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May 21, 2007


Tim J.

When my wife was in Wales, she ordered "chips" with a meal and was served a local favorite version that was topped with... mashed green peas, which they call "mushy peas".


My husband's family has always called arugala "rocket". In fact, he was surprised when he found out that they were the same thing. I think in French it is called "rockette" so maybe that is where they get it from.


Maybe their pizza is a bit different, but their gelati is fabulous! Have some for me!


So where's the boot?

BTW, the gyro looks good and it's making me hungry...

John E

That triggers memories from a trip many years ago to Japan. I have to say, though, no one does pizza worse than Japan.

Ed Peters

my kids lay french fried across their hamburgers. got the idea from my brother.



I'll have the pizza with squid and mayonaise. Why not throw on some french fries while we're at it!


The hot dog with fries sandwich is pretty good (with the usual caveat as to the quality of the establishment).

You can get pizza with potato on it (either coins or hash brown strips) just about anywhere, and it's really good. Look for places with the big rectangular sheets that you can specify how much you want cut off.

I ate a lot of pizza in Rome (cheap out on the Janiculum, at least!), but by the end of the trip I was dreaming of Pizza Hut and Papa Murphy's. Heresy? Maybe. But it's so different, it almost registers as two different kinds of food in my mind.

Now what I REALLY miss are the suppli.

Cajun Nick

Now, I've read that they do unusual things with french fries in other countries (like serving them with mayonnaise, for example)

My wife is from Belgium -- and so are "French" fries! The pommes frites (fried potatoes) are MUCH better than anything here in the US. And, yes, the Belgians eat them with mayonnaise.

However, considering that they are credited with inventing the tasty treat, I'd say that the way they eat them is the "usual" way; and, our habit of using ketchup would be un-usual.

The Belgians actually have a great variety of wonderful foods - not just the chocolate and beer that we usually hear about. (By the way, we hear about the chocolate and beer because they are worth mentioning - especially the beer.)

As for pizza, because of a huge migration of Italians to the Belgian coal mines, there are many wonderful Italian restaurants and pizzarias in Belgium, where they continue the tradition of wood-stove pizzas. I'll take a traditional Italian pizza any day over Pizza Hut (or some other American incarnation).


It's "rocket" in Britain - don't know why, but that's probably where they get standard English translations in Europe.

Do try the fresh-made pizza, not just stuff that sits around. It's much tastier, the crust is wonderful. I suggest trying one of the versions with an egg cracked on top that fries into the crust during baking.



I was often told by several Italians as well as many others that the pizza we have in the U.S. was actually invented here in the U.S. and that the pizza in Italy was something completely different.

Ed Peters

Cajun Nick, betcha never had Steak'n'Shake french fries.

Ed Peters

Actually, we have a secret recipe for french, i mean, Italian fries, at home. Can't share the secret ingredients, but Jimmy will tell y'all, they are really great.


I've heard that some parts of the country only have a few kinds of pizza.

Up here, we have a large variety, and specialty shops like Nick n Willies that have all the kinds (except maybe with the freedom fries) that you found in Italy.

Artichoke appears to be a not-uncommon topping, and white sauce (north Italian?) pizzas are not uncommon, usually they are with chicken, garlic, and maybe some bacon.


Chicago Style pizza is the best. Giordano's and Gino's East.

Sorry, Italy, we got you beat. You may have created this delicious treat, but we took it and made it better.


Crap, Jimmy, your pictures are starting to get me REALLY HUNGRY!

Even the weird fries-engulfed hot-dog abomination is starting to look rather tasty!

(I wonder if Weinerschnitzel will be selling a version of these soon?)

Next time, take a picture of the boot instead of these!

Cajun Nick

Ed Peters,

Nope, I haven't had a chance to try Steak'n'Shake's stuff. Unfortunately, we don't have any (that I know of) down here. If I ever get the chance, I'll be sure to stop in and give 'em a try. (Do I get the Ed Peters Discount if I mention you name?)

Our secret ingrediant for our curly-q Cajun Fries is: instead of regular salt, use Jack Miller's Cajun Spice, and lots of it. (I guess you could use Slap-Ya-Momma or Tony Chachere's cajun spices, too).

As for the fries-in-the-burger thing: At my house, we routinely put our potato chips IN the sandwich in addition to on the plate next to it. And, of couse, onion rings always go in-between the bread, don't they?

Vince C

For this Mexican-American, nothing is better than pizza with jalapenos OR chorizo topping (not both, or it would cause a sub-palete three-alarm, even for me). It's the perfect complement to the crust, cheese and tomato sauce. Yum, yum!


John E, I echo your comments about the Japanese offering the worst pizza. While there I saw a wide range of completely unacceptable (IMO) toppings including mussels -- still in their shells!


Roman Sacristan

Italian pizza is much better than American pizza, IMHO.

Potato pizza in Rome is awesome!
Onion pizza in Norcia was also great.


Julia writes:

I ate a lot of pizza in Rome (cheap out on the Janiculum, at least!), but by the end of the trip I was dreaming of Pizza Hut and Papa Murphy's. Heresy? Maybe. But it's so different, it almost registers as two different kinds of food in my mind.

Don't feel odd, Julia--I am the same way! I'm going on my 8th year of living in Europe. I eat the pizza here but still crave Pizza Hut, and would prefer it if I had a choice. In my case, it can't be said that it's a simple matter of not experiencing enough of the local food, being closed-minded, or refusal to adapt--I've had no choice but to eat European since living here. I like some things, and some things America does better. Like you said, the two styles of pizza are almost incomparable.

I don't feel bad about it--nobody should tell anybody what they should like! ;-)

For the record, I do eat very healthfully. But if I had a choice on a pizza night, I'd pick Pizza Hut if I could.

Also--some thin crust pizza here tastes like ketchup on a cracker.

Re: the Japanese pizzas: One surprising thing I found out is, some toppings that immediately strike people as inappropriate for pizza, actually fit quite nicely. I've had tuna fish on pizza here--a good tuna fish is not strong, and on pizza, it's not bad at all. To me, that or bacon would fit at least as well as pepperoni; incidentally, I despise pepperoni and can't imagine how anyone thought pepperoni would be good on pizza. It ruins the tanginess of the sauce--the best part!


You know, after seeing that french fry Gyro, I think Europeans need to quit telling us we have the most unhealthy food. I've never had a Gyro here that wasn't using lettuce or onions or something veggie-like instead. :)


Speaking of Foreigners Around the World, when I ordered a hamburger in Istanbul about 25 years ago, it came with frenchfries on top of the meat.

Reality still manages to exceed our imaginations.


You know, after seeing that french fry Gyro, I think Europeans need to quit telling us we have the most unhealthy food. I've never had a Gyro here that wasn't using lettuce or onions or something veggie-like instead. :)

Actually, after seeing that french fry gyro, it reminded me of something that'd actually come out of the "Roach Coach" -- you know, that notorious lunch truck you'd find on the grounds of your high school way back when that offered the ever popular tantalizingly tasty chili fries -- no doubt due to their "secret sauce", the core ingredient perhaps being dem tasty roaches demselves! mmm-mmm good!


You know, after seeing that french fry Gyro, I think Europeans need to quit telling us we have the most unhealthy food. I've never had a Gyro here that wasn't using lettuce or onions or something veggie-like instead. :)

I see a lot of "unhealthy" foods over here--"unhealthy" according to one standard or another. Consistently eating large portions of it would be a problem. What I think might be the difference is, noticeably smaller portion sizes, and I see side dishes consisting of vegetables or salads, more often than not. I mean, in general. Your fried, breaded schnitzel is likely to come with a side salad and/or something cabbage-based, or a mix of seasonal vegetables. They seem to eat out a little less, eat less in general (or bike and walk more which would off-set extra calories), and home-cooking tends to be pretty balanced for the most part. You see more vegetables, more soups, and more baked and roasted things than fried.

That's how it is for now, but you all probably already know that there's a growing trend for quick food--gyros with fries, and McDonald's, and such.

Ed Peters

Pizza Hut sauce gives me a headache. At least it used to. Haven't had it in 15 or 20 years. The others don't (not that I like them much). I still prefer my wife's pizza to anything else. She even does her own crust.


(Accidently put this in the wrong thread earlier)

Rome mozarella balls are great
wine with lunch

Turkey the Iskendur Kebab
the yogurt on the meat
lokmanjune (phonetic)

small breakfasts
but real nice size lunch with pasta always and wine

forget about your diet
We are Catholics (thus don't believe in reincarnation) and thus you only live once!
related to food (not morality): Carpe Diem

although certainly generally:
Ad Maiorem Dei Gloriam


Regarding french fries in your gyro, Jimmy, I think it's a Mediteranean cultural thing.

Fourteen years ago when I was staying on a kibbutz in Israel wI was caught by surprise when a bunch of us went into town for felafel and shwarma and the guy at the stand asked if wanted chips (meaning fries) and when we said yes, put them in the pita with the other fixings.

I must say I developed a taste for it that I miss.

Mark L.

Made the mistake of ordering "pepperoni" pizza in Innsbruck, Austria. Came with green things that looked like pepproncinis on steroids, not round red slices of spicy meat. Don't know if this was a problem of translation from the Queen's English, just know I don't believe in weeds on pizza!

Ok, if I am going to be naughty and eat fries, I am going to eat them with something other my sandwich so I can taste 'em :) How are the spices out there, Jimmy? Texas worthy?


...Jim sixpenz@gmail.com


I have to say Giordano's is incredible, Bob, but you need to come to Detroit and try Pizza Papalis. I think it may actually be better than Giordano's. Try the spinach and mushroom deep-dish...excuse me, I have to go drool now...

And I tried pizza in Europe - a few different kinds. It was really good, but depending on where I was and what I ordered, quite different than American pizza. I especially recommend a pizza a la Marghereta, or one with the egg cracked on top. Mmm...

Pizza Hut has made its way to Britain, but I don't know about the rest of Europe.

And what's with the mashed peas? I've heard about them before, but they still sound gross to me. (But I'm pretty provincial about my food...)


California Pizza Kitchen

End of Story!

CPK Pizza Menu

Mary Kay

...taking notes on all the pizza places to try....

Phil Maff

I'm from NY, and I can't believe that there are Pizza Huts in the city. Must be for the tourists...

Dr. Eric


I ate there when I was in Rome!


i've seen fields planted in rocket, never in "arugula" I think it's the english word for it, but us americans came late to the green and wanted to sound kinda sophisticated so we call it arugula so nobody will know what rubes we is.

R.V. Miole

Hey, I eat french fries with mayonaise. I recommend the following mix:

1 packet of mayonaise
1 1/2 packets of ketchup
1 packet of lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste


Fun with Eytmology:

In standard language, we have Latin "eruca" (which probably originally referred to a kind of cabbage) > (archaic) Italian "ruca." If you add the diminutive suffix "-ola" to this, you get the modern Italian name for the vegetable, "rucola."

Add a different diminutive suffix, you get the variant Italian "ruchetta," and the French "roquette". The French term became the (British) English "rocket." This is, as mentioned above, where the peculiar (to Americans) translations in most of Europe come from.

In America, however, arugula was not really eaten by anyone until the Italian immigrants started showing up, and the term for the vegetable arrived here with the people who ate it. Since the Italian immigrants to America came substantially from the south of Italy, they had their own dialectic versions of everything, we basically got the South Italian dialect version of the name. In the South, some of the sounds got shifted around in a slightly different way, so instead of "rucola" you end up with "arugula" (we can compare the contemporary Calabrian dialect version "aruculu").

Here endeth the geekiness.

Fast Eddie

Bob Catholic,

LOU MALNATI's is the BEST Pizza in the Chicago and thus the world.

Peqouds is also good.

Connies is good and has different style originally with Provolone and not Mozarella.

Gino's East on Superior used to be real good as did UNOs but the quality went down.
LOU MALNATIS has been consistent.

Chicago Pizza is the best.

PIECE (the symbol) is a good NY/thin crust East Coast Pizza in Chicago.


Pizza in Italy was very good, but Giordano's and Gino's East (many moons ago) still get my vote. (Try getting stuffed pizza in Texas!)

John E., the pizza in Japan is NOWHERE near as appetizing as the pictures you present. (Although I must confess, I have not tried the Shakey's I have passed several times in Tokyo, and I assume that is at least passable.)

Although it's a close call, I believe I would rather discuss theology over a bowl of raw kidney beans with your rad-trad namesake on this website than order another pizza in Japan. (OK, maybe not -- the side effects of bad pizza are only temporary.)


Esquire, the effects of the raw kidney beans would produce the appropriate aura for your discussion...

Dean Whinery

Best pizza I ever had was from a pizza shop in South Munich, Germany. But they didn't have jalapeños, and everyone knows that a day without jalapeños is a day with no sunshine.
My circle of friends uses Tapatío or Valentina on "french" fries, but mixing Tapatío with mayonaise isn't bad, either.

Pizza Hut has made its way to Britain, but I don't know about the rest of Europe.

It's in Germany, and has been for over a decade, but in larger, select cities from what I can tell. Closest one to me is about 2.5 hours away in Hamburg :-(

Seafood pizza is not unique to Japan. There is seafood pizza in Western nations too, including the United States. For example, at Pizza Hut, in Boulder Colorado,


they have the "Seafood Supreme."

Apparently, mussels and clams in the shell is put on some pizzas in Naples, Italy, so it can't be said that that's a Japanese thing.


Clam pizza is also served in the States.


Let's respect other cultures.


Seafood pizza is not unique to Japan. There is seafood pizza in Western nations too, including the United States.

Actually, that was the point of my California Pizza Kitchen post.

If you visit the link, it seems as if they put almost anything as topping for their pizzas.

CPK Pizza with almost anything as Topping

Of course, some cultures are more equal than others, I guess.


When I was in Rome in April, pizza tasted like normal pizza (provided the toppings were normal) except it was doused in olive oil. I came back from Italy loving olive oil.


"Let's respect other cultures"

Yes...but not necessarily their rediculous freedom fry concoctions. These culinary abuses are almost as bad as the current liturgical abuses!!

French Fries on Pizza's!? Inspiring! And I'd bet the the owner of this restaurant is one of those that protests against the vulgarity of the McDonald's menu. Maybe they can have a cholestorol showdown between the two. The Big Mac Happy meal vs. two slices of the French Fry Pizza. My money's on Mickey D's! :-D


When I was in high school (1966-71) we used to buy a side of fries for $0.05 and share amongst 4 friends so we could stuff fries in our baloney sandwiches from home.

So I was not really surprised when we went to Greece and found fries stuffed in a Gyro.

I sometimes eat McDonalds food...

If someone suggest that it is not a very nutritious meal I reply: "I'm not using this for the nutritional value - I'm using it as a laxative!!


You Americans are sooooooo pedestrian!!

Check out Flying Wedge Pizza!!



Flying Wedge looks great.

And I notice a conspicuous absence of the French Fry option. Those who insist that French Fry's are a reasonable topping should just go all the way and try : Pickles, peanutbutter, liverwurst, coffee beans, lemons and live goldfish. Now doesn't that just whet your appetite!?

David B.

Ed Peters,

I love Steak'n'Shake too, man!!!! ( now do I get a canonical dispensation to eat it on Fridays? ;-))

Cajun Nick

David B.,

I hope you do better getting that canonical dispensation than I did trying to get the "Ed Peters" discount from him. :)



I was in Italy last year during lent and one Friday decided to try a pizza ai frutti di mare (seafood pizza) and it had clams and muscles still in their shell too. It was very tastey, though.


Mussels get a green light, their shells are a definite red light for me, if only for convenience's sake. :)


In Florence last summer I ordered the house special pizza, which came with the works, including an egg that had been cracked on top and baked with the pizza! It looked like breakfast had escaped from the next restaurant over, only to die on my dinner. Of course, being a guest in the country, I smiled and ate... not half bad!

Franklin Jennings

Mark L.

In Italian, pepperoni is a sweet pepper and pepperoncini is a hot pepper.

I have a dear friend from near Assisi who was astounded when I insisted a proper pizza must have pepperoni. She actually said, "I'd think you'd be the type to prefer spicy salami or something."

Luckily, we were in Atlanta, so I got spicy salami instead of some bell peppers.

Holy Office of B16

La pizza en Italia normalmente no tiene salsa creo no.

Algien acaso habla español en este blog?


Neither of them are much like Australian Pizza!

I recall ordering pepperoni pizza in LA and getting a pizza base with 4 slices of pepperoni on it. Who stole the rest?

In Pittsburgh my friends ordered pizzas that were just bases with tomato sauce! And they actually paid $5 USD each for that!

In Melbourne you have to hold a pizza carefully level, or the toppings or ham, bacon, peppers, pepperoni, cheese, pinapple, anchovies, olives and mushrooms tumble off. Now THAT is a meal.


Pepperoni sausage is an American invention. "Pepperoni" in Italian will garner your pizza pepperoncini peppers.

If you want a peppery sausage, there are many kinds of salsicce picante, but they are not made the same way as American pepperoni.

And rocket was the proper American word for arugula for many decades, as in Britain. It's only the past generation that American foodies adopted the Italian word instead.


That is most certainly not an Italian pizzaria. No Italian in his right mind would EVER consider putting french fries on a pie. That has to be one of the gypsy or international stands.


R.V. Miole and Peter, thanks for the etymology of arugula, rucola, rocket. Of course we knew all that but none of us wanted to be the first to show off our learning. (Well, maybe not.) Anyway, arugula is easy to grow, which I do every year in containers on my deck. You can plant several crops a season. I eat it on pizza all summer since I was introduced to it a few years back in Bella Italia


If you want pepperoni in a German-speaking country, ask for "Salame" (zah-LAHM-eh). That's what half-German hubby who lives with me here in Germany says. Whether that's exactly the kind of pepperoni you're used to, I don't know, as I don't eat pepperoni, but here are Google images of pizza with "Salame".


Peter, you're lucky to get that if you order pizza in L.A. and not something with tofu and bean sprouts. :)

Seriously, remember L.A. is not indicitive of what MOST of this country is like. Thank God.


Lurker Liz,
I just saw your post about the egg on the pizza. That's commom on Pizza alla Capriciosa, which sort of means "with the works", and very often has an egg. The very high heat of the Italian ovens cooks it just fine. I tried it here. Doesn't work. Egg stays runny.


Ironically, I (along with many others) thought that putting French fries on pizza was a typical American bastardization that eventually found its way on this side of the pond. I don't dislike it, I just think it doesn't add anything as a topping - pizza is already "bready" enough on its own.

My personal favourites are "white" (no tomatoes) pizzas topped with mountain mushrooms and cheese (usually taleggio). But to a foreigner, my top recommendations - pun not intended - would be:

- Traditional pizza, but ask for "mozzarella di bufala" (buffalo mozzarella) and for "pomodorini" (small tomatoes). Much more tasty.
- Pizza with "sfilacci di cavallo" (thin stripes of horse meat). Warning: may be harder to find.
- "Mare e monti" (seas and mountains): shrimps, or other seafood, along with porcini and sometimes sausage.

By the way, a pepperoni pizza in the American meaning would be called "Diavola" (Devil's pizza).


I have heard that the reason pizza in america tastes better than Pizza in Italy is because we use imported cheese, and they use domestic cheese.


Was in Italy last week and tried pizza at 3 different restaurants, they were all bad.
When I say bad I mean they were definately NOT to our tastes. Thin crust like a tortilla, hard and burnt at the edges and soggy in the middle, had to eat it with a knife and fork. Everyone else seemed to be enjoying it so I guess I only want what I grew up eating. Thick crust, lots of tomato sauce and mozza and sausage. Hate Pizza Hut and chains, prefer to make my own.

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