Pizza originated in Naples, Italy with a bread crust topped with cheese and maybe some spices. New World tomatoes made it snappier, and it became an American staple that is now popular worldwide. But every culture puts its own stamp on pizza. New Yorker Johan Kugelberg was most impressed with the weirdness of pizza toppings offered in Sweden. They include raisins, bananas, canned fruit cocktail, Bearnaise sauce, mashed potatoes, peanuts, etc. And it gets weirder.
It is hard to understand how all this began, but I have a couple of theories: There's plentiful anecdotal evidence that the first slew of 30-odd pizza restaurants that opened in Sweden were all owned by the same family, who saw a splendid business opportunity notwithstanding that their ethnic culinary roots weren't in the dish purveyed. Therefore, any authenticity and ethnic integrity of the dish offered went into immediate free-fall, as the inherent understanding that we all have within us in regards to the traditional foods of our country of origin were very much not at all in place here. Instead, anything anyone ever wanted as a pizza-topping at any point (including when very drunk) was unceremoniously placed upon the pie, notwithstanding how people from Naples or Rome or New York City or the Jersey Shore would feel about its interplay with a culinary tradition.
It snowballed/escalated from here: Anything that seemed exotic or exclusive would end up as a culinary titillation: something that seemed like a good idea to eat at the time.
Kugelberg posts lists of suggested pizza toppings available at various pizzerias in Sweden, and theorizes about the meaning of it all. Link -via Gawker
The pizza shown here contains prawns, banana, mozzarella, peanuts, paprika, and yoghurt. (Image credit: Flickr user Tom Paton)