I have a problem with British cuisine. A small, yellow problem.
Fish and chips? Love it. They’re a significant, if occasional, part of why I’m pescetarian, rather than a strict vegetarian. British sweets? Oh, yes. Those two great staple foods, curry and Chinese? Yum. Prawns? They can fill in for shrimp any day.
When it comes to pizza, though, that’s a whole different buffet table.
For starters, any old takeaway thinks it can produce a decent pizza at a reasonable price. It can’t. Cheap British takeaway pizza tastes rather like you’d expect: bloody awful. There’s usually a hint in the menu. If the same place also makes burgers, curries, kebabs, and so-called “Southern style fried chicken” – and no, I don’t think they mean the way people fry chicken in, say, Swindon – you’re best steering clear.
There’s only one takeaway that makes good quality pizza, and that’s an American chain which charges the sort of prices I’d expect to pay at the Ivy, or the Ritz. Assuming the Ivy and the Ritz did takeaway, or would lower themselves to serve the likes of me.
Another quibble about British pizza: what’s with all the sweetcorn, guys? Sweetcorn, on pizza? Sweet Sister of Fate, but are you mad? Why further ruin a perfectly inadequate pizza by putting sweetcorn on it?
The British – I’m taking off my flat cap now, and putting on my baseball cap: that’s what happens when you have dual nationality – have a thing about sweetcorn.
I’m beginning to think they just can’t help themselves. Lead a Brit to sweetcorn, and it’s like a little kid on the first day of school holidays. They run riot: sprinkling it on not just pizzas, but in salads, tuna pasta, you name it. It’s quite sad, really.
Britain, take note. You have nothing to lose but your sweetcorn.