May 14

How can it be May?  I haven’t posted on my blog for six months.  I think that’s criminal.  I owe an explanation to anyone that was kind enough to read my blog regularly.

My life turned upside-down in December.  Out of the blue, I found a job opportunity with a great company that is doing exciting things in solar energy.  The thing is, I had to relocate from Orlando to St. Louis.  My first day at my new company was January 31.  This probably doesn’t mean much to anyone who doesn’t live in St. Louis, but that was the day a “historic” blizzard hit town.  I’ve lived in California and Florida.  Snow and I don’t know how to deal with each other.  For me, this was nothing short of traumatic.

The other half of the trama was that my husband stayed in Celebration so his son could finish out his senior year of high school.  So I was in the snow, alone and without my treaure trove of kitchen toys.  I didn’t cook much and therefore the blog fell off my to do list.

What I did do was eat out.   And I have some thought I’d like to share.  I’ve found lots of things to love.  But in keeping with my style, First let me get this rant off of my chest.  While researching my move, I became very excited to try St. Louis style pizza.  I’ve tried several versions and ….  I miss California pizzas.

Death to Provel

If you are a St. Louis native you know about Provel, and it’s likely that I’m going to offend you in my next sentence.   St. Louis style pizza is an insult to Italians, an insult to cheese, and insult to people with taste buds.  This is all because of Provel.  Pizza is a personal thing.  There are so many ways to make it and enjoy it that I had to think long and hard about declaring a method to be wrong.  Who am I to say that an entire style of pizza is wrong? I am the blogger! And if you come visit me we’ll have lots of good food but I will not allow a guest of mine to be subjected to St. Louis style pizza.

For the lucky uninitiated reader, there are really two things that define St. Louis style pizza.  A thin crust and provel cheese.  I can accept thin crust though some of the versions I’ve had are so thin that they are almost like a tortilla.  At that point it’s no longer a pizza, it’s a distant cousin.  I prefer a thicker crust, not NY style and absolutely not Chicago style but thicker than a classic neapolitan crust.

If the crust were the only differentiator, I’d probably decide that St. Louis pizza and I aren’t friends, but I wouldn’t declare open blogger warfare.  Unfortunately the creators of St. Louis style pizza weren’t content with just ruining the crust, they also felt it necessary to mess with the cheese.  This is where it gets ugly.  Why would any rational human being swap out the delicious stringy milky goodness of mozzarella for a processed cheese?  Seriously, were they mad (you can read that as angry or insane, both definitions apply)?

Provel is to cheese as a hotdog is to sausage.  It pretends to be in the same family, but one quickly realizes that all of the quality has been stripped out and the only resemblance is visual.  Provel is a processed cheese made with cheddar, swiss and provolone.  It’s specific to this region and the name Provel is a trademark owned by Kraft.   Wikipedia pretty much sums it up by saying that “like all processed cheeses, it’s legally allowed to be calledcheese.  You can buy it in the grocery store, typically in the deli section next to exotic cheeses, it typically comes in a plastic tub and is extruded.  You can’t call it grated, it looks like a long wad of spaghetti noodles.  It clumps together.  It melts over the top of the pizza like an oil slick and feels like one in your mouth.  I’m pretty sure if you tried to feed this to Nona from the old country she’d slap you silly.  Provel is all that is wrong with the US food chain.  It’s not food, it’s cheap mass produced nutritionally devoid garbage.

People from St. Louis LOVE their pizza.  And I’m happy for them.  The comfort of food is as much about a memory as a taste.  But as for me, I think I’ll be making my pizza as long as I live here.

One Response to “Love St. Louis, I hate Provel”

  1. Being a New Yorker, I’ve had the privilege of having some of the best (in my opinion) pizza on Earth (I know, bold statement). We have the traditional thinner crust, but also have the wonderful Sicilian style (square pie, thicker crust), that I can’t seem to find down here in Orlando. With that said, the “thing” you described above is a sacrilege. Good luck with all that. ;)

    PS – miss seeing a drunk Dawn!!!

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