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-   -   Is This Some Weird British Thing about Pizza? (https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=877774)

Two Many Cats 06-26-2019 12:40 PM

Is This Some Weird British Thing about Pizza?
 
There's a British show called Secret Eaters that I saw a couple of episodes of on YouTube. In it, large people are asked to estimate how much they eat, and keep a food journal. The show then follows them around with private investigators, and then confronts the large people with their denial about the amount of food they consume.
Oh yeah, and then presents them with a "healthy living plan" that solves all their problems apparently.

In one of these episodes, the show recorded a large couple eating at a pizzeria. When they got their pizza, they both poured olive oil on the slices!

Whaaaaaa?????????? Who pours olive oil on their pizza? I know in some quarters, folks dip pieces of bread into olive oil. But that's dry bread. Pizza has plenty of grease to begin with, why would you need more?

Throughout my fifty years and more, I've watched a lot of people eat a lot of pizza. Pizza is an integral part of my working life, in that I work above a pizza restaurant. And I have never, NEVER seen someone pour olive oil on a pizza.

Yet while the show tsk-tsk's the couple for doing this, they don't seem surprised by it at all. The show even suggests that, for lower calories, folks should use a teaspoon to add olive oil to a pizza, instead of pouring it out of a bottle like the large couple do. That implies that there are other Brits who do this inexplicable practice!

Does anyone here pour olive oil on pizza, or have you seen someone do this? If so, is this a British thing, or what?

drad dog 06-26-2019 12:44 PM

Because the pizza they make gets dry?

Inner Stickler 06-26-2019 12:46 PM

Not a UKer but I often drizzle something on my pizza after baking. My personal go-to is hot sauce and honey but I could see using a nice evoo on something like a margherita or neapolitan that has a relatively simple preparation.

On a slice of dominos, I think it would be a waste of good olive oil.

As a sidenote, I watched the first episode after someone linked to it here. I've never before seen a 'reality' tv show where literally nothing that happened was a surprise from the title onwards.

kayaker 06-26-2019 12:48 PM

When I make a Pizza Margherita, I drizzle some (very good) olive oil and balsamic vinegar over the pie.

FairyChatMom 06-26-2019 12:49 PM

When I was in Sicily 35-ish years ago, you could order pizza with olive oil as a topping. Does taht count?

Omniscient 06-26-2019 12:51 PM

I've very occasionally seen Neapolitan or flatbread pizza recipes which finish a wood fired pizza with a drizzle of infused (usually truffle or garlic/rosemary) olive oil before serving it. Typically these are pizzas that don't have tomato sauce though, so the oil is pretty much the only moisture.

As far as table-side dressing with oil....yeah, every bit as perplexed as you are on that. If this is a semi-common thing in the UK I'm never again taking shit from a Brit about Ranch dressing again.

terentii 06-26-2019 01:08 PM

I always drizzle olive oil on my pizza and let the crust soak it up. It has to be a good green EVOO, though. If it's infused with garlic, thats even better.

When I make deep-dish pizza, I coat the pan liberally with olive oil before I put the crust in, too. If I'm using anchovies packed in olive oil, I also drizzle the oil from the can over the pizza, so nothing goes to waste.

I love good olive oil. Back in the '80s, I had a girlfriend who freaked out when she saw me dipping my pizza crust in olive oil. I'm sorry now I didn't do it more often in front of her. :D

I Love Me, Vol. I 06-26-2019 01:10 PM

The problem is that the Brits cook pizza by boiling it. :p

Treppenwitz 06-26-2019 01:36 PM

Can I just say, on behalf of the civilised/house trained minority in the UK, that nothing the British do with pizza would surprise me.

The best thing to do to pizza in the UK is avoid it.

I have a distant memory that those bottles contain oil infused with chilli. Actually, I'm not sure if that's even a British idea. If it is, it's one of the better ones.

j

Filbert 06-26-2019 01:56 PM

My former housemate drizzles chilli infused oil on his, mostly on the crust. Plain olive oil is a new one on me.

pulykamell 06-26-2019 02:00 PM

I’m not British, and I’ve definitely drizzled olive oil on pizza before, but for Neapolitan styles of pizza. I wouldn’t do it with an American style pie. Usually, though, the pizza is already served with a drizzle, of the type requires/suggests it.

RobDog 06-26-2019 02:36 PM

I think there's a sector of the British public who have a slightly fetishistic relationship to olive oil.

I blame Jamie Oliver. He seems to finish absolutely everything he cooks with a dwizzle of the old olive oil... Pukka!

Staggerlee 06-26-2019 03:17 PM

Were the couple Mr and Mrs Creosote, perhaps?

madsircool 06-26-2019 04:09 PM

Drizzling olive oil is a fairly common option in independent SoCal pizzarias.

Sent from my LGMS210 using Tapatalk

Leaffan 06-26-2019 04:24 PM

I have never encountered that here.

Two Many Cats 06-26-2019 04:33 PM

To clarify, I understand that olive oil may be used in cooking the pizza. But pouring or sprinkling olive oil on a pizza once it's at your table is just bizarre. I find this far more offensive, speaking as a Chicagoan, than ketchup on a hot dog.

terentii 06-26-2019 05:09 PM

Ketchup on a hot dog, mmmmmmmmmmmmmm! :o

Aspidistra 06-26-2019 08:30 PM

When I was living in Scotland, I encountered deep-fried pizza.

Up until right now I considered that the weirdest thing that anyone could ever do to a pizza (though in the frigid northern January you do appreciate a good solid helping of salt'n'fat)

pulykamell 06-26-2019 08:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Aspidistra (Post 21719750)
When I was living in Scotland, I encountered deep-fried pizza.

Up until right now I considered that the weirdest thing that anyone could ever do to a pizza (though in the frigid northern January you do appreciate a good solid helping of salt'n'fat)

There actually is such a thing a pizza fritta, and it is a Neapolitan thing, as well, so the Scots weren't the first to do this.

pulykamell 06-26-2019 08:47 PM

It looks like the pizza fritta style goes back to WWII or post-WWII, from what I can dig up about it. Here's another approach to it, where the dough is first deep-fried, then topped and finished in a hot oven, as opposed to the pizza puff/hot pocket approach of the last video. ETA: Heck, if you want to see a local approach to the pizza fritta/pizza puff, check out this gyros pizza puff monstrosity. Pizza puffs are more typically the size of your hand. I believe they're more of a Chicago-area fast food, but I could be wrong about that.

Tiggy 06-26-2019 08:59 PM

In an Italian (very authentic looking) pizza place, I noticed that the people cooking put a dash of olive oil on the pizza before sticking it in the oven. Maybe it's because the ovens are so hot. I admit to having done this at home before cooking, but most certainly not after. I think a lot of American pizzas are thicker and have lots more cheese on. I'm British btw, and I use Palestinian olive oil because it's much the best I've ever tasted.

Omniscient 06-26-2019 09:12 PM

Pizza puffs are a Chicago thing? Holy shit, another way in which we dominate the pizza game.

jz78817 06-27-2019 04:32 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by I Love Me, Vol. I (Post 21718919)
The problem is that the Brits cook pizza by boiling it. :p

Oh god I wish this forum had a “like” button

Saint Cad 06-27-2019 04:46 AM

It's better than pineapple on a pizza, but only barely.

Nava 06-27-2019 05:05 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Two Many Cats (Post 21718835)
Does anyone here pour olive oil on pizza, or have you seen someone do this? If so, is this a British thing, or what?

First place where I encountered it was in fact the US, although it was oil with cayenne in it.

Novelty Bobble 06-27-2019 05:50 AM

I've eaten lots of pizza in the Naples region and in The UK, the olive oil things seems pretty standard to me in the neopolitan-style. Perhaps it is just that form of pizza that hasn't really made it to the USA (I confess that the USA-style with loads of topping is pretty much inedible for me)

Teuton 06-27-2019 06:27 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by I Love Me, Vol. I (Post 21718919)
The problem is that the Brits cook pizza by boiling it. :p

When I was on a caravan holiday a few years back, we bought a supermarket pizza to have on the evening we got to the site, only to discover the caravan didn't have an oven. So I fried each slice, individually, in a frying pan.

It's, er, not something I would do again.

SanVito 06-27-2019 06:31 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Two Many Cats (Post 21719391)
To clarify, I understand that olive oil may be used in cooking the pizza. But pouring or sprinkling olive oil on a pizza once it's at your table is just bizarre. I find this far more offensive, speaking as a Chicagoan, than ketchup on a hot dog.

Finishing a freshly wood-baked pizza with good extra virgin oil is perfectly acceptable - they even do it in Italy. Hardly comparable with ketchup.

Here's an italian article debating whether to add olive oil before or after cooking.

Olive oil is a flavour enhancer - it's like adding seasoning. Everyone needs to chill out about it.

Royal Nonesutch 06-27-2019 06:47 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Filbert (Post 21719041)
My former housemate drizzles chilli infused oil on his, mostly on the crust. Plain olive oil is a new one on me.

Many (most?) Italian restaurants in Europe have a few small bottles of olive oil available to customers who want it, infused with garlic, chili, herbs or perhaps in Norway, walrus rectums.

I thought this was something everyone knew?

SanVito 06-27-2019 06:54 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Royal Nonesutch (Post 21720225)
Many (most?) Italian restaurants in Europe have a few small bottles of olive oil available to customers who want it, infused with garlic, chili, herbs or perhaps in Norway, walrus rectums.

I thought this was something everyone knew?

I wonder if we have a disconnect here between US style pizza and Italian. US style pizza tends to be way more overloaded with cheese and other toppings, so perhaps olive oil seems excessive . Whereas italian style is altogether less loaded - a little tomato sauce and mozzarella, then perhaps two other topics, lightly scattered.

I note from the gallery page of my favourite local pizzeria, they have a pic of one of the chefs drizzling olive oil on a cooked pizza.

Royal Nonesutch 06-27-2019 07:12 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SanVito (Post 21720230)
I wonder if we have a disconnect here between US style pizza and Italian. US style pizza tends to be way more overloaded with cheese and other toppings, so perhaps olive oil seems excessive . Whereas italian style is altogether less loaded - a little tomato sauce and mozzarella, then perhaps two other topics, lightly scattered.

Pizza styles vary widely in the USA, and without trying to be offensive, there is really no such thing as just plain "US style" pizza, instead, most Americans who know a bit about quality food from an independant restaurant would probably refer specifically to "Chicago Deep Dish", "New York style" or "Sicilian" pizza, unless you are talking about basic mass market mega-chains like Domino's or Pizza Hut.

To me, a really good East Coast pizza (NYC, Philadelphia) can be nearly as tasty as a pizza from a little Hole-In-The-Wall somewhere in Naples' Quartieri Spagnoli.

Different, but still really delicious.

Plumpudding 06-27-2019 07:28 AM

In Genova, every pizza joint had a bottle of olive oil and a bottle of chilli olive oil on the table. Standard practice, nothing weird about it at all.

pulykamell 06-27-2019 08:02 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Royal Nonesutch (Post 21720251)
Pizza styles vary widely in the USA, and without trying to be offensive, there is really no such thing as just plain "US style" pizza,

While they do vary and there are many styles within the US, there is a sort-of generic idea of what US pizza is. I think the types served by the national chains you mention do pretty much cover it.

Since you're out there, do the Poles still do the ketchup-on-pizza thing? One of my cousins from Krakow visited here about six or seven years ago, and I was absolutely stunned when he asked for ketchup when we went to a pizza joint out in Niagara Falls. He said it was a common thing out there (I've been to Poland many times, but the last time was in 2001, and I don't recall going to pizza places out there.) I thought perhaps he was just exaggerating the popularity of his little quirk, but a few months ago I was at the local Polish supermarket perusing the various condiment offerings, and I saw a bottle of this (or similar brand.) That says "herbal/herbed ketchup for pizza."
So apparently it is popular enough to have a ketchup marketed to that purpose. (Or I suppose as a tomato base to make your own ad hoc pizzas, I guess.)

Come to think of it, there was one restaurant in Budapest that kinda sorta did a similar thing. It wasn't ketchup, but they served their pizza sauce in a small jar along with the pizza, so you can pour extra sauce all over it. Here's a picture.

Johanna 06-27-2019 08:08 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SanVito (Post 21720210)
Here's an italian article debating whether to add olive oil before or after cooking.

Their conclusion: Both before and after. The exception is the marinara tomato topping, which is only before.

pulykamell 06-27-2019 08:15 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nava (Post 21720145)
First place where I encountered it was in fact the US, although it was oil with cayenne in it.

Interesting. I wonder what type of pizza place that was. Typically in the US, it is not unusual for pizza joints to have some condiments on the table or otherwise available for putting on the pizza after it's served, but the standard ones are red pepper flakes, parmesan cheese (quite often, the crappy green-bottled stuff unless you're going to more upscale places), and perhaps a shaker of oregano or dried Italian herb blend.

Chronos 06-27-2019 10:57 AM

I would say that the pizza served at Pizza Hut, Domino's, and the like is "American style" pizza. It's not very high quality, of course, but quality and style are two different things. Also, in my experience, "New York Style" is just American style, but New Yorkers seem perplexed by the idea that anywhere else in the country could possibly do the same thing they do.

Chicago Deep Dish, however, is a completely different style, but it doesn't mean what most folks outside of Chicago think it means (hint: "Deep dish" does not mean "thick crust").

Inner Stickler 06-27-2019 11:06 AM

To me, new york style is a very flat but floppy pizza while the more generic american style has a slightly sturdier and thicker crust.

terentii 06-27-2019 11:11 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pulykamell (Post 21720307)
I was at the local Polish supermarket perusing the various condiment offerings, and I saw a bottle of this (or similar brand). That says "herbal/herbed ketchup for pizza." So apparently it is popular enough to have a ketchup marketed to that purpose. (Or I suppose as a tomato base to make your own ad hoc pizzas, I guess.)

When I lived in Czechoslovakia, lángos was a popular street food. It was always given a good squirt of ketchup before the vendor handed it to you.

I remember one Czech-to-English text describing an Italian dish that said ketchup (instead of tomato sauce) was a main ingredient. At the time, I thought it was a mistranslation, but now I'm not so sure.

terentii 06-27-2019 11:19 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Teuton (Post 21720206)
When I was on a caravan holiday a few years back, we bought a supermarket pizza to have on the evening we got to the site, only to discover the caravan didn't have an oven. So I fried each slice, individually, in a frying pan.

It's, er, not something I would do again.

I've seen Russians heat entire 12" supermarket pizzas in frying pans. Why they don't just stick them in the oven, I don't know.

pulykamell 06-27-2019 11:23 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by terentii (Post 21720792)
When I lived in Czechoslovakia, lángos was a popular street food. It was always given a good squirt of ketchup before the vendor handed it to you.

Interesting. I lived many years in the land of lángos (Hungary), and had never seen anyone put ketchup on theirs in Hungary. Those weirdo Czechoslovaks! ;) The standard topping was a mop of garlic water and salt. Then you can add sour cream and/or cheese to that. Some places might also offer ham, and I'm sure there's more exotic combos out there as well, but ketchup is a new one on me!

pulykamell 06-27-2019 11:27 AM

On the other hand, Hungarians did have melegszendvics ("hot sandwich") and the Poles have their zapiekanka, both of which are open-faced hot sandwiches a la "French bread pizza," and in both countries it was normal to put ketchup on either.

terentii 06-27-2019 11:49 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SanVito (Post 21720230)
I wonder if we have a disconnect here between US style pizza and Italian. US style pizza tends to be way more overloaded with cheese and other toppings, so perhaps olive oil seems excessive . Whereas italian style is altogether less loaded - a little tomato sauce and mozzarella, then perhaps two other topics, lightly scattered.

Oddly enough, I was first exposed to true Italian pizza in Moscow in the '90s, at a place called Il Patio. I didn't realize it at the time, and it wasn't until I went to Venice in 2000 that I saw I'd been served the real thing in Russia.

Yllaria 06-27-2019 12:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Two Many Cats (Post 21718835)
. . . In one of these episodes, the show recorded a large couple eating at a pizzeria. When they got their pizza, they both poured olive oil on the slices!

Whaaaaaa?????????? Who pours olive oil on their pizza? . . .

It could be worse. I know at least one person who dips their pizza in ranch dressing.

teela brown 06-27-2019 12:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by terentii (Post 21720822)
I've seen Russians heat entire 12" supermarket pizzas in frying pans. Why they don't just stick them in the oven, I don't know.

Reheating cold pizza slices in a dry, hot skillet is a terrific way of getting them crisp again. I started doing this after seeing them recommend it on America's Test Kitchen. It takes less than five minutes and it makes the pizza taste like it just came out of the pizza oven at the restaurant.

I lightly tent the skillet with a sheet of foil to keep the heat in, which re-melts the cheese nicely.

As far as olive oil on pizzas, I see the pizziolas drizzle some on a pizza before they put it in the oven, but I've never seen oil applied at the table.

pulykamell 06-27-2019 12:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Yllaria (Post 21720965)
It could be worse. I know at least one person who dips their pizza in ranch dressing.

Don't one of the fast food chains even provide you with ranch dressing for dipping? I swear, I feel like I've seen this before as being a normalized thing.

pulykamell 06-27-2019 12:23 PM

Apparently, the ranch thing is popular enough that Hidden Valley Ranch even has a ranch-dipped pizza sauce.

terentii 06-27-2019 12:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by teela brown (Post 21720982)
Reheating cold pizza slices in a dry, hot skillet is a terrific way of getting them crisp again.

Reheating them, yes. But heating them fresh out of the wrapping? :confused:

Aspidistra 06-27-2019 06:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pulykamell (Post 21719758)
There actually is such a thing a pizza fritta, and it is a Neapolitan thing, as well, so the Scots weren't the first to do this.

Interesting. Though it seems to be missing the "dunk it in batter" step familiar from my younger days, so I feel like the Scots chip shop version might be an independent invention.

A little googling also shows me some "pizza fritta" recipes that look more or less like what I'd call a calzone (with toppings, wrapped like a pie) except fried not baked

The King of Soup 06-27-2019 07:09 PM

I guess it depends on chance. Almost every really good pizzeria I've been in had a cruet of olive oil, readily available if not on the table with the crushed pepper and other condiments.

pulykamell 06-27-2019 07:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Aspidistra (Post 21721689)
Interesting. Though it seems to be missing the "dunk it in batter" step familiar from my younger days, so I feel like the Scots chip shop version might be an independent invention.

A little googling also shows me some "pizza fritta" recipes that look more or less like what I'd call a calzone (with toppings, wrapped like a pie) except fried not baked

That’s correct. It’s not battered, and it’s like a deep-fried calzone, or what we call a pizza puff here. But the idea of deep frying pizza did not originate with the Scots. It does sound like an independent offshoot, but my post is more to remark about the deep frying part, and that it’s not that crazy an idea.


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