1. Morgan!? ♥ ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ says

    OMG. My mother used to make this but we rebelled. She then left off the luncheon meat, slathered on a can of tomato sauce topped with Velveeta Cheese. Better, but not great. Mid-century American “cuisine” was a travesty.

  2. madtom1999 says

    Roswell? Of course – the aluminium foil was used to keep the pizza warm on the way to the picnic!

  3. anthrosciguy says

    People now will probably find it hard to believe, but pizza was a rarity in much of America. My mom started making pizza using a recipe she got from the newspaper in Poughkeepsie, NY (where pizza existed thanks to not being so far from NYC). That recipe was a full on homemade dough and everything and it was great. She made it almost every Sunday for decades, in NY and in Minnesota (where both it and my dad’s TR3 sports car were in the category of WTF is that?).

    Finding good Italian sausage was not easy outside of a few enclaves.

    About 40 years ago a pizza place tried opening in northern Arkansas where my grandparents retired; it was terrible despite making their own crust. Just didn’t work. Years later and pizza is everywhere, and most of those places it’s pretty good, around the world. In fact, and this is amazing, the very best pizza I’ve ever had was from a newer place in that small town – Bush’s Pizza in Bull Shoals. Don’t know if it’s still that good, but if you’re down there (probably bass fishing) give it a try.

  4. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    interesting that the “red stuff”, the recipe calls for is “chili sauce” and not plain “tomato sauce”. Is this derived from Cincinnati-spaghetti that is doused in chili rather than tomato sauce?
    I’m not saying Aliens were involved, but aliens were involved (the year is not just coincidental)

  5. jerthebarbarian says

    Eh. Still sounds better than the Chef-Boy-Ardee stuff they tried to pass off as pizza when I was a kid.

    (Actually, this is basically an open-faced ham and cheese sandwich. Replace the catsup with a nice mustard and add some dill pickle and I’d bet this would taste pretty good. With the right kind of cheese of course.)

  6. Menyambal says

    When I was packing my lunch to school in the 60s, my mom made rounds of puffy bread dough, smeared on some tomato sauce, and sprinkled on twigs of dried herbs. I don’t remember what it tasted like, but it was awkward to eat in front of other students.

  7. blf says

    Amusingly, just this winter I’ve sometimes made a simple, as yet unnamed, dish which has a loose similarity to the OP’s recipe: Heat up yer pizza stone in the oven. Whilst it’s heating up, whack off a medium-to-thick slice of bread (I’ve used several varieties, but a coarse organic multigrain seems to work quite well), and drizzle on one side with a bit of olive oil. Add a “topping” on the oiled side, usually some salami and/or slices of Prosciutto. Wrestle some cheese away from the mildly deranged penguin, clean off and return the feathers et al, and layer the remaining cheese on top. Drizzle some more olive oil over the topping. Place on the now-hot pizza stone (oiled / topping side up), and roast for a few minutes.

    I keep meaning to try adding some sun-dried tomatoes (the slightly moist type, I cannot think of what they are called at the moment), but either forget or don’t have any. (Probably due to them aliens at Roswell.) There’s also that can of sardines which might make an interesting variation… although it has just taken off again and is zipping about the place making beep beep noises and seems extraordinarily interested in the ‘phone…

  8. drjuliebug says

    Being one of those ethnic New Englanders, I grew up eating actual pizza at home. My Italian American mom made her own sauce, often from tomatoes that her father or brother had canned from one of their gardens. Sometimes she made pizza dough from scratch; if she didn’t have time for that, she’d buy fresh dough from a nearby pizzeria (they weren’t chains in those days!) and roll it out herself. If she was REALLY in a rush, she’d make what she called “hurry-up pizza”, which was toast with all of the standard pizza toppings finished under the broiler. Even the toast-based version was always good.

    Then, in seventh grade, I had to take home ec, and the teacher had us make “pizza” with English muffins, some kind or another of processed cheese, and TOMATO PASTE. Some of my classmates seemed to like it. I choked it down politely, and then never made nor ate anything resembling that mess again.

  9. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    re 9:
    reminds me of the more recent mishmash called “bagel pizzas”, where instead of dough, a bagel will be used as the substrate for the tomato sauce and cheese (with an optional pepperoni thrown on).

  10. Athywren - This Thing Is Just A Thing says

    Peezuh? Purtzurr? Pete Czar?!
    No… no, I don’t understand this thing. What is this… “peet-sa” thing of which you speak?

  11. Athywren - This Thing Is Just A Thing says

    @slithey tove, 10

    (with an optional pepperoni thrown on)

    Surely, if it’s only one, it would be an optional pepperono?

  12. markgisleson says

    PZ, I’ll never forgive you for sharing the secret traditional Norwegian-American recipe for pizza!

  13. Larry says

    Well, unlike most recipes from the 40s and 50s, it doesn’t call for Cream of Mushroom soup, so it does have that going for it.

  14. tbp1 says

    From #6: Still sounds better than the Chef-Boy-Ardee stuff they tried to pass off as pizza when I was a kid.

    My father was in the retail grocery brokerage business. One of the things he sold was Chef-Boy-Ardee, so we got it for free. He always sent a bunch with me when I went off to college in the fall (Kool-Aid, too). I never told him that even free I wouldn’t eat it. I gave it (and the Kool-Aid) away to other students in the apartment building.

    (Didn’t you used to be able to do block quotes and stuff here? It’s all disappeared, at least from my computer.)

  15. F.O. says

    As an Italian, I learned the hard way to eat Italian food only in Italy.
    My friends here in Oz dragged me kicking and screaming to an “wood fire oven” “pizza” place and I resent them to this day.
    There’s plenty of great local food everywhere you go.
    Also, don’t get me started on the thing that Americans call “pizza”.

    As an aside, no Italian native wants to work in a pizzeria in Italy, so the best pizza makers in Italy are from Turkey and Egypt.

  16. unclefrogy says

    that recipe illustrates the state of American cooking and taste pre . Julia Childes and the french chief.

    uncle frogy

  17. chigau (違う) says

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  18. blf says

    with an optional pepperoni thrown on

    Surely, if it’s only one, it would be an optional pepperono?

    And if jumps off: pepperonohno.

  19. tbp1 says

    “As an aside, no Italian native wants to work in a pizzeria in Italy, so the best pizza makers in Italy are from Turkey and Egypt.”

    Well, I know that the NYC restaurant trade (and that in several other US cities) would dry up and blow away without Mexicans working at every level, so there might be an element of truth here, but my wife and I spent several weeks in Italy a couple of years ago, and we had LOTS of pizza in places run and staffed by Italians, in cities ranging from Venice to Sicily.

  20. LanceR, JSG says

    I remember when the stepmom tried to be sneaky and get us to eat our vegetables. She had heard of this “peet-sa” thing that all the kids were eating, and had a lot of extra zucchini. (If you’re from the midwest, you know… there is *always* extra zucchini). She whipped up a lovely “Zucchini Pizza” for us.

    We were horrified at the sight of a thin crust, smeared with some sort of oil, covered in slices of zucchini. No sauce to flavor the crust. No cheese to hide the zucchini. An abomination to my 7 year old mind. Needless to say, we wouldn’t eat it, and she never tried to make pizza again.

  21. carlie says

    Sauce on top pizza is called “upside down pizza” and is a minor trendy thing around here. I don’t like it.

    My son invented what he calls “mini pizzas” – he takes pepperoni slices and carefully puts a small dollop of pizza sauce on top of each one, then a little sprinkling of cheese.

  22. says

    At one point I was trying to fuse lasagna and pizza, to create a whole new way of stopping people’s hearts. But then I realized the danger if that technology fell into the hands of evil.

  23. says

    Well, I used to have an American housemate who would eat spaghetti with ketchup (I love the spelling catsup) and untoasted white wonderbread and then tried to tell me that this was real Italian food.
    I must add that he was also an idiot who in half a year did either not understand or not bother to understand that in Europe you generally can’t throw your leftovers into the sink because there’s nothing to grind it down.
    He also stole my eggs.

    For a very quick pizza use some Pilsbury buns, you know the stuff in a can. Press flat and add topping. Great fun for kids as they can make their own.

  24. mostlymarvelous says

    In Australia, the quick and easy approach to not-really-pizza is to use pita bread.

    When the kids were young, we often indulged in “home-made” pizza by the simple expedient of buying uncooked dough from the local bakery then letting the kids choose whatever they wanted to put on top. Generally they finished up a bit overloaded.

    Then, a fan.tas.tic. Italian bakery opened up about the same distance away in the opposite direction. (We always use the Chinese restaurant test – if most of the customers are from the country in question, the food’s probably OK.) We’d line up along with all the little old Italian nonnas who could barely speak any English buying lunch. Thin pizzas, perfectly cooked – I like finely sliced potato over a barely there swipe of passata, rosemary sprinkled on top, but the rest were equally simple. They also sold an excellent line in cannolis for dessert, though they didn’t make them, I think one of the afore-mentioned little old nonnas did that.

  25. congenital cynic says

    I’d say that the recipe is a reflection of what non-Italians knew about pizza in 1947. It sounds pretty disgusting to me. We make a LOT of pizza here, in a lot of different styles, and that would not go over well with my crowd of eaters. Mostly we do thin crust simple pizzas with tomato sauce, fresh mozza balls, basil, some coarse salt and a drizzle of olive oil. They are fantastic. But we do other variations that are also great.

    I’ve had good pizza in a lot of places, but two are standouts. One was a small pizzeria in Bussy-St.George, just a little outside of Paris (run and staffed by Italians) that produced an array of really great thin crust pizzas, and the other was Olives in Austin, Texas. Best vegetarian pizza ever, and I make it at home frequently.

    When I think back to the Kraft pizzas that my mother used to make out of the box, I cringe. Those things were hideous. I see that they still make them. I wonder if they are as deplorable now as they were in the 60s. If I were given one of those, I’d be like the earlier commenter who said he gave away the Chef-Boy-r-Dee pizza kits. Just couldn’t eat it.

    When we make pizza, it’s a triple batch of dough (does about 7 x 18″ pizzas) and we have the production down to an art form. Ok, I’m getting hungry now, and may have to make pizza this weekend.

  26. says

    It’s an abominable recipe; but compared to the British post-war diet it’s practically 3-star Michelin. It’s also no surprise that Americans didn’t really get pizza back then; my wife comes from a small town in Piedmont (the Italian region, not the towns in various parts of the USA). Her parents had never even heard of pizza until they went to Naples on their honeymoon in the late 1950s, and southern Italians who moved north to work for FIAT were just as confused by the food they found in Piedmont.

  27. kevskos says

    To Marcus Ranum @27

    A local restaurant here in Yuma makes a spaghetti pizza. One slice is enough.

  28. blf says

    A local restaurant here in Yuma makes a spaghetti pizza. One slice is enough.

    How does one slice spaghetti?
    The mildly deranged penguin speculates that a chainsaw might work, despite me pointing out the objective seems to be to slice it, rather than splatter it…