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Canada Owes The World An Apology For Putting Pineapple On Pizza

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Likely a Canadian invention, Hawaiian pizza may be the third least-offensive variety to serve to children, behind plain cheese and pepperoni. But I always hated it, picking the sticky chunks of pineapple off of my ham to force on a friend of mine.

Iceland President Guðni Th. Jóhannesson sparked a worldwide debate on the topping recently when he declared that he would ban pineapple on pizza if he could. In a Facebook statement Tuesday, he clarified by saying that while he likes the fruit, it has no place on his pizza pie. I have no Icelandic heritage, but I felt a surge of national pride. I also don't mind it on a platter alongside apples and strawberries, but it should stay far away from pizza.

gnudi pizza
Guðni Jóhannesson is a man of sound judgment. (Photo: Reuters/Shutterstock)

Why, you ask? There are far worse sins, you might say, like olives or Dchaiya cheese. But those toppings are more divisive. I hate Hawaiian pizza precisely because I'm expected to love it. But there are other reasons.

What, you love pineapple on pizza? Senior editor Joshua Ostroff writes how it's pretty much the most Canadian thing ever.

1. It is the worst example of mixing sweet and savoury flavours.

There are many combinations that work -- red pepper jelly and creamy brie, dark chocolate and chili pepper, maple syrup and soy sauce. But pizza isn't just a bland fat on top of some bread. The tomato sauce is mildly acidic, mixed with some oregano, salt and maybe even garlic. These notes are way too complex for the cloying, jaw-stinging sweetness of pineapple. It's like being smacked over the head when you expected a handshake.

2. It's too bright.

Pizza maintains some pretense of elegance because of its appearance. You see variations on off-white, green, red, burnt orange, brown and even pink, but throwing pineapple on there makes it look like the Wheel of Fortune. Pineapple seriously clashes with the colour palette.

hawaiian pizza
While sometimes pineapple seeps into the pizza even though it's not wanted, these chunks know their place, hovering above the rest of the pizza like they might fall off at any moment. (Photo: Gettystock)

3. Similar to my other point, it just looks wrong.

Restaurateurs have seriously deviated from traditional pizza over the years, replacing tomato sauces with white ones and topping their pies with poutine, pierogi and even butter chicken. But these non-traditional variations still look and taste like a dish. If you'd never had pizza before, you might not even bat an eye. But to throw this fruit on your pie seems absurd to even the least experienced pizza eater, making them think that you had nothing else left in your kitchen.

You might single out Mr. Guðni Jóhannesson as a man from a country not exactly known for pizza. But that's why he's a better judge of Hawaiian's worth -- he hasn't been brainwashed like most North Americans.

4. The pizza is a stupid attempt to make children think they're eating something exotic.

In reality, it was probably just the creation of a guy called Sam Panopoulos who owned a restaurant in Chatham, Ont. Also, Hawaiians don't really eat it. This is misleading children. Can't we call it something else?

Let's stop ruining pizza, probably most people's favourite fast food, with something sickly sweet from a can.

5. It can make your pizza soggy.

Now, this is where the most defensive Hawaiian pizza lovers rush in. "Not if it's grilled properly!" they say. Let's be real here. A lot of classy restaurants known for their pizzas don't offer it. Hawaiian is reserved for $2-a-slice takeout joints, for mass elementary school lunches and diners, all of which are just fine places to eat pizza.

But the lower the quality, the less likely that your chef will pay attention to the moisture that seeps from your pineapple into the rest of your pie and even less likely that they actually cut up a gigantic, unwieldy fruit and blotted it with paper towels. IT CAME FROM A CAN, PEOPLE.

hawaiian pizza
Most Hawaiian pizzas do not look like this. (Photo: Gettystock)

Usually you're just stuffing the slices in your face, right? Who cares? Those of us who have to pick the offending chunks off our dinner because everyone else at the party wanted Hawaiian, that's who.

6. It gives all other fruit on pizza a bad name.

Tomatoes figure prominently on most pies. Some restaurants already experiment with pear, brie and walnuts, which is a much better flavour combination, precisely because there's no tomato sauce. Also, why have we decided that pineapple gets a top spot? Bananas, mangoes and oranges are all nos, but apples and thinly sliced strawberries would be far less offensive.



7. It can clump around your cheese and make it fall off the dough in a giant sheet.

This happens a lot with other toppings, especially sausage and red peppers. But eating a large piece of oily mozzarella studded with pieces of pineapple is gross.

8. People tell me I have to like Hawaiian pizza because it's Canadian.

That is a stupid thing to say. We invented other gross foods, like the mushy McIntosh apple and instant mashed potatoes. Also, it isn't exactly local. We can source most basic pizza ingredients from Canada except for pineapple.

Let's stop ruining pizza, probably most people's favourite fast food, with something sickly sweet from a can.

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