More Cheese, Please. Wait! That’s Enough!!!


When I was a kid we used to get pizza with extra cheese; I get it. Cheese is gooey and fun; against the sauce, it’s very very nice.

Of course that was real mozzarella, not flown in from Naples but at least made in Little Italy.

Now we have this, two awful pizza chains putting as much cheese (and bacon, why not) as can possibly fit on their pizzas. The cheeses – in Papa John’s case mozzarella, “parmesan,” romano, asiago, provolone, and “Fontina” – no doubt are indistinguishable from each other. (The quotes because those two cheeses, at least, are DOC in Italy and there is really only one Parmesan, made in Parma, and one Fontina, made in the Val d’Aosta, and everything else is a shabby imitation.) They’re made god knows where and how, but no doubt at least half of them would qualify as “pasteurized processed cheese food.”

Which isn’t even the point. I have nothing against a good grilled cheese, and certainly nothing against a good pizza. But when it becomes a game as to how many tasteless calories you can load onto a slice and how cheap you can make it ($11) as opposed to how good you can make it taste, the (“six”) cheeses and (“double”) bacon turn from toppings into statistics.

“Extra” (or downright excess) is no longer a special treat, it’s the norm. Going beyond the norm is no longer a special special treat, it’s disgusting, or nearly so.

Posted in Food Politics


  1. Emily Kikue Frank said...

    Tasteless, STRINGY calories! I say it’s 6 kinds of nasty– wait, with the bacon, let’s call it 8.

  2. HoneyBNutrition said...

    So disgusting.It’s too bad we are more worried about dairy profits than obesity. Let’s revolt and make healthier versions at home with the help of Mark Bittman’s recipes! x

  3. cheapcooking said...

    Years ago I dated a guy who used to order his pizza with half the cheese. Guess he was ahead of his time, eh?

  4. wigfest said...

    this isn’t even worth talking or complaining about.

  5. Luciano Capitanio said...

    Dear Mark, first of all let me tell you that I estimate you as the Don Quixote of the food that fight with the modern food windmills. Second, being Italian I support your fight against the pizza overtopping abuse and the use/abuse of U.F.O. cheese. Nevertheless let me add something to your post saying that Parmesan cheese is produced in the Consorzio of Parmiggiano reggiano that comprises the cities of Parma, Reggio Emilia, Modena, Bologna(left of the Reno river) and Mantova (right of the Po river). At the moment the damages to the international false cheese consumers and to the italian economy due to commercialization of those U.F.O. cheeses account to thousands of bad lunch and dinner for theformers and several milion of dollars for the latter.Thanks again for your contributions to better food in the world and for fighting all those windmills.Ciao and please excuse me for my bad English.Luciano

  6. Monterey Jack, Rescue Ranger said...

    Five years later, let me say I disagree 1000%, Love. Cheese is like sex: even when it’s bad, it’s good. The only kind of cheese a pizza absolutely needs is MORE. Sure, higher quality cheeses would be better, but there must always be an overwhelming amount of cheese. Cha-HEEEEEEE-sa!

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