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Pineapple belongs on pizza—here’s why

By Brooke Villanueva Published May 22, 2022 6:48 pm

If the great Gordon Ramsay says “You don’t put f—king pineapple on pizza,” then so be it, right? It would take a lot of courage for one to contest it. He’s THE Gordon Ramsay, after all—the man who has been known not only for his culinary expertise but also his brutal honesty when it comes to every dish he tries. 

But today, I’m feeling braver than usual. Let me take advantage of this beautiful moment by daring to say, just this once, that this yellow tropical fruit does belong on pizza.

To pineapple or not? 

To pineapple or not? This has been a topic of controversy in the food scene for decades. 

According to a BBC report, the first Hawaiian pizza started back in 1962 at a restaurant in Ontario, Canada. The owner Sam Panopoulos, a Greek immigrant, took inspiration from Asian cuisine, which showcases the goodness of sweet and savory hints. Making use of canned pineapple, he decided to make his own take that he did not expect to become a hot thing in different parts of the globe. BBC stated that it was just called such as the canned fruit brand itself was called “Hawaiian.”

Since it’s a bold mix, it didn’t take long for it to spark a divide among pizza lovers. Some say that since pineapples are acidic and pizza itself already carries a tomato base as well as cheese toppings, eating them together could be disgusting not only to your tastebuds, but also to your system. Another argument is that pineapple is a special kind of berry. “Who puts berries on pizza?” some ask with a familiar judge-y look on their faces. 

I am one with Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and those on the other side of the spectrum in favor of having pineapples as pizza toppings. 

While I’m not a fan of fruits, I consider pineapple as a good palate cleanser during pizza parties. It provides this crowd favorite with a much-needed balance no matter its flavor, avoiding any kind of overwhelm from the cheese and other ingredients. Somehow, it also serves as a “dessert.” 

Just recently, I’ve found that there’s a logical explanation for this. It’s possible to sense more than one of the five basic tastes—sweet, salty, bitter, sour, and savory/umami—at the same time. There are even moments when all of them are triggered in one bite. Such a blend produces some sort of a “layering effect,” which multiplies the fun and goodness of the food, depending on how many tastes are activated.

Barb Stuckey, a professional food developer, stated it in her own book TASTE: Surprising Stories and Science About Why Food Tastes Good: “We like sweet because it signals calories, or energy, to us. And we like salt because we need it for normal bodily function. We have no sodium storage system, as we do with other minerals (i.e. we store calcium in our bones), so Mother Nature’s solution is a built-in craving for it. The combination of these two positive biological responses is very pleasurable.” 

“To use an analogy, it’s akin to hearing beautiful music while sniffing rose petals: two positive sensory stimuli,” she added.

To put it simply, it’s similar to other combos we can’t get enough of: salted caramel, ube and cheese, potato chips and chocolate, fries and ice cream, and the list goes on. Offerings like these take the complexity to another level, which, in turn, introduces a new adventure to the taste buds and makes it seem better than the conventional and sometimes dull. 

It’s also obvious that pineapples come with a myriad of health benefits. Just a cup of it (around 165 grams), according to trusted medical website Healthline, could give you various nutrients like phosphorus, zinc, calcium, and vitamins. Since it’s a great source of Vitamin C, it’s good for the immune system. The manganese it also has provides antioxidants that fight diseases and improves digestion. 

At this point, pineapple on pizza haters are probably batting an eyelash. While even culinary greats like the savage Ramsay don’t believe in it, still, to each their own. And with the continued debate among passionate foodies and recent data showing that the most divisive pizza’s appeal remains, I can take comfort in knowing that pineapples will always have a special place on this beloved comfort food—and it’s not going anytime soon.