The other night, my husband said he was going to make pizza. What kind, he asked. Pineapple and ham, I said without hesitation. They’re small, he said, so anything else? Pepperoni and pineapple. That’s what Sam Panopoulos likes.
We had a can of pineapple rings and ham slices. No pepperoni but nice salami. And black olives. Jim said one of the best pizzas he ever had was a Hawaiian with black olives.
- Store-bought pizza crusts (these are 9″ flatbreads)
- then pizza sauce from a can,
- shredded mozzarella, and
- toppings – pineapple chunks, ham pieces (or sliced salami or pepperoni), sliced black olives
- bake about 20 minutes at 375°F
Thank you, Mr. Panopoulos, they were delicious.
Sam Panopoulos is the inventor of the Hawaiian pizza. Since 1982 he has lived in London, Ontario where he owned the Family Circle Restaurant on Wellington Street. Its website says it’s family-owned, his family, I assume.
Before that, he ran the Satellite restaurant in Chatham, Ontario. There, in 1962, he came up with the idea of pineapple chunks on pizza. He liked it and, while not an immediate hit with his customers, he kept ham and pineapple pizza on offer. Eventually it took off and now is a standard item in pizza places.
Mr. Panopoulos told CBC’s As It Happens that he is retired now and doesn’t even make pizza for himself. He likes Dr. Oetker’s frozen pizzas. A great testimony for them, and I agree with him.
Hawaiian pizza and Mr. Panopoulos were in the news last week. It started with a furor over a tweet by a political leader. For once, not Donald Trump. Rather the President of Iceland, Guðni Th. Jóhannesson.
President Jóhannesson put it out there for the world that he did not like pineapple on pizza. That if he had the power, he would ban pineapple on pizza. But he doesn’t have the power. And that’s a good thing. “I would not want to hold this position if I could pass laws forbidding that which I don’t like. I would not want to live in such a country. For pizzas, I recommend seafood.”
Seafood on pizza? Ok, that’s weird. I thought his tweet was perhaps allegorical. A small reminder to, oh maybe Donald Trump, that personal opinion shouldn’t be the basis for policy making. But evidently it came from a classroom Q & A about pizza preferences. Sometimes a topping is just a topping. But I still think it’s a good allegory.
While googling, I came across a Guardian article from March 2015. The Pizzeria Boccalino in Lausanne, Switzerland politicized their pizzas by naming them after world leaders and celebrities. The Barack Obama included pineapple. What would be on a Donald J. Trump pizza, I wonder.
Update: Sadly, Mr. Panopoulos died June 8, 2017 in London ON. He will be greatly missed but his legacy, in his family and his pizza, will live on.