The Pineapple Principle

Does pineapple belong on pizza? Iceland’s president, Gudni Thorlacious Johnneson hates the topping so much he wishes it outlawed. Thanks to the Internet, and all of our social media feeds, the comment went viral, tweets abounded, and memes were made.

Obviously intended as a joke, news outlets quickly grabbed the catchy headline and the Internet went wild in protests both for and against the topping. A staple of many students’ diets, pizza is the cheap and quick meal we have while we study for exams or work on that paper last minute, and I thought it worth looking into the debate.

I was surprised to learn that the Hawaiian pizza, despite its name, originated in Canada in 1962. Sam Panopoulos of London, ON conceived and created the idea according to a 2015 Atlas Obscura article. More surprising to me is the heated and decisive debate that surrounds the Hawaiian toppings. Full disclosure, I love Hawaiian pizza. More specifically, I love pineapple on pizza, and have been known to add pineapple to homemade pizza even without the excuse of ham. I have one friend (that I know of) who sits on the “hates” side of the pineapple debate. I don’t know if this is reflective of our Canadian tastes (and values) or perhaps I have subconsciously un-friended those who dislike pineapple on their pizza, either way, I am quite surprised at the vehemence people have expressed over this seemingly benign discussion.

Ham and pineapple are complementary (as evidenced by the annual Easter ham), but adding it to a crust elicits heated opinions. What are the concerns with the topping? A quick Internet search brings up articles on Buzzfeed, Quora, Tumblr, and Huffington Post (to name a few). It has to do both with the moisture resulting in a soggy crust and the taste pairings between the sweet fruit and the mild mozzarella. I will cede that sogginess can be an issue, but any quality pizza maker will tell you It’s necessary to squeeze and drain the liquid off the fruit (whether It’s freshly cut or canned). As to the flavour pairings, I am flabbergasted, since, as noted, I’m a fan of the taste and always enjoy a sweet-and-salty combo. Writing this article has me now wondering whether the naysayers hate all fruit on pizza and, if That’s the case, how does tomato and tomato sauce stand up to this line of thinking? Additionally, if people dislike the cheese and fruit combo, why are cheese boards (including heated cheeses such as Brie) so common?

Steve Green, publisher of pizza industry magazine PMQ, released a statement arguing in favour of the topping: “Being against pineapple pizza is like being against Santa Clause. There’s really nothing that won’t work on a pizza.” Not to be overshadowed, the haters have their (very loud) opinion shared by none other than Gordon Ramsey with his explicit belief that “You don’t put fucking pineapple on pizza.”

Luckily, the pineapple appears to have enough support that it won’t be disappearing off the menu anytime soon. I believe It’s time to place a pick-up order now. What toppings will you be having this evening?

Tara Howse is in the BPA – Criminal Justice degree program with AU. With aspirations to continue her education, she is looking into AU’s Master of Arts – Integrated Studies degree.