Have you ever gotten in a fight over food? I’m not talking about complaining that your spouse made meatloaf three times this week, or having to return your fast food burger because apparently “no onions” is kitchen lingo for “ALL OF THE GODDAMN ONIONS”. No, I’m talking about getting into a straight-up debate over the proper way to make a certain food, with one or more of the parties getting genuinely upset in the process.
I recently got into just such a debate with a coworker over the proper way to make donair meat. I said it was made with one kind of meat, he said another. We both had dramatically different methods for actually cooking the meat. And then when we got to discussing the sauce? Let’s just say that things were starting to heat up to dangerous levels.
In the end it turned out that neither of us were actually right (there’s an Alberta method and a Cape Breton method and neither matches the actual origin of the food) but it got me thinking about culinary differences in various areas of the world, particularly areas that are actually very close together.
For example, in Cape Breton we have what we call a “combination” pizza. This includes regular pizza sauce, pepperoni and cheese, onions, mushrooms, and green peppers. If you go to any pizza place on the island (and some of the ones on mainland Nova Scotia) and ask for a combination pizza, this is what you’ll get. But drive a few hours away and ask for one and no one will know what you’re talking about. To get something similar (but generally with at least one ingredient either added or taken away) you have to ask for “the works”. Every so often you’ll find a place with “combination” on their menu, but their version is a conglomeration of every topping they have, as in “a combination of everything“. Similarly, you can get donairs all across Canada, but very few places outside of the Maritime provinces seem to make donair pizza (which is just pizza crust with donair toppings on it).
It has also always amused me how there are certain things (that don’t seem particularly odd or special) that we have at home but just don’t seem to exist in other parts of the world. For instance, in Nova Scotia we have juice bags (literally just juice boxes but in a plastic bag instead of a box) and I have it on good authority that most of the continent has never heard of these. I’ve also been told by friends from the US that they’d never heard of pizza burgers (pizza toppings on a burger bun) or garlic fingers (garlic butter and cheese on a pizza crust and cut into strips). Come to think of it, a lot of these discrepancies seem to be pizza-related. Hmm…
I guess it just amuses me that things can change so much in such a short distance traveled, and that such innocuous items that are super-common in one area can cease to exist so nearby.
Long story short: I love food, and I think that my food is better than your food. 😛
What do you think? Have you ever gotten into a fight over differences in food preparation? Are there certain foods in your area that you know don’t exist elsewhere? What’s your favorite kind of pizza (because I just want to know)? Please share!