Huaraches

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John Seeliger

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Jan 18, 2003, 1:15:33 PM1/18/03
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No doubt Richard will consider this to be anathema, but I have just heard
the word "pizza" be used to describe a new type of food.

I was watching Rick Bayless's PBS show "Mexico One Plate at a Time" and he
was talking about a type of food there called a huarache which is shaped
like a sandal. In fact, it gets it's name from a sandal.

He made two of them on his show: one from corn masa with black beans and
one from wheat flour. He used a tomatillo salsa he had previous made and
put goat cheese, radishes and onions on. At one point, he called it Chicago
pizza (he lives in Chicago).

I plan to go down to Mexico later this month, though not as far as Mexico
City. I'll try the huaraches in Saltillo, if I see someone selling them.

--
John Seeliger Limited but increasing content
jsee...@yahoo.com <http://www.freewebz.com/hudathunkett/>
jsee...@aaahawk.com


masakim

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Jan 18, 2003, 4:24:23 PM1/18/03
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"John Seeliger" wrote:

>
> No doubt Richard will consider this to be anathema,
> but I have just heard the word "pizza" be used to
> describe a new type of food.
>
> I was watching Rick Bayless's PBS show "Mexico One
> Plate at a Time" and he was talking about a type of
> food there called a huarache which is shaped like a
> sandal. In fact, it gets it's name from a sandal.
>
> He made two of them on his show: one from corn masa
> with black beans and one from wheat flour. He used a
> tomatillo salsa he had previous made and put goat cheese,
> radishes and onions on. At one point, he called it Chicago
> pizza (he lives in Chicago).
>
> I plan to go down to Mexico later this month, though not
> as far as Mexico City. I'll try the huaraches in Saltillo, if
> I see someone selling them.


From _Trash Cash, Fizzbos and Flatliners: A Dictionary of New Words_
(1993):

Chicago pizza noun
A thick-crusted pizza that is "stuffed, as opposed to topped, with a
variety of robust combinations (some have goofy names) and served in a
deep pan." (_New York Magazine_)
[From _Chicago_, Illinois, where it originated in a restaurant called
Uno's.]


Regards,
masakim


John Seeliger

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Jan 18, 2003, 5:01:27 PM1/18/03
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"masakim" <mas...@kun.ne.jp> wrote in message
news:b0cgm9$fmj$1...@nwall2.odn.ne.jp...

Yes, I am familiar with the type. The one he made doesn't correspond to the
traditional Chicago style in either thickness or being made in a pan. They
grilled theirs. Richard also claims they are made from biscuit dough, thus
disqualifying them from being real pizza, but it seems that the only place
in the US to get a real pizza (according to Richard) is in New York or in
certain states nearby.


R Fontana

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Jan 18, 2003, 11:22:14 PM1/18/03
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On Sat, 18 Jan 2003, John Seeliger wrote:

> "masakim" <mas...@kun.ne.jp> wrote in message
> news:b0cgm9$fmj$1...@nwall2.odn.ne.jp...
> >
> > "John Seeliger" wrote:
> >
> > >
> > > No doubt Richard will consider this to be anathema,
> > > but I have just heard the word "pizza" be used to
> > > describe a new type of food.

...


> From _Trash Cash, Fizzbos and Flatliners: A Dictionary of New Words_
> > (1993):
> >
> > Chicago pizza noun
> > A thick-crusted pizza that is "stuffed, as opposed to topped, with a
> > variety of robust combinations (some have goofy names) and served in a
> > deep pan." (_New York Magazine_)
> > [From _Chicago_, Illinois, where it originated in a restaurant called
> > Uno's.]
>
> Yes, I am familiar with the type. The one he made doesn't correspond to the
> traditional Chicago style in either thickness or being made in a pan. They
> grilled theirs. Richard also claims they are made from biscuit dough, thus
> disqualifying them from being real pizza,

The fact, and it is a fact, that so-called "Chicago-style" pizza
has a crust (or imitation of one, I guess) made of biscuit dough, is
only one of many reasons why it should not be considered real pizza.

> but it seems that the only place
> in the US to get a real pizza (according to Richard) is in New York or in
> certain states nearby.

Yes, that's absolutely correct. Another thing that I've pointed out
before is that so-called "Chicago-style" pizza is or was originally an
attempt to imitate or reproduce what in New York is called "Sicilian"
or "square" pizza (in contrast to "Neapolitan" or "round" pizza). Not
only was it a bad and uninformed attempt, but at least now
"Chicago-style" pizza has been transformed so much that it simply
cannot be considered "pizza" by right-thinking people.


mb

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Jan 19, 2003, 7:25:42 AM1/19/03
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R Fontana <rf...@sparky.cs.nyu.edu> wrote in message

> > but it seems that the only place
> > in the US to get a real pizza (according to Richard) is in New York or in
> > certain states nearby.
>
> Yes, that's absolutely correct. Another thing that I've pointed out
> before is that so-called "Chicago-style" pizza is or was originally an
> attempt to imitate or reproduce what in New York is called "Sicilian"
> or "square" pizza (in contrast to "Neapolitan" or "round" pizza). Not
> only was it a bad and uninformed attempt, but at least now
> "Chicago-style" pizza has been transformed so much that it simply
> cannot be considered "pizza" by right-thinking people.

As bad and uninformed as most of what is offered by the Tri-State
pizzamakers. Even after so many years, eating their sugary, often
overcrunchy or soggy dough isn't that easy. Where they are hopeless is
in the garnishing. The chemical taste of tomato paste is unavoidable
(wouldn't know why, as wholesale prices for peeled tomatoes aren't
really higher). The hair-raising cacogueusy of popular NY combinations
rarely allow to keep the top juicy. Forget about judicious use of
herbs. A good margherita is almost impossible to get. The good
pizzerias in NY and upstate are few; almost all are run by either a
native Neapolitan or a Brazilian. There are also a good number of
excellent (non-NY and non-Chicago) pizza parlors in SF and the Bay.
Several, again, are Brazilian.

Maria Conlon

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Jan 19, 2003, 10:37:27 AM1/19/03
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mb wrote [about pizzas]:

>...... The hair-raising cacogueusy of popular NY combinations


> rarely allow to keep the top juicy.

"Cacogueusy"?

I looked in several dictionaries. No luck. What does it mean? The
variety of toppings?

Enquiring minds and all that.

Maria

R Fontana

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Jan 19, 2003, 3:49:07 PM1/19/03
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On 19 Jan 2003, mb wrote:

> R Fontana <rf...@sparky.cs.nyu.edu> wrote in message
>
> > > but it seems that the only place
> > > in the US to get a real pizza (according to Richard) is in New York or in
> > > certain states nearby.
> >
> > Yes, that's absolutely correct. Another thing that I've pointed out
> > before is that so-called "Chicago-style" pizza is or was originally an
> > attempt to imitate or reproduce what in New York is called "Sicilian"
> > or "square" pizza (in contrast to "Neapolitan" or "round" pizza). Not
> > only was it a bad and uninformed attempt, but at least now
> > "Chicago-style" pizza has been transformed so much that it simply
> > cannot be considered "pizza" by right-thinking people.
>
> As bad and uninformed as most of what is offered by the Tri-State
> pizzamakers. Even after so many years, eating their sugary, often
> overcrunchy or soggy dough isn't that easy. Where they are hopeless is
> in the garnishing. The chemical taste of tomato paste is unavoidable
> (wouldn't know why, as wholesale prices for peeled tomatoes aren't
> really higher). The hair-raising cacogueusy of popular NY combinations
> rarely allow to keep the top juicy.

"Combinations"?! Oy!

> Forget about judicious use of
> herbs. A good margherita is almost impossible to get. The good
> pizzerias in NY and upstate are few; almost all are run by either a
> native Neapolitan or a Brazilian.

I've never said that *most* pizza places in the Tri-State Area are
good. I've said here many times that most of them are mediocre to
horribly bad, and it's been that way ever since I was old enough to eat
pizza (I dunno, sometime in 1970 or 1971?). And the bad ones back then
were all bona fide New York pizzerias. But the best pizza places are
far better than anything in the rest of the country, even if the worst
of them are as bad as anything in the rest of the country, and they
are. And the situation has only gotten worse over the years,
especially since the late 1980s. Nevertheless.

Your comments about "combinations", as I noted above, indicate that you
don't understand what pizza is all about (NTTAWWT). I don't know from
combinations. Combinations are for the goyim. I detect some special
fondness in your remarks for the San Francisco Bay Area. Perhaps this
is where you grew up or migrated to. Look, San Francisco is visually
(from a distance, at least, unless they've solved the litter problem
in the past few years) and climatically the greatest city in the US, if
not the world, though it has a rather high crime rate. As for the rest
of the 'Bay Area', it's mostly a bunch of boring suburbs or
economically troubled communities like most of the US, but that's
okay.

But if there's one thing that makes California different from the
Tri-State Area, it's that no part of it, none of it, has the proper
conditions for thriving pizza culture. You need the following things
for a thriving pizza culture:
1. Good water
2. A heritage of pizza-making rooted in thriving and
culturally working-class communities of persons with strong cultural
links to particular places in southern Italy where pizza of some sort
was a feature of local culinary traditions.

Well, I don't think we need spend much time on 1. I mean, if this
alone is why you can't find good pizza in Boston, you can see why
things aren't going to be so great in most of California. I think 2.
is the real problem, and 2. is also one of the reasons why the quality
of pizza in the Tri-State Area, even in those places which
traditionally could be relied upon to sometimes provide good pizza, has
been declining over the years.

But it's easy to see why 2. isn't present in California. I'll just
take the San Francisco Bay Area, since you seemed to single it out as
an especially wonderful place for pizza. Sure, there was a
significant amount of (indirect) immigration from southern Italy to
parts of coastal northern California during the early part of the 20th
century. But what makes that part of California unique is that *prior*
to the great wave of turn-of-the-century immigration from southern and
eastern Europe there was a significant amount of immigration from
*Northern* Italy, of relatively bourgeois persons, from places where,
needless to say, pizza did not exist as a feature of local traditional
popular cuisine. Moreover, the subsequent immigration from southern
Italy was never as large as the immigration from southern Italy to the
Northeastern United States.

The North Beach district of San Francisco is commonly thought of as a
historically Italian immigrant-based community. Well, it sort of was,
but remember that initially this was a community of bourgeois Northern
Italians, who were hostile to the cultural traditions of the poor
people of southern Italy, whom they regarded as culturally and
racially inferior. 'Nuff said; you aren't going to get a thriving
urban working-class pizzeria culture under conditions like that. I've
been to the North Beach area. It's a lovely place. Where are the
pizzerias? There are none. There are some bad tourist-oriented
Italian restaurants around there, but that's it. Where do you go to
get a slice? 'Nuff said.

There's still another reason, and it goes to a basic cultural
difference between California and the Coastal Northeast. California is
culturally assimilationist in a much stronger way than the Coastal
Northeast is. It's hostile, I would say, to the maintenance of
distinct ethnic traditions rooted in the cultures of the poor peoples
who may have immigrated there, beyond a few generations. I'm not
condemning this completely, and there are probably some positive
social aspects to this strong form of assimilationism (which,
incidentally, is why English-speaking people [at least if they're of
primarily European ancestry] are called "Anglos" in California but not
in the Coastal Northeast), but there's a price to be paid. Forget
pizza. Where are you more likely to get a good bagel -- in San
Francisco or in Brooklyn? 'Nuff said. All this is why California
makes great wine (because of the maintenance of the wine-making
traditions of those bourgeois or gentry Northern Italian immigrants to
Northern California) but not great pizza.

Your sentence "A good margherita is hard to get" is telling. I think
that to you pizza is like Starbuck's coffee or jelly-bellies. It's
properly a gourmet item, properly obtained in some sort of premium
food-serving environment, and not a humble, working-class food properly
served in an inexpensive and unpretentious place. The sort of place
where if you go up to the counter and say "I'd like a margherita" the
guy behind the counter will tell you apologetically that they don't
have a liquor license. Pizza is not food for the bourgeoisie. It's
food for the peasantry, for the workers. As someone (maybe me) once
said, food is always political. 'Nuff said.

As for Upstate New York (which of course isn't in the Tri-State Area
or the Coastal Northeast), it's known not for pizza but for "coneys".

mb

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Jan 20, 2003, 3:29:31 AM1/20/03
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R Fontana <rf...@sparky.cs.nyu.edu> wrote
an excellent essay
...

> "Combinations"?! Oy!
>
> > Forget about judicious use of
> > herbs. A good margherita is almost impossible to get. The good
> > pizzerias in NY and upstate are few; almost all are run by either a
> > native Neapolitan or a Brazilian.
>
...

> Combinations are for the goyim.

Absolutely agreed, and that's also where we start looking at it from
different angles. Before my first trip to the US, pizza was a pie with
a) a smudge of peeled or squeezed tomato (the one and only until 1872)
or b) a margherita (created in 1872 to represent the tricolor of the
new kingdom and honor the queen, Margherita of Savoy): a leaf of
basil, tomato and mozzarella. Made not by local guys but Neapolitans.
Dozens of different combinations, some delicious, were eaten only in
fancy company. So the first contact with NY pizza was a shock.



> But if there's one thing that makes California different from the
> Tri-State Area, it's that no part of it, none of it, has the proper
> conditions for thriving pizza culture.

No such culture, just several places that make excellent pizza as
judged by an immigrant.

...
> 1. Good water

Good dough, flat yet divinely fluffy, is made with Cal water too. Good
here, again seen from a non-NY angle, means first and foremost no
sugar!

> 2. A heritage of pizza-making rooted in thriving and
> culturally working-class communities of persons with strong cultural
> links to particular places in southern Italy where pizza of some sort
> was a feature of local culinary traditions.

No culture, but Neapolitans (or quasi) and Brazilians (who continue to
make dough as in the old country after 2 or more generations, with
Mediterranean-tasting innovations).

> 2. is also one of the reasons why the quality
> of pizza in the Tri-State Area, even in those places which
> traditionally could be relied upon to sometimes provide good pizza, has
> been declining over the years.
> But it's easy to see why 2. isn't present in California.

...

Agreed on that, including the part about North Beach. As for calling
the Polentoni bourgeois, certainly not! The good ones aren't in North
Beach (with a single exception) but in neighborhoods, Berkeley,
Oakland etc.
...


> It's hostile, I would say, to the maintenance of
> distinct ethnic traditions rooted in the cultures of the poor peoples
> who may have immigrated there, beyond a few generations.

Yes, deplorable. But the ex-new Eldorado is very liberal with its new
immigrants. So, instead of an established ethnic tradition that has
modified its food and habits almost as much as its language (we'll
avoid a painful excursus on the noodles), you get a lot of direct
imports who cook and bake come in casa, or boil their bagels just as
in old-country Brooklyn.

> All this is why California makes great wine (because of the maintenance of
> the wine-making
> traditions of those bourgeois or gentry Northern Italian immigrants to
> Northern California) but not great pizza.

Gentry my eye and foot. We're talking mainly about Piedmontese
chimneysweeps, Ticinese stonemasons, Genoan stevedores and the like,
pariahs who sometimes made good thanks to their winemaking skills.
Polenta, of course, never was a recipe for success in the restaurant
business.

> Your sentence "A good margherita is hard to get" is telling. I think
> that to you pizza is like Starbuck's coffee or jelly-bellies.

...


> Pizza is not food for the bourgeoisie. It's
> food for the peasantry, for the workers. As someone (maybe me) once
> said, food is always political.

It should be clear by now that the request for a margherita is a
thoroughly proletarian request -the simplest, cheapest and
best-tasting item of yore, a request made in the wrong environment due
to nostalgy for food, also political. Proletarian for proletarian, the
genetic connection between Neapolitan and authentic NY pizza starts
looking almost like that of Romanian to Portuguese.

> As for Upstate New York (which of course isn't in the Tri-State Area
> or the Coastal Northeast), it's known not for pizza but for "coneys".

...and the superb Italobrasileiros (Tarrytown, but also Troy, Buffalo,
Rochester, as of 1998).

mb

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Jan 20, 2003, 3:38:55 AM1/20/03
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"Maria Conlon" <mcon...@sprynet.com> wrote

> "Cacogueusy"?
>
> I looked in several dictionaries. No luck. What does it mean? The
> variety of toppings?

Me and my big mint (output rate depends on alcohol input). Sorry.
Started writing cacophony, braked on a dime to avoid the mixed
metaphor, then -hold it, I see I mistyped it too. Correct as
cacogeusy. From geusis, taste, as in the medical term dysgeusia,
troubles of the taste organs.

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