2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
A firm reference,
This review is from: American Pie: My Search for the Perfect Pizza (Hardcover)
The perfect, true pizza is one of those things that can polarise opinions, test friendships and create disputes - and that is just in the United States before one examines what purports to be the true pizza from different Italian regions and how other countries interpret the true pizza.
This book sets out to find what the author claims is the perfect pizza and shows along the way the sheer trouble involved in examining dozens of varieties that vie to be the one true thing. A search for the Holy Grail indeed. But one can have fun along the way.
The search starts in Italy, predictably enough, with a number of possible reference or calibration samples being examined which are more likely to add confusion to the mix. One gets a great sense of history and tradition as well as an understanding of regional variety and variation which will give a background to similar situations that arrive in the form of exported versions.
Then it is a return to the United States where the great American road trip and debate can begin. A number of American states are visited with their highlights or specific takes on the pizza (New York versus Chicago, how Philadelphia stakes up, etc.) examined and whilst preferences may be indicated by the author a real conclusion can never be reached as tastes can and do vary. Yet it is fun to ride along with the author and learn along the way.
And before one can be tired of travel, confused by the regional differences and not sure what to do next one is transported back to the kitchen to learn how to do the basics of pizza preparation in a self-styled pizza masterclass. Over 60 recipes for different pizza doughs, sauces and toppings are offered along with advice on how to best combine ingredients and dishes together for good effect. Consideration is given to the fact that not everybody will have access to a restaurant-grade pizza oven as well, so one need not feel inferior or less capable. Certainly by the end of the book one should feel confident to do their own restaurant-quality pizza at home, although part of the restaurant experience (and delight of having the food made for you?) sadly cannot be provided. Swings and roundabouts but still one will be eating a good pizza.
This is not a recipe book with a few recipes thrown in for good measure but a definable, quality reference work that provides both education, inspiration and scope for personal development.
When all things are considered, this book will not provide an answer to the question "what is the authentic, definitive pizza?", yet it provides a great deal of education albeit in a style that is light to read and a pleasure to implement. This is likely to be a firm reference work that will be regularly consulted when one is looking for inspiration for pizza baking.