The place where pizza comes to be written about

Guest blog! Jon Horsley of TV Bite on why one (topping) is the magic number

Pete says: It’s a great pleasure to this week welcome a guest drop from Jon Horsley, the main man behind TV Bite, yet another vastly superior endeavour to my own combining televisual recommendations with recipes. He once took a pop at me for defending Two Pints A Lager And A Packet Of Crisps but we cool now. Jon here elucidates his philosophical support of the one-topping pizza…


I believe it was in popular satirical tome The Mary Whitehouse Experience Encyclopedia where I first saw pizza described as “Posh cheese on toast”*.  Perhaps some of you pizza lovers will bristle at this reductive description, but think on, for cheese on toast it surely is. Pizza is literally based on toast, yes. But what toast! What ambrosial, life-giving cooked baked goods this is. Bouncy, chewy, crunch and charred on the edge**. Fuck you Communion, this is the bread of life. If the pleasure gained from food is one of the things that lifts us above the beasts – animals feed, people eat – then chewing the bread of pizza is to chew on the very essence of human achievement.

Bread is the crucial part of the pizza. It is the foundation from which the meal grows. In existential terms, it is the “being” from Sartre’s Being and Nothingness. We only know it is a pizza because of the bread. Without it, what do we have? An extremely low quality pasta sauce. And if we wanted that, we’d go to a student dinner party, or if you can’t bear the kind of arsehole student who has dinner parties, go to Garfunkel’s and have a salad bar too. The point is, you must focus, when you choose a pizza, on the bread.

Almost certainly the only time Jean-Paul Sartre will appear in this blog

So, we’re agreed. We need bread. What comes next is cheese and tomatoes. This is accepted fact (apart from some marinaras and the odd blanco). We need no more discussion on this. Pizza has evolved to this point after centuries of experimentation, so who are you to say different? You’re no one, that’s who. Shut up. Bread, cheese and tomatoes, the holy trinity of pizza.  Bread, cheese and tomatoes. What next? Here we come to the crux of my post***. Pizza should only have one topping. ONE TOPPING. I say from here on, the blessed pizza eater requires one further ingredient.  One. Un. Uno. Eck. Yi.

This ingredient is the focus. It needs space to breathe. I pass onto you what my grandfather said on his deathbed: “Do not swamp your holy trinity with a meat feast.” Do not adhere frozen vegetables over the base. This is a heinous, horrible mistake. What you must learn is the topping is the icing on the cake, it is not the cake itself. By taking this Buddhist approach to toppings, your meal, nay your life, will become clearer. You will appreciate the bread, cheese and tomatoes so much more. And what of the extra component itself? With room on top, it really breathes. No longer does the humble mushroom exist solely for the purpose of fun guy/funghi or “mushroom/muchroom” hilarity. It’s an earthy partner to the other trio. The anchovy that gave its life to your mouth becomes more than salt. It becomes a small, delicate fish.

Wow, there's not "mushroom" here, is there?

In the words of Spinoza, a philosopher who knew more than a little about pizza****: “The man who overblings his pizza is like the man who really enjoys going to Ikea – a confused cock. Whatsa matter you, eh?” Think of it in terms of great art: How many cock and balls did Michaelangelo sculpt on David? How many Lisas are there depicted in the Mona Lisa? How many heroes in Die Hard? How many lead guitarists in Appetite For Destruction-era Guns N Roses? The answer to these questions is the answer to your topping dilemma. Now, go safely – and go simply.

Likewise, the only time Michaelangelo's David will appear in this blog


* If I recall correctly it was David Baddiel’s entry. The entries were initialled, for some reason and if I recall correctly, this was one of David Baddiel’s though I could be making that up because it’s very much in his “mildly funny in the pub” voice.

** Here I differ from another correspondent on this blog, Rosie***** and her assertion that dirty pizza is the thing you want at home. Dirty pizza is disgusting. Papa John’s is pizza designed and made by people who have read a facsimile of what a pizza is, Dominos is plastic on cardboard and Tops is sick on cardboard.

*** Yes, it’s taken a while. And yes, I did footnotes before I read that Stewart Lee book.

**** Not Baruch Spinoza. Turns out he’s not Italian, he’s Portuguese, so is your go-to guy on bacalao. This is the lesser know, made up philosopher Giuseppe Spinoza.

*****Actually, on this issue I probably disagree with everyone on this blog and everyone reading it. I like the look of Pete And Rosie’s deep dish pizza – but it’s clearly a pie. I am the Hyacinth Bucket of takeaway pizza.

Jon smiled slightly, safe in the knowledge that he was far better than the man whose blog he had just graced



Filed under: Guest drops

One Response

  1. @Mullies says:

    You like Two Pints…? You’re dumped.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: