This sentiment should not even be a debate. I am positive that the Italians had never imagined that their fine delicacy with hand-stretched dough, sauce and cheese would ever witness such an atrocity!
By the way, do you realize that when you describe food in a primal way like that, they all start overlapping with one another? The above description could refer to a pizza, a calzone, or a stuffed cheese naan!
Anyway, in my very honest and not quite humble opinion, pineapple does not belong on a pizza any more than it belongs on a Texas bbq. It is sweet, highly acidic in flavour that does not add to the tomato-based essence that a classic pizza already carries. In addition, the texture of pineapple hits you with an unfamiliar sensation right in the middle of your mouth when you are about to enjoy the cheesy goodness.
I have absolutely no vendetta against the fruit itself. It is a super rejuvenating slice of tropical paradise and an instant sugar source on a warm and humid day. I will any day take a pineapple juice after a workout or grab a few slices to savour with a punchy cocktail. But CAN WE PLEASE LEAVE THE PIZZA ALONE?
You know, I'd have understood the fascination with pineapple had I actually been residing in Hawaii. I get it, you've got all this surplus pineapple, and you're bored of eating it in its raw format. So, you added some to the curry and managed to add a bit of zing to it! Naturally, you were curious about the other foods that could use some fruit too. So in went the pineapple in pizzas, burgers, rice, pies and pretty much everything under the sun.
BUT, are we in Hawaii? Nope. Is the rest of the world in Hawaii? Nope. Then why must we endure this travesty of a combination in the name of experimental cuisine!
To add salt to the wound, usually, the pineapple is paired with jalapenos. I mean, come on! Really? That's like pairing a whisky with a slightly spicy whisky and claiming to have invented a new cocktail!
It is as if you realized that the pineapple made the pizza too sweet, and its natural acidity wasn't enough to balance the flavour. So, instead of taking it off, you decide to add a MORE spicy-acidic flavour into the mix to cut through the sweetness.
The closest analogy to this practice would be an ill-made 'masala chai'. First, add heaps of sugar to the tea and then add heaps of spice to cut through that sugar. In the bargain, you've lost the tea for good! 😂
Suppose I do accept the pineapple pizza at face value. Let's try to answer the actual question that I posed. What kind of a person puts pineapple on their pizza?
Three kinds come to mind.
The first kind, eccentric and experimental, are the ones who are never satisfied with anything that tastes good. They're always in search of something better. And for these guys, better means different. I used to think that I belonged to that camp until I tried pineapple on a pizza and 'pani puri' from Kalyan Bhel in Pune. The latter, an iconic food chain in the city, toyed around with a Mumbai street-food legend with such disregard that it deserves a separate post of its own! So yeah, since that day, I realized that I also search for a better rendition of a dish, but through better technique and refined ingredients. Like adding a touch of a rose/kevda water to biryani or improving the marination technique on a tandoor. But not pineapple on a pizza! 🙈
Kudos to this experimental lot, and may we never share a meal.
The second sort of person is someone who literally worships fruit. There are a lot of people out there who are almost fruitarians for all practical purposes. Probably some of them really miss pizza, and this was their way of adhering to some of their values while sinning a bit on the side. That's cool!
I don't think I'd be friends long enough with this crowd to even come close to dining with them. 😅 Hey, I am neutral to fruit and power to all the certified fruitarians out there! But if fruits are all that you care about, there is a high chance that we won't have much to talk past the first acquaintance. In fact, had my wife's Marwari culinary heritage not overpowered her reverence for fruit, we'd probably never have married. 🤣
The third kind is just despicable. These are the rebels who only want to break tradition by stepping out of line. Has no one ever used fruit in a pizza? Bam! No one's ever mixed the two critical ingredients of a 'pani-puri' and served it as one? Bam! Has no one ever passed off a bread as 'pav' with misal? Bam! I... I... I can't even... Forget it. 😓
Clearly, I have my misgivings with food in Pune. The city's proximity to Mumbai just meant that I'd find all my favourite street-food delicacies in Pune, only to be butchered in front of my eyes in the most creative way imaginable!
Obviously, my wife is the second kind of pineapple-on-pizza lover. 🙄
That is the reason I've honestly tried to like it and appreciate the beauty of it, however deeply hidden. But over these years, I've always come up short. So while my wife has made the ultimate sacrifice of reducing her intake of this devil incarnate, I counter-balance by AT TIMES sharing a vegetarian pizza. That's what makes a marriage, eh?
So, in closing, would I ever be open to a version of this pizza that may taste half as good?
I don't know. Some people say that the pineapple itself has diverse flavour profiles based on its origin. So maybe, the actual Hawaiian pineapple DOES taste good on a piz... no, you know what? I've got my answer.
If you like pineapple on a pizza, we can never be best friends. You could be best friends forever with my wife, which will make us sort of close friends by extension. But no, I ain't touching a slice on earth that'll make me go...uuggghhh...😖😖😖