A world leader's divisive statement during a Q&A and subsequent social media post has created an international incident that's been tearing people apart ever since.
No, not Trump. (Though admittedly I haven't checked his Twitter feed for a few minutes.)
Earlier this week, Iceland's President Guðni Th. Jóhannesson told a group of high school students that he was "fundamentally opposed" to pineapple on pizza and would "pass a ban on pineapple as a pizza topping if he had the power to pass laws on his own."
He then clarified his anti-pineapple position in a Facebook statement:
Well, President Not-Björk, I would not want to live in a country where the elected leader prefers seafood over pineapple on pizza.
Hate pineapple on pizza? Associate editor Emma Prestwich reveals why it's a disgusting invention that ruins everything.
Do you mean fermented skate, a traditional Icelandic "delicacy" that Iceland magazine describes as an "ammonia-smelling dish" that tastes like "eating rotten fish?"
Oh, and his whole "I like pineapples, just not on pizza" sounds a little too much like the old "I'm not racist but..." line.
I'm not totally opposed to leaders expressing distaste, by the way. This was fine, for instance, aside from the Garfunkel spelling error.
Speaking of Canada, Iceland's attack on pineapple pizza is also an attack on the true north strong and free, considering we invented Hawaiian pizza. And by we, I mean Sam Panopoulos, an 83-year-old who created the perfect pizza combination of ham and pineapple way back when he owned a restaurant in Chatham, Ont.
"That was back in the late '50s, the '60s," Panopoulos related to CBC's As It Happens in response to the culinary controversy. "Pizza wasn't in Canada -- nowhere. Pizza was coming in through Detroit, through Windsor, and I was in Chatham then, that was the third stop. We had a restaurant there. We went down to Windsor a couple of times, and these places, and I said, 'Let's try a pizza.'"
"He should know better."
-- Hawaiian pizza inventor Sam Panopoulos to Iceland's president
"Then we tried to make some pizza. Along the way, we threw some pineapples on it and nobody liked it at first. But after that, they went crazy about it. Because those days nobody was mixing sweets and sours and all that. It was plain, plain food. Anyway, after that it stays."
Panopoulos' final word on the topic was a simple message for Iceland's leader: "He should know better."
Agreed, but let's move beyond whether or not we should take the word of the president of a green country called Iceland beside an icy country called Greenland.
The reason why people went crazy for Panopoulos' pineapple-covered pizza, and the reason why his creation has stuck around, is because it's simply the best pizza there is.
Hawaiian represents the apex of pizza flavour profiles. It contrasts the savoury taste of ham and/or Canadian bacon with the sweetness of pineapple against the richness of the cheese and acidity from the tomato sauce.
Speaking of tomatoes, they are fruit -- so all you anti-pineapple proponents can put that specious argument back in your pizza pocket.
Now, the beauty of Hawaiian pizza is that it provides all those flavours with a mere two toppings, which is how many most pizza joints give you for free. Unlike, say, a Mediterranean pizza or Meat-Lovers, it's also an economical option.
It's the grand slam of pizzas.
(That said, pineapple need not be limited to living only alongside ham. I grew up on the west coast where Hawaiian, not pepperoni, was the default and so we often added green peppers, mushrooms and black olives if we were being fancy.)
It's the grand slam of pizzas, but don't take our word for it.
Toronto Blue Jays legend Jose Bautista proudly proclaims Hawaiian to be his preferred pizza and, to paraphrase the below tweet, he thinks you are gross if you think otherwise.
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