Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Henry Rollins on the War on Pizza!

Henry Rollins defends pizza lovers of the USA. The legendary punk and front man of Black Flag weighs in on pizza, politics, war, Democrats, Republicans and Tea Partiers and more in this interview.  Particularly interesting is his view on the troubles of pizza lovers in this country.

 "War or pizza? Hmmmm, I think most people are going for pizza. But somehow that is politicized into 'If you like pizza you're weak on defense. If you like pizza you love the Taliban and are a Communist' and that's where it ends."

These outlandish and unfounded allegations will NOT be tolerated by the pizza-loving patriots of this country! Thank you Mr. Rollins for pointing out that pizza is a much more appetizing option than war, bullshit and sickening health-care system.

Props to my friend Will for the heads up on this one.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Cheese scandal rocks USDA

Image: Tom Mason
What a silly headline, but it is true. The New York Times' Michael Moss recently exposed some rather backwards happenings in the US Department of Agriculture. An entity called Dairy Management Inc. has been created as a marketing program within the USDA with the goal to promote and sell cheese products. Lots of people like extra cheese, so what's the problem? 

Well the problem is that cheese is often high in saturated fat and calories which can contribute to heart disease and obesity, and these promotions are happening along side the First Lady and the USDA's federal campaign to reduce obesity and promote healthy eating. In addition to this federal funding is being spent on these multi-million dollar corporations for product development and for ad campaigns. In the USDA's Path to Personal Health brochure they even specifically suggest ordering pizza with half the cheese. 

Image: Nutri-Shun Corp Comics
Dairy Management has been in cahoots with both Pizza Hut and Domino's (and Taco Bell, and Wendy's )  to sell products with more cheese. According to Moss' research, Dairy Marketing recently partnered with Domino's Pizza to create new pies with up to 40% more cheese. This line of extra cheesy pies was promoted with a $12M marketing campaing that Dairy Managment (a part of the USDA) paid for. The new pies, (which include menu items from the American Legends(r) and Feasts(r) series such as the Wisconsin Six Cheese, Philly Cheese Steak, Bacon Cheeseburger Feast, and ExtravaganZZa Feast) and the promotion of Domino's "new and improved" recipe have sky rocketed sales... for Domino's... a corporation... that doesn't share profit with the USDA...

In a 1999 memo to Gita Gale, Manager of Cheese Marketing for  Dairy Marketing Inc, Derek Correia,(former Director of Product Innovation, Pizza Hut) and Lisken Lawler (Director of Concept Development, Pizza Hut),  wrote how excited they were about Gale's presentation and  wrote ‘Let’s sell more pizza and more cheese!’ They also signed  the memo as Lord and Lady of Cheese rather than include their actual job titles. Cute. These meetings resulted in Pizza Hut's Cheesy Bites Crust Pizza and 2002's six-week "Summer of Cheese" campaign, which resulted in the use of 102 million additional pounds of cheese, by Pizza Hut.

This extra cheese phenomenon might seem like a delicious idea but it can actually be very unhealthy. Chemical analysis of a medium Wisconsin Six Cheese pizza from Domino's reveled some hard truths about extra cheese.  One slice contains 12g of saturated fat which is more that three quarters of the recommended daily amount. and 430 calories People are average are eating more cheese.
 Moss wrote "Americans now eat an average of 33 pounds of cheese a year, nearly triple the 1970 rate. Cheese has become the largest source of saturated fat; an ounce of many cheeses contains as much saturated fat as a glass of whole milk."
Mozzarella Consumption
Cheese Consumption

Despite criticism from nutritional experts this extra cheese push doesn't show signs of slowing. Dairy Management  Inc. has an annual budget of nearly $140M from fees the government collects from the dairy industry. DMI receives an additional several million dollars from the USDA. They are standing by their extra cheese pizzas by claiming it supports rural framing/dairy communities and that cheese is an important source of calcium.

It is important to mention that the pizzas discussed in this article/cheese scandal are specialty pizzas that have up to 40% more cheese than usual. Right now for a large (14") pizza Domino's uses 7 oz of cheese and Pizza Hut and Little Caesars both use 8oz.

Read more about this cheesy scandal.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Monday, November 1, 2010


My good friend Earl Yevak is stationed in Iraq right now but he recently went on vacation in Italy and had some pizza at a place in Palermo called SciuScià. That means "shoeshine" in Italiano! I know Earl loves pizza and I'm looking forward to his posts.

Hello. Or maybe I should say "Ciao!?" Either way, greetings greetings. Lauren V. is one of my great friends, who I love dearly. 

Recently I had the wonderful opportunity to visit a few European Countries, and eat a lot of really great food. Since I was traveling on a budget my diet consisted mainly of pizza!! I was emailing back and forth with Lauren about some of the better places to visit while I was there, and also the better spots to eat. Although I wasn't able to make it to Naples, the birth place of pizza (*Lauren and I had a conversation earlier today about how there actually is a big debate that pizza originated in the middle east somewhere, but we won't get into that now), I was able to eat at a lot of really good tasting spots in some of the cities I visited. One of the better pizzerias I found was down in Palermo, a place called SciuScià.

The wait was about an hour, but well worth it. I was starving when I sat down, but they quickly brought an assortment of hush-puppies and french fries. My server, who was also the owner, was very sociable. I had already decided to try the spinach and Gorgonzola from reading through the menu while I was waiting. It came out in maybe 10-12 minutes, which was surprisingly fast, since the restaurant was packed as full as it could get. 

Something I failed to realize, due to my poor Italian, was that I had ordered a white pizza, instead of a red pizza. Now, I'm a pizza fan, probably in almost all of it's forms, but I do prefer red pizzas, so I was a little disappointed. However, it was delicious! I couldn't complain. 

As I mentioned before, I wasn't able to visit Naples, but from how I've heard the pizzas described from Naples, this is probably the closest to the real thing I've had (I guess literally and figuratively). About halfway through I got pretty full, and just relaxed and watched the crowds of families and friends laughing and carrying on. The atmosphere was very good. It wasn't too loud or quiet.

On the way out I noticed a room that was decorated with some information from trips the owner has taken to Africa. From what I understood, a portion of the restaurants profit goes to helping fund a few charities in various countries in Africa. Sooo... I would recommend eating here if you happen to be down in Sicily anytime soon. Get great food, and bless someone else's life also!

Oh I almost forgot, Sciuscià is located Via Dante, 212 90141 Palermo, Italy. Check it out!

- Earl Yevak

Pizza Samurai

My friend Will and I entered a Little Caesars Halloween Costume Contest. Read more about it on Slice.
This is our entry: