In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Community Service.”
Dear St. Louis Community,
When I relocated from Chicago to an Illinois suburb of your fine city 16 years ago, I found something that was so foreign, so disturbing, that I can no longer stay silent. I fear you have all been brainwashed. I’m not sure who is responsible, and I don’t know that there is any hope to reverse it. I’m talking about what you have been told is “pizza.” Or, more specifically, what you refer to as the “cheese” on this “pizza.” People of St. Louis, your pizza makes me sad.
Living in Chicago, I was never more than a few blocks away from a pizza place. Whether it was the world famous deep dish style, or thin crust that was more common on the south side where I grew up, even the worst place was better than Pizza Hut or Domino’s. I don’t think I even tasted Domino’s pizza until I went away to college and it was the closest and cheapest option. Had I ordered it at home, I would have been mocked and possibly disowned by my family. So imagine my dismay upon finding that one of those chains or (horror of horrors!) frozen pizza was our best option in our new home. How would I carry on?!
Chicago pizza is not all the same, but it is, in my opinion, all pretty delicious. Some is thick and some is thin; some sauce is spicy and some is sweet. Here’s where St. Louis misses the point: the cheese is mozzarella. Maybe a blend that includes some provolone, but mozzarella is the star of the show. Gooey cheesy goodness that when you cut a slice and lift it off the pan, it trails a string like a spider’s web all the way to your plate. Cheese that when you take a bite stretches until finally breaking and hanging inelegantly from your chin.
Why go on about cheese, you ask? Because I am here to tell you, St. Louis, that you’re doing it wrong! Your use of Provel cheese instead of mozzarella on pizza, if I may be so bold, is an abomination. It’s like going to see Magic Mike and finding its star is Gilbert Gottfried. It’s just wrong.
For those of you unfamiliar with Provel cheese, it is a processed cheese consisting of a mixture of cheddar, swiss and provolone. I’m not making this up – you can read about it here. I adore cheese and happen to love cheddar, swiss, and provolone, but does anything about this scream “Pizza!” to you? Of course not. Not only does it have an odd, tangy flavor (no doubt due to the cheddar and swiss) but when melted, it has an unpleasant paste-like consistency that sticks to your teeth and the roof of your mouth. Once melted, it never truly re-solidifies, so if you like eating cold pizza the next day, this is not a viable option.
Come on St. Louis, you’re better than this! You are the home of the famous Gateway Arch! You have your beloved, World Series winning St. Louis Cardinals for God’s sake! Get it together people!
Sorry. Got a little carried away there. But we Chicagoans take our pizza seriously. Don’t get me wrong St. Louis, your cuisine is not all bad. The dry rub method of cooking ribs is the best, and whoever decided to bread and deep fry ravioli is a genius. And the inventor of gooey butter cake should be awarded the Nobel Prize.
Over the years, a few places with tolerable pizza have opened up, so Mr. Maid and I have found the will to live between visits home. It’s not the vast cheese wasteland it once was. There are pockets of resistance here and there, but progress is slow.
Just as one might say “don’t drink the Kool-Aid” to warn against caving in to peer pressure, I must say this: “People of St. Louis – I implore you – don’t eat the cheese.”