Hey, look at this! French Friday came back! The other night I was awoken by the sound of one of our mouse traps clamping on an unfortunate rodent and then couldn’t go back to sleep for a couple hours because of all the blog post ideas rolling through my head (none of which have to do with dead mice, you’ll be glad to know). Mr. Gren suggested I go write it all down. I ended up with two pages’ worth of ideas. That should keep me busy for awhile.
When I was little, I spoke French. Well, it wasn’t really French, but we can pretend it was a precursor to things to come. My big word was “petit.” It didn’t mean “small” like it does in French; this was my toddler word for “pizza.” It’s one of those words that becomes part of the family vocabulary; we ordered petit for years.
Little did Mr. Gren and I know that ordering petit in France would be a vastly different experience. I was already familiar with the scooter-riding delivery drivers from my time in Grenoble. The scooters were outfitted with a small box on the back and, although I don’t recall any ads about “30 minutes or less” delivery times, with these guys, you would never have to worry about it anyways: most French motorists secretly wish they were race car drivers. French driving can be a post for another day.
Back to the pizza. In a block or so radius around our apartment, I can remember four pizza places. Two were sit-down and two were delivery. One of those was Pizza Hut, but we actually preferred the French chain Speed Rabbit. Not Speedy, just Speed. We could practically see the yellow and black sign from our 4th floor apartment so there was no need for delivery (excepting a couple of rainy nights when we didn’t want to go out. Sorry, scooter guys).
Speed Rabbit and other French pizza places have the quirky habit of giving their pizzas American-sounding names. Sometimes the name of a city, sometimes just an English phrase. We learned pretty early on, though, that the more American the name sounded, the less likely that an actual American would eat that particular pizza. Let’s peruse a menu, shall we?
This is the Alaska. No, those aren’t gold nuggets. But you might be pretty excited about the double dose of salmon (baked and smoked). Oh yeah, and the potatoes. Let’s try another.
Mm, mm, the Let It Bee. Mozzarella, cheddar, crème fraiche (similar to sour cream, but not as sour), rounds of goat cheese and… [drum roll, please] honey! Of course honey! Why not, huh? Pizza Hut also has a similar offering. Apparently it’s the hot new thing in France.
Are those ones too tame for you? Not adventurous enough? We can step it up for you.
When the French think of the USA, New York is all that comes to mind. Don’t be offended; we do the same thing to them. (Hello, Paris!) So this is the New York pizza, because apparently the Big Apple is composed of tomato sauce, mozzarella, cheddar, barbecue sauce, double ground beef (those would be the disagreeable looking brown lumps), and pickles. Look closer, you’ll see ’em.
Let’s get out of the city a little bit and check out Long Island.
Now, I have a couple friends who live on Long Island, so they can correct me if I’m way off base here, but this really doesn’t seem like something most Americans would eat on a pizza. Tomato sauce, mozzarella, cheddar and a “seafood cocktail.” Curious what that might be? Well, let me just enlighten you: Shrimp, mussels, calamari, some kind of clam, crème fraiche, and a parsley-garlic seasoning.
We started with Alaska and now we’ll wrap it up with Nebraska. Oh, Nebraska. Vanguard of pizza experimentation.
Boy, howdy, this looks appetizing. Double ground beef (c’mon — Nebraska), tomato sauce, mozzarella, cheddar, potatoes (no corn?), Samurai Sauce (which has nothing to do with medieval Japanese warriors. It’s a mixture of mayonnaise, ketchup, and a paste made of hot peppers), and that lovely golden orb in the middle is an egg. Yes, egg. Who gets it when you slice up the pizza? Even more baffling were the pizza places that served the egg in half a shell. Raw.
I’ll let you guys fight over it.