Sep 09, 2021

Pineapple Pizza and the Pursuit of Wonder


Time to have a little fun. One of our students posted on his social media account that pineapple pizza was horrible and he dared someone to prove him wrong. “Challenge accepted,” I thought.

Silly as it was, I learned something profound along the way. My decision to write a persuasive soliloquy on pizza toppings in response to a student’s Instagram challenge stands as a testimony to the possibility of wringing beauty and truth out of literally anything on God’s green earth. Most of the time, I fear we have lost the childlike ability to experience wonder. To marvel, to play and to experience the beauty in God’s world that speaks of his infinitely wondrous character, generous heart and boundless creativity. May we begin again to find wonder in the ordinary.

Without further ado, I give you: “Why Pineapple Belongs on Pizza”

Since the dawn of time, humans have been experimenting with the food they eat. It became clear to our earliest ancestors that food was meant for more than sustenance, more than survival, more than raw fuel. The mouth was a place for sublime flavor explosions from which sprung some of the highest pleasure possible in the human experience. 

In this continual quest for tasty perfection, one of the most important principles became the willingness to explore new and interesting combinations. Garlic and herb, roasted and glazed, spicy and creamy, crunchy and smooth, sweet and savory. Often the burst of one flavor was complemented by another, the fire soothed or the intensity expanded. Cooking became an endless world of adventure.

This brings us the culinary marvel that is pineapple on pizza. First, consider pizza. On its own, with simply sauce and cheese, it is a delicacy beyond compare. The crispness, the cheesiness, the punchy zing of the tomato sauce. It’s no wonder many would be ashamed to admit they can polish off an entire fourteen inch masterpiece in a single sitting, regardless of the intestinal consequences. Toppings on pizza are merely the jewels on an already sparkling crown. 

Pineapple is also unique, in itself. It seems as if the sunshine itself conceived this ode to bright, juicy, sweet refreshment. Of the pineapple’s singular flavor, poet Claudia Baker wrote, “Exploding senses preparing to ignite, inspiring to escape from the suffocating night.” To add to its already irresistible appeal, it is a common Hawaiian tradition to add to salt to pineapple, calming the acidity and bringing more of its warm sweetness to the surface. Thus roasted pineapple has become a coveted ingredient in many salty dishes; a sweet and savory combination for the ages.

So, in the course of time, one enlightened soul was inspired to add pineapple to pizza, presumably along with tender slices of honey-cured ham. As the fictional Chef Gusteau from Disney’s Ratatouille proclaimed, “Good food is like music you can taste.” Pineapple on pizza is like a masterful electric guitar solo with a full orchestra playing along. It’s a veritable symphony of flavor, a dance of opposites that come together to create something surprisingly beautiful. So what are you waiting for? Grab a slice and taste for yourself. And never stop exploring.