Recently I found myself in a situation which has sparked a bit of discussion amongst my students. Normally, as an ESL teacher, I would welcome any topic that provokes a lot of discussion–as long as it isn’t full of hate or intolerance (which does rear its ugly head from time to time). My problem is not the discussion, but the fact that I am in a bit of a quandary.
You see at the end of one of my classes last week, the students had been talking about food. One student said she wanted to eat pizza. Since pizza loves me, my ears perked up. However, with one genuine Italian student in the class, a short debate about pizza ensued.
Since pizza was invented in Italy, we all listened to this person rail against Canadian pizza. I wanted to debate the merits of Canadian pizza, but she was holding the trump card and I was exhausted from teaching.. She prodded us to go to an authentic Italian pizzeria. After a little Googling, we found one and went there.
The results are in this picture. We each ordered a different pizza and decided to share one slice each. From a purely mathematical and experiential point of view, this was sage advice.
The student who originally brought up the whole pizza idea actually only wanted to grab a quick slice on the way home. Instead, she ended up at a downtown restaurant with an Italian, a Turk and a Canadian who opted for beer because Cherry Coke is not widely available at dining establishments. And she was rather saddened to find that this traditional pizza place did not have either chicken or pineapple pizza.
Once back at class and armed with the knowledge gained from the experience, a debate over what should be on pizza began in earnest. As the teacher, I took a backseat to monitor the debate and plumb it for useful things to study later (Go Dogme)
What I found out was the following
- Dessert pizza exists in Brazil which includes toppings of chocolate and fruit
- Koreans prefer a deep dish pizza with a lot (and I mean a lot) of toppings
- Japanese pizza is rather expensive
- Very few of my students like the pizza in Toronto–though they haven’t tried too many different places
- Corn on pizza seems to be acceptable to everyone but me
- Every country has a preferred drink to go with their pizza
- Pizza is not the only delivery food in other countries; McDonalds also delivers in quite a few Asian countries.
- For the Swiss Pepperoni actually means peppers
Feel free to and anything you know about pizza around the world
On one hand, I want to side with traditionalists, but on the other hand, there is nothing wrong with being a food visionary. We should take risks. We should try new flavours and adaptations. We don’t the thing to go stale.
While the Italian student was getting ramped up to heap scorn on any pizza but Italian (and her whole body was shaking), I defended my position by saying that pizza might have been invented in Italy, but the rest of us have evolved it into something else. She was not amused.