Pizza in Pittsburgh resembles American politics. You can love Mineo’s and hate Vincent’s. You can love Vincent’s and hate Mineo’s. Or you can love one of the multitude of third party candidates who have no chance of ever getting more than a percent or two of the popular vote.
Personally ironic is that I love it as a metaphor, but am wholly monotheistic when it comes to pizza. I not only worship at the altar that is Mineo’s, but I am a zealous member of the thick crust double-cheese sect. In 30+ years of eating Mineo’s pizza, I am not sure if I have ever even tried any of their other varieties. I suppose one might consider my culinary tastes boring, if not downright dogmatic. I prefer to think of myself as pious (and no, I’m really not trying for an awful pun).
However, since I have adopted the pizzatorium as a reflective metaphor, I find myself straying ever so slightly from the fold. After all, I risk being hypocritical if I preach the value of diversity in pizza only to adhere to a rigid creed in my own dining.
So, at the invitation of a friend, I tried not only a different type of pizza, but a different brand – a double heresy. We went up the street from Mineo’s to Aiello’s and had a pizza with pepperoni, pineapple, and green pepper. This combination would have revolted me perhaps only a year ago. But, you can be surprised by the directions your spiritual quest can take you.
Now, I’ll have to admit that the meal was supplemented by several hours of delightful conversation, which always enhances digestion. That said, the pizza was not bad (it also helped that I had just worked out and was starving). They used canned pineapple, which I love, but not necessarily baked in a pizza. Otherwise the flavorful blend was tasty and spicy.
I suppose that I could now be tempted to engage in a global quest for pizza perfection. But, my pizzatorium is not about seeking out variety for the sake of variety. Frankly, the primary value of the experience was the invitation to try something new and sharing that communion with a friend. That is the real spirit of my muse kennel and pizzatorium.
Do you have a favorite pizza? If so, then the next time you feel inclined to partake, invite a friend to commune with you and experience it together. Perhaps the world is not ready for “Peace Through Pizza,” but I can imagine a broad ecumenically Epicurean approach to bridging the gaps between people and even societies.