and decided to really test the boundaries of what could reasonably be considered to be a pizza. He told our teacher that what he ended up making for his ‘pizza’ was a slice of white bread, with a layer of ketchup spread across its pale surface and topped with an Easy-Single. We could only hope the plastic had been removed.
It is not outside the terms of possibility that this maverick in Home Ec, this unashamed dreamer, has since found employment with Irish Pride and is now attempting to spread his dangerous agenda of sub-standard home pizza-making throughout the national consciousness. I do not know, nor do I have the journalistic integrity to attempt to get to the bottom of whether this is the case so, for now, we must content ourselves with the origins of this travesty being consigned to the annals of mystery. And, we must condemn it in the strongest possible terms.