People who travel to Italy rave about the food. What usually differentiates good Italian food from American chain restaurant food is the quality of the ingredients. American restaurants focus on large portions and low prices. As a result they pile on the salt to mass produce industrialized food. When I returned to Italy in 2011, my first home cooked meal consisted of pasta with a simple tomato sauce. It was simple and unbelievably delicious. The sauce had more flavor than anything out of can or jar.
One night we had take out pizza. The first time I’d had take out in Italy. each pizza was about 10 inches in diameter, cut into four slices with a different topping on each slice. It was very good. My cousin told me another restaurant had better pizza but it was closed so they had to settle for second best. Again, the pizzas were simple and made with high quality ingredients.
Several years ago, a national American pizza chain introduced their natural pizzas proclaiming they finally had a natural pizza that tastes delicious. It made me wonder what was unnatural with their other pizzas. The natural pizzas had a multigrain crust, “all-natural mozzarella cheese” and “all-natural sauce made from vine ripened tomatoes.” An advertisement featured two of their natural pizzas along with fresh basil, chucks of what appeared to be parmesan cheese and pepperoni. None of the take-out pizzas I had in Italy had pepperoni. Pepperoni is an American thing.
Apparently, their natural pizzas didn’t catch on, at least not in Arizona. American mass produced pizza affection adios just weren’t ready for Roma tomatoes, roasted bell peppers and all-natural sausage.
Pizza can be a healthy food when made with healthy ingredients. But that isn’t what many Americans eat. one-eight of a 12-inch pizza can have over 300 calories and up to 1,000 mg of sodium. By comparison, 1/4th of a homemade thin crust 12-inch pizza with 4-oz. of mozzarella cheese, sliced tomatoes and grilled chicken has about 300 calories and 600 mg of sodium. Add a large salad and glass of wine for a complete lunch or dinner.
Another option is making personal piazzas allowing each member of your family to create their own.