Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Food Week: Chicago Deep-Dish Pizza.

During local food week, I cannot avoid Chicago cuisine. Chicago is known for two foods: Steak and pizza. I cannot speak for the steak. Chicago pizza, however, I know very well.

Apparently, there are two kinds of Chicago pizza: The huge, party-size kind that is usually cut into squares, and the deep dish kind. Although huge pizza is convenient, I doubt anybody really wants to take credit for it's invention; it's not that impressive, taste-wise. Nonetheless, it is worth mentioning that there are apparently two (maybe even three?)  kinds of Chi-town pizza. Somehow. Usually, however, the term "Chicago pizza" is referring to deep dish.

Deep dish is impressive. Even though it's certainly not wider that the average pizza, it's thick. The fist thing one sees is a layer of tomato sauce laid in a cornbread crust an inch or three deep. It's almost like a reverse pizza in that the tomato sauce is on the ingredients. Beneath that layer of tomato sauce could be anything - meat, veggies, or just plain cheese.

Nobody really knows who 'invented' deep dish. Uno's was probably the first to patent it in 1956, although even there, exactly who at Uno's created it is up for debate. Since then, every pizza place in the area has been copying the idea of a pre-baked crust stacked with truckloads of toppings. Gino's East, my personal favorite, claims to be the 'original' like everybody else. It doesn't really matter who invented it except as a claim to fame; as long as you can handle inches of toppings on your pizza, you'll love deep dish.

Even if the veggies sound wholesome, if you're on a diet, avoid deep dish. It has a million calories. Those inches of cornbread crust might contain nothing but cheese.  You will be stuffed after eating it. Do not attempt alone, but try it at least once if you happen to be in Chicago. 

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