My dad lifted up the chair cushion to reveal something he never imagined he’d have to confront with his six-year-old son. It must have sprung up at him like a jack-in-the-box due to the sheer amount of force the mass of plastic sheets that existed between the base of the chair and the cushion that acted as the seal.
I had an obsession. And that obsession was with Kraft Singles. One by one, I’d steal them from our refrigerator and release them from their plastic wrapping before folding and devouring them at a clip that would make most people throw up. Ashamed of my infatuation with them, I feared what my parents would do should they see how many I was eating. I couldn’t simply put them in the trash, no, I took the wrappers and shoved them beneath the cushion of my favorite chair in between episodes of The Busy World of Richard Scarry and Gullah Gullah Island.
Upon revealing these wrappers, I had an overwhelming sense of shame that no six-year-old should ever have. I was addicted to cheese, and it was at that moment in my life that I realized I needed to scale back.
From that point forward, I limited my cheese intake. Unless it was a single piece on a sandwich or burger, or a cheese plate in front of me, I stopped eating plain cheese directly out of the wrapper. Yes, Kraft Singles are debatably not even real cheese, but when you’re that young, you have no idea what preservatives and imitation ingredients even mean.
Several entrees require cheese. Cheeseburgers, French onion soup, and most importantly, pizza. Cheese, simply put, is essential. A thick layer of mozzarella is vital to a good slice. Without it, it’s just a sheet of breadstick covered in vegetables. Gross. But the cheese is truly what makes pizza absolutely terrible for you. You have to limit how much melted cheese is actually on your slice or else it turns into an absolute mess.
Which is why I have to ask – why the hell are you psychos putting even more cheese onto your pizza? I’m not talking melted cheese. I’m talking that powdery shit that every single pizza place sets on the table next to the napkins. The imitation powder that you cover your pizza with making it look more like the ground of a snow globe rather than a little slice of heaven.
Like I said, I like cheese as much as the next person. It’s a necessity. But what do you actually get from creating a thick layer of powdered fake-cheese onto the top of your already cheesy pizza? Do you like the way it soaks up the grease? Do you enjoy adding calorie after calorie onto your slice? Are you so insane that you just can’t get enough fucking cheese?
I just don’t fundamentally understand the point of it. With so many flavors already in the mix, the tasteless powder that we wrongly dub as legitimate parmesan just isn’t pivotal to making your piece of pizza taste that much better. Yet, no matter where I go, there are two things every single place has as garnishes: red pepper flakes and parmesan powder.
I get the red pepper flakes. Some people want some extra spice, some heat. If the greater group is refusing to add some jalapeños to the pizza, you simply grab those red pepper flakes and sprinkle them liberally all over your pizza. It serves a purpose.
But what doesn’t serve a purpose? Parmesan. The completely overboard and unnecessary topping that is now considered standard protocol.
I’m not calling for a halt to this practice. I simply want an explanation. I want to know why exactly we’ve made this practice a societal norm. Why are we drenching our pizza in powder? Why are we adding a completely random topping to an already full piece of pizza? It’s not only an insult to pizza, but an insult to the chef who has to sit in the kitchen and watch a bunch of idiots throw powder everywhere like they’re LeBron before a home game.
To quote the legendary band Lit, “Please tell me why.” .