Today I read this quote from The Telegraph:
David Mandolin, the head of the Italian School for Pizza Makers, told Corriere della Sera newspaper. “To make a good pizza, it needs to be crunchy but also digestible. Not everyone can do that, but the Egyptians can.”
Oh, snap! Wait. Before you all get your panties in a wad, let’s take a step back.
A Brief History of Pizza (!)
Italian immigrants introduced Pizza to the US in the late 19th Century. Italian peddlers carried the pizza on their heads. Americans loved the pizza. Eventually, the Italians stopped carrying the pizza on their heads and started putting it on display counters. The whole world wanted their pizza. The end.
Today, Italy remains the reigning Kingdom of Perfect Pizza. It’s heralded as the only place to go for that authentic Italian slice, the slice that will change your life. I don’t know if that’s true, as I’ve never been to Italy. And I’ve never met a slice of pizza I didn’t like, so I don’t know if I’d be a good judge. But every idiot I’ve ever met who’s been to Italy will say something obnoxious like, “The pizza I had in Italy was the best pizza I’ve ever had” WHILE they’re eating pizza with me. RUDE.
The unparalleled Italian pizza is legendary and rumored to be incomparable for a number of reasons, including: special Italian water, a unique climate, perfect tomato crops, giving the “evil” eye, secret spices, special Italian ovens, the other half of that Fellini film, Sophia’s Loren’s pee, etc. Suffice it to say, they are serious about their pizza. There’s even an effing bill in Parliament to safeguard what a “traditional Italian pizza” is considered to be, requiring all business owners advertising their pizza as “traditional” to follow certain guidelines and validate them upon inspection.
Order in the court! I hereby sentence thee to life without pepperoni, no parole!
It’s safe to say that pizza is a source of Italian pride. But, here’s the thing- they don’t want to make it anymore. Italians hate making pizza. It’s below them or something. The result? Italy is short a preposterous 6,000 frigging pizza-makers. Man, that’s going to be one hell of a Craigslist ad!
From what I’ve gathered it’s mostly foreign immigrants making the pizza in Italy anyway, and the percentage of actual Italian pizza-makers is surprisingly low and dwindling. So, if you’re planning a trip to Italy, don’t expect to find Mario & Luigi flipping pies in the local pizzeria! According to FIPE, 80% of Egyptians who immigrate to Italy get jobs making pizza, making them the primary pizzaioili of Italy. So, okay, let me get this straight. Despite Italy’s crumbling economy and devastating unemployment rate, Italians don’t want to get their hands dusty rolling pizza dough? Hmph. I have this strange feeling…
It’s like… I feel like I’ve heard this before… like, it’s happened somewhere else, or… I just can’t put my finger on… Oh, well! Must be Déjà vu!
Basically, Italians don’t want to look like poor people, even though a growing number of them are. Stupid poor person pizza-making? No, thank you! They just want to eat it, you know, because they’re all unemployed and it’s the only thing they can afford. But, can you blame them? Paisanos, it’s the 21st Century! Italians are not immigrants. They are not impoverished (um…). No, no! Italians are the definition of luxury and style! They drive fancy tiny cars and wear leather jackets over their half-buttoned designer shirts! You think they should make pizza? They stopped doing that the day the Vespa was invented. Italians don’t make pizza anymore, they eat pizza! And only when they’re drunk on bottles of 50-year-old Barolo & expensive, small batch limoncello!
Man, what a bunch of dicks. Actually, it makes no difference to me. Besides the fact that these prissy Italians seem like a lot of stupid Americans I know, all I can really wrap my head around is the fact that there are 6,000 jobs out there- and they’re ready for the taking! I may not be Egyptian, but I’ll bet I can make a fucking pizza.