Friday, April 15, 2016


This is not a review of Little Ceasar's, whose trademarked slogan is 'Pizza Pizza'.  This is a post about the popularity of brick ovens and the misconception that brick ovens, especially wood-fired brick ovens, are intended primarily for PIZZA.

Americans have a way of appropriating bits of foreign culture.  The term 'Melting Pot' is a food metaphor and is just as apt when used for food.  We melt something from another culture until is molded into an American thing.  This is not necessarily negative and has its causes.

Because we are a country of highly diverse people, a purely ethnic dish might not gain national popularity if kept pure.  The twelve inch spare and delicious pizza found in Orvieto or Napoli Italy needed to be brought up to American standards of heft.  Thus we make pizzas that are 16" in diameter and load them with a ton of toppings.  It's lasagna on crust!  And less sloppy.

So when it comes to the popularity of brick ovens, we infer Pizza.  But wait.  Truly, you will tire of  pizza, even the much-improved kind you can make in your own brick oven.  Then it's time to turn to other dishes.

My favorite book on cooking Italian in a wood-fired oven is

The Art of Wood-Fired Cooking: Andrea Mugnaini 

If you wonder what these ovens can do, this is the book.  Mugnaini brought wood-fired oven cooking to America in 1989, and although her line of ovens are cast refractory, they are high quality AND she doesn't claim that they are brick ovens, but wood-fired.  

The ancient lines between Greece and Italy are blurry and pizza is evidence that food has a long history of being hijacked.  The word pizza, comes from the Greek word pita. 

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