Please, dear Lord, save me from all those people who say their favorite thing about Chicago is deep dish pizza. It’s a step up from Malort, maybe, but there must be something better.
Kentucky has bourbon, Kansas City and New York both have strip steaks that bear their name, Buffalo has wings, Boston has cream pie…some places just hit the jackpot in the culinary karma competition.
And then there’s Chicago pizza, an overweight agglomeration of tomato sauce, cheese and dough. And dough. And dough. And dough.
Did I mention dough?
I actually like this stuff, but I don’t rank it among the best foods in Chicago, or even the best pizza. Most of the really great pizza places around here refuse to bury their toppings in a loaf of bread. It’s a local tradition the locals don’t indulge in all that much, except when friends and family come to town and ask for the “hometown” pizza.
Seriously, I miss the days when everybody talked about Al Capone.
Of course, it could be worse. We’re better off than Brussels, which is famous for a really gross and distasteful vegetable that people only like when you fry it with garlic and cheese and, sometimes, bacon. if you were the mayor of Brussels, would you want your reputation based on a gassy, bitter, irredeemable lump of leaves?
Even worse, it’s widely believed that “French” fries were actually invented in Belgium long before they started cooking them up in France. But, as with all great contributions to world culture, France has found a way to take credit and Brussels got stuck with tiny cabbage wannabes.
Fate is oh, so cruel.
At least Brussels is brave enough to take the hit for its gastric abomination. Peru has engaged in a hundred-years war to convince us we should mispronounce the Lima in lima beans. Respect, Peru, you’ve prevailed at last.
Back in Chicago, we really need to shift the narrative on our culinary heritage. We invented Cracker Jack, Juicy Fruit, Vienna hot dogs, Tootsie Rolls and even Twinkies, any one of which we could have branded with the home-town imprint…but didn’t.
And, greatest tragedy of all, we somehow called our greatest contribution to the dining world an “Italian” beef sandwich. Yeah, it was supposedly cooked up by Italian immigrants working at the Stockyards, but they were Italian immigrants IN CHICAGO.
Too late, I suppose. Once your nickname is Stumpy, you can’t get people to call you The Captain anymore, and once you’re tagged with deep dish pizza, it’s too late to talk about CHICAGO BEEF SANDWICHES.
At least we’re not Brussels.
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Dadwrites oozes from the warped mind of Michael Rosenbaum, an award-winning author who spends most of his time these days as a start-up business mentor, book coach, photographer and, mostly, a grandfather. All views are his alone, largely due to the fact that he can’t find anyone who agrees with him.