Tag Archives: Pizza

How Pizza Became a Vegetable

-Neethu Ramchandar

Put away your baby carrots and V8 Juice friends because now, according to Congress, pizza is a vegetable.

This decision came to be through a recent school lunch’s bill. Initially, the bill proposed changes that would help to reduce childhood obesity. The New York Times explains that the proposed bill in January asked to add more vegetables and fruits to school lunches. In addition it would have cut down the use of potatoes, sodium, and would have only allowed schools to count pizza as a daily serving of vegetables only if one slice contained more than a quarter cup of  tomatoes sauce. The bill would have increased spending  by $6.8 billion to the existing $11 billion program.

However on Monday, Congress fell for the lobbying of special interest groups and decided to not support the bill.

Now, school lunches do not need to increase their mandatory amounts of vegetables and fruits, and pizza can be classified as a vegetable. Food companies including ConAgra, Coca-Cola, and Del Monte Foods celebrated this victory as they had continually argued that such proposed laws would only be raising costs for food that students would simply throw away. It wasn’t important to them that this bill could reduce childhood obesity because it would be bad for business.

In their statement, the Agricultural Department responded to the bill’s outcome by expressing their disappointment.

“While it is unfortunate that some in Congress chose to bow to special interests, U.S.D.A. remains committed to practical, science-based standards for school meals that improve the health of our children,” said the department in their statement.

The Daily Mail Online explains that this move was purely a cost cutting method to enable the US government to spend less on fresh food ( including vegetables) for school lunches.

“The final version of a spending bill released late Monday [will] unravel school lunch standards the Agriculture Department proposed earlier this year which limits the use of potatoes and delays limits on sodium and a requirement to boost whole grains. The bill also would allow tomato paste on pizzas to be counted as a vegetable” reports the Daily Mail.

This bill will negate the work that the Obama administration has done to promote healthy eating. Even First Lady Michelle Obama has made healthy eating an issue of concern. However, this simple “money saving” technique undermines her work to stop childhood obesity.

Photo taken from dailymail.co.uk

Eating in Edinburgh

– Truman Capps

Between the round trip train tickets and three nights in a hostel, my trip to Edinburgh cost me roughly 130 pounds, which comes out to nearly $200. I consider myself to be a slightly cultured person, but the simple fact is that no art museum or guided history tour alone will encourage me to drop $200 on a weekend trip.

An international reputation for deep fried food, on the other hand, is exactly what it takes.

You name it, Scotland deep fries it – hot dogs, rotisserie chickens, ribs, pineapple rings, eggs, McNuggets, doner kebabs…

The only limitation here is that whatever you want to deep fry has to be solid enough to be coated in batter and dropped in the fryer, hence why the Scots have yet to develop deep fried whiskey.

This penchant for deep frying anything edible has made Scotland late night talk show joke fodder in recent years, which I think is wholly unfair. Firstly, up until this deep frying craze began, Scotland’s best known food was haggis, which is made of sheep’s lungs, heart, and liver minced with onion and oatmeal, heavily seasoned, and then simmered inside the sheep’s stomach.

When your jumping off point is inedible bits of animal jammed inside another inedible bit of animal, anything is an improvement.

Incidentally, they deep fry haggis, too.

So, without any further ado, please enjoy my reviews of the three deep fried foods I consumed during my time in Edinburgh. Kids, don’t try this at home.

Deep Fried Cheeseburger

I am a tried and true burger lover. I’d say that it’s probably one of my favorite foods – juvenile a choice as it may be, there’s nothing quite like a big, high quality cheeseburger when you’ve had a long day and all you want is to clog your arteries in the most efficient way possible.

So when I saw the deep fried cheeseburger on the menu at Café Piccante, a chip shop near my hostel, I knew I had to go for it.

Deep frying is a tricky proposition – you’ve got to drop the whole business into a vat of boiling oil, which makes frying small things (M&Ms) or multi-layered things (burgers with their buns) difficult, as it’s very easy for everything to come apart and sink to the bottom of the fryer. That’s why I was interested to see how they handled a deep fried cheeseburger – a layer of cheese on top of the patty would all too quickly separate and disappear into the fat. It’s for this same reason that you can’t deep fry a pizza with any toppings that are liable to come off when submerged.

As it turned out, the Swiss cheese was inside the patty, an ingenious and effective delivery method that I would’ve taken a photograph of had it not been so delicious that I devoured the whole burger before I could think. The act of forming the raw patty around the cheese and then cooking it put me in mind of the South Minneapolis ‘Jucy Lucy’ burger.

Jucy Lucy

Deep Fried Pizza

When I mentioned it a second ago, maybe you said, “What? Deep fried pizza!? He’s joking, right?”

No, I wasn’t.

The deep fried pizza was something I’d been itching to try ever since seeing it on a Food Network special about deep fried foods, and my trip to Castle Rock Chip Shop in the Grass Market was the culmination of many months’ planning and fantasizing.

The closer I got, though, the more apprehensive I felt – was I actually going to go through with this?

I already felt bad enough for my body after the previous day’s deep fried cheeseburger – a battered and fried pizza would surely be adding insult to injury. I paced outside the chip shop for a minute before forcing myself to go inside, having already come this far.

“I-I’d like a d-deep fried pizza, please,” I murmured to the woman behind the counter as though I were asking for a volume of deep fried hardcore pornography.

She cheerily went to work, pulling a cheap frozen pizza out of the freezer and covering it in batter before dropping it into the fryer. Just like top quality steak never goes into a steak sandwich, you’re going to have to look far and wide to find a brick oven deep fried pizza.

To my knowledge, virtually every chip shop in Scotland buys the bottom rung school cafeteria-style cheese pizzas to throw into the fryer. Buy a pizza at WinCo and you’ll know what I mean.

Thing is, you’re not paying for the pizza – you’re paying for the fact that it’s deep fried, and I can tell you that when you’re experiencing the novelty of eating something cheesy and tomatoey that’s also been beer battered, you really don’t care that much. The deep frying process covers for a lot of ills.

The experience was not that enjoyable for me, however. They dropped the whole deep fried pizza into a box and shoveled in a liberal amount of fries along with it, and then sent me on my way. Yes, as this was a take-away establishment, I was going to have to find a park bench and eat this embarrassingly unhealthy meal in public, bearing my shame for all to see.

It was good enough, I suppose, but I felt so bad – psychologically, I mean – about what I was eating that I only finished about three quarters of it and maybe half of the fries before dumping the remains in a garbage can and fleeing the scene, promising that my next meal would involve bean sprouts in some way.

(Also, I washed this meal down with a can of Irn-Bru soda, the Scottish soft drink so popular that in Scotland it outsells Coke and Pepsi combined. It tastes like a combination of orange and cream soda and has so much sugar and so many additives that it is allegedly illegal in Sweden. I have never in my life tasted a soda so steadfastly committed to being gross.)

Deep Fried Mars Bar

After my PTSD-inducing experience with deep fried pizza, I promised myself I would abstain from trying a deep fried Mars Bar. However, on my last night in town I caved and slipped out of the hostel under the cover of darkness, making my way to the Clam Shell chip shop on the Royal Mile with the dark and insane drive of Martin Sheen going to kill Kurtz at the end of Apocalypse Now.

I could practically hear Jim Morrison echoing in my head when I approached the Indian guy at the counter and said, “One deep fried Mars Bar, please.”

Verdict?

Don’t do it.

The Mars Bar is what we in America know as the Milky Way bar, which is actually one of my preferred brands of candy bar. But something about coating it in batter and throwing it in the fryer turns it into a sugar-charged orgy of molten chocolate and nougat coated in enough grease to render multiple sheets of paper clear as a car’s windshield.

It was a dark but delicious three days. Also, in case you were wondering, I was able to make it through the weekend without turning into 1970s Elvis by doing uncharacteristically athletic stuff, like climbing these volcanic rock formations:

Of course, I guess I’ll only really know if I ducked the consequences when I die of natural causes at a very old age, instead of succumbing to a heart attack before I finish writing thi

Truman Capps also recounts his experiences with haggis and Scottish hiking on his personal blog, Hair Guy.

Late Night Cravings

It’s 1:30 a.m. on a Friday and you’re starved. After making your zillionth grilled cheese on the George Foreman, you need something different. You can a) forgo eating for the evening, b) search your kitchen for scraps, or c) venture outside the confines of the University campus in search of something tasty and affordable.

Allow me to help you out. Here are the best places to go when the munchies hit, provided you’re willing to walk a few blocks to satiate that rumbling stomach.

Burrito Boy Taqueria

If you have lived in Eugene or its surrounding area for more than a month, you probably know Burrito Boy is the go-to place for some good Mexican eats. Located on East Broadway at Ferry Street, Burrito Boy has been a student staple for years. Although the restaurant raised its prices a few years ago, much to broke students’ chagrin, the eatery has still sustained its popularity. Thanks to its close proximity to campus, its still-low prices and its convenient hours of operation–24 hours a day, seven days a week–Burrito Boy is not only a restaurant but a nearby spot to meet friends and munch in the wee hours.

The menu includes all the essentials: A bean and cheese burrito for $3, with the option to add rice or sour cream for 75 cents and a regular burrito that includes meat, beans, guacamole, tomatoes, onions and cilantro for $4.75. Beyond the basics is the beloved wet burrito for $7.25. It’s the same as a regular burrito, but it’s topped with mole sauce, sour cream and melted cheese. Sides such as chips and salsa, rice and beans and a variety of hot sauces are also avaialable.

Sy’s Pizza

Opened with the intention of bringing New York-style pizza slices to hungry college students, Sy’s is one of the campus area’s essential late-night diners. The cramped space is ornamented with giant triangular mirrors and retro posters of John Lennon and Marilyn Monroe, and students eat their slices on rotating red stools. The tiny shop sits inside of an 80-year-old building on Alder Street across from Sacred Heart Medical Center and offers little room for big groups of students, but it is perfect for grabbing a slice to go.

The menu includes cheese pizza by the slice for $2.50 or Sicilian-style slices for $2.75. Toppings can be added for 80 cents. There is a myriad of topping choices such as pepperoni, Italian sausage, Canadian bacon, tomatoes, chopped black olives, onions, green peppers, jalapeno peppers, fresh or canned mushrooms, pineapple and extra cheese. Not only are the slices substantial and delicious, they are also made of 100-percent mozzarella cheese and baked in a brick oven.

Sy’s stays busy during lunch and dinner hours, but it gets much of its business later at night; it’s open Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to midnight and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m.

Dough Co.

It’s hard to encapsulate your first experience with a calzone from this eatery. Gooey, cheesy, mozzarella goodness with pesto and breaded chicken all cooked into a warm calzone. Mmm. Dough Co., located at the corner of 13th Avenue and Hilyard Street, is just. So. Good.

Serving 31 different kinds of calzones and offering a variety of fresh baked cookies, salads, ice cream and drinks, all for less than $6.25, is something to get hungry over.

These calzone creations include the Hawaiian zone, which has ham, pineapple, ricotta and mozzarella cheese; the chicken bomb zone, which has breaded chicken, peppers, onions, mushrooms and ricotta and mozzarella cheese; and the breakfast zone, which has two eggs and cheddar cheese with your choice of steak, bacon, ham or sausage.

And the list goes on. Dough Co. is open from 11 a.m. to 3 a.m. every day, with the option to eat in, carry it out or get it delivered.