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Crimes against pizza – 3. Banana pizza

14 Nov

Someone, maybe this guy, once put pineapple on a pizza and, for some strange reason, it stuck. The Hawaiian is a much derided but long-established pizza tradition. At the Australian Women’s Weekly, some bright spark thought they might have the same success with bananas, and so they put salty fish, savoury tomatoes, stringy cheese and sweet bananas together on a buttery bread base. It did not stick, it just stunk, and, as a result, is our third documented case in the crimes against pizza series…

Banana pizza

Crime number 3: Banana Pizza

Accomplice: Australian Women’s Weekly, in a special Banana Cook Book, which may, or may not, have been advertorial.

Date of crime: Wednesday 25 February 1970

Modus Operandi:

Yeast Dough

1 ½ cups plain flour
pinch salt
½ oz. compressed yeast
½ teaspoon sugar
¼ cup milk
1 beaten egg
1 oz. butter or substitute


½lb. tomatoes
1 small can anchovy fillets
little milk
1 dessertspoon oil
½ teaspoon oregano
1 small onion
¼ cup tomato paste
4 oz. grated gruyere cheese
2 medium bananas

Yeast Dough: Sift flour and salt into bowl, add sugar. Dissolve crumbled yeast in warmed milk, add beaten egg. Stir yeast mixture into dry ingredients, blend well. Cream butter and work it into the dough. Cover bowl and stand in warm place 40 minutes or until doubled in bulk. Press dough into 9in. pie plate or on to base of 9 in. sandwich tin.

Filling: Peel and slice tomatoes. Soak anchovy fillets in a little milk ½ hour; drain. Heat oil in frying pan, add chopped onion and oregano fry 2 to 3 minutes. Place tomato slices in centre of dough. Arrange peeled and sliced bananas in a ring round edge. Spread tomato paste over them. Sprinkle with fried onion and grated cheese, arrange anchovy fillets on top. Bake in hot oven 30 minutes. Serves 4.

Evidence: See image above. Plus this quote:

Banana Pizza, a new variation of this popular dish, combines the good flavor of bananas with cheese, tomatoes, and anchovy.

Verdict: You can make the presentation as pretty as you like, but once you’ve spread bananas with tomato paste you’ve gone rogue. The banana pizza is guilty of badly imitating an already dubious trend – that of combining fruit with savoury ingredients, as well as claiming such a concoction to be edible.

Sentence: Rehabilitation. Get rid of the fish, cheese and tomato paste, replace with nutella, chuck bananas on top of it and call it a dessert pizza. Not traditional, but, unlike the previous incarnation, actually pretty delicious.

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  • “Banana Cook Book.” The Australian Women’s Weekly, 25 February 1970, 127.

Crimes against pizza – 2. Copha Pizza

4 Nov

I don’t know about you but when I see the words “Real Italian Pizza” I don’t expect them to be followed by “made in minutes – with Copha!”

Real Italian Pizza made with Copha

It’s not that I object to that greasy white slab of 100% fat. Copha does have a place in society – and that’s hardening the young ‘uns arteries in party treats like chocolate crackles and white Christmas. It certainly should not be in pizza dough, especially not with Deb Instant Potato Flakes and 1 cup of boiling milk. Seriously, I couldn’t make this stuff up. It’s not just wrong, it’s, well, criminal:

Crime number 2: Copha Pizza

Accomplice: Australian Women’s Weekly (for all the good AWW has done for Australian food, they’ve certainly done their fair share of bad…)

Date of crime: Wednesday 24th April 1968

Motive: With 97 – 100% saturated fat, surely it’s to make more of us have heart attacks. And sell more copha. And sell more Deb Instant Potato Flakes.

Modus Operandi:

Neapolitan Pizza

3 oz. Copha, chopped
1 level tspn. salt
1 cup (8 oz.) boiling milk
¾ cup Deb Instant Potato Flakes
1 egg
2 cups S.R flour
1 large tomato chopped
1 x 5 oz. can Rosella Tomato Paste
1 level tspn. each of salt, basil, oregano
1 can anchovy fillets
6 olives
3 tblspns grated Picorino (sic) cheese


DOUGH: Place Copha, salt and boiling milk into a basin and stir until Copha is melted. Mix through Deb Flakes. Cool. Beat in egg, then flour and form a dough. Knead lightly on a floured board, divide into six portions. Press out each portion of dough thinly until it is 5” diameter. Place onto greased oven tray. Spread with topping and decorate with anchovy fillets, sliced olives and cheese. Bake in a hot oven (500°F, electric, 450°F gas) for 15 minutes.

TOPPING: Place tomato, tomato paste, salt and herbs into a saucepan. Heat together for 3 minutes, cool.

Evidence: Instructions for Copha Pizza

Pizza made with Copha

Verdict: Guilty of six counts of perverting the integrity of pizza – use of Copha, use of Instant mashed potatoes, use of the words “Real Italian Pizza”, calling the recipe “Neapolitan pizza”, incorrect spelling of pecorino (picorino) and claiming the dish to be “delizioso”.

Sentence: Chocolate crackles should not have to pay the price for this crime so the sentence is suspended on condition of never seeing Copha claiming a place in a regional Italian recipe ever again. Or any recipe outside of chocolate crackles and white Christmas, for that matter.

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  • “Real Italian Pizza made in minutes – with Copha!” Australian Women’s Weekly,  24th April 1968, p 64.

Crimes against pizza – 1. Vita Brits Pizza

2 Nov
Vita Brits Pizza

Vita Brits Pizza - A criminal act?

For too long now, the pizza – that most humble of Neapolitan inventions – has been the target of overzealous recipe writers, “creative” chefs and idiot advertising types who think it is best made with canned dough and served with teriyaki sauce, chicken, pineapple, and both fetta and cheddar cheese.

While there have been many moves to defend the pizza, mostly from Italians concerned that their culinary heritage is being destroyed, little has been done to name and shame the worst perpetrators of these horrifying and indecent acts.

Over the next few weeks, this special Lamingtons & Lasagna investigation promises to open cold cases where the rights of the pizza were trampled over, its victim impact statement never heard. Until now, that is.

While Lamingtons & Lasagna does not advocate a return to culinary luddism – where what was authentic was sometimes even deadly – the “pizzas” in this series have jumped the shark, or, as the kids these days might say, nuked the fridge, from imaginative interpretations to crimes against cuisine.

So, without further ado:

Crime number 1: Vita Brits Pizza

Accomplice: Australian Women’s Weekly

Date of crime: Wednesday 15 October 1958

Motive: There’s only so much money a company can make selling breakfast food for breakfast. But if they give you “delicious, new round-the-clock recipes” which mean you can enjoy “different and delicious luncheon or supper treats”, then they can make a lot more money.

Modus Operandi: “Butter VITA BRITS (use one or two VITA BRITS per serve) and place them on a greased oven tray. Place thin slices of cheese on each VITA BRIT. Cover this with a little well-drained tinned tomato, or peeled fresh tomato slices. Season with salt and pepper and top with another thin slice of cheese; dot with a very little butter. Bake in moderate oven about 10 minutes or until cheese has melted and slightly browned. If desired anchovies may be added (one fillet for each serve).”

Evidence: Vita Brits Pizza

Verdict: Guilty

Sentence: Never eat Vita Brits again (which is fine, because I prefer Weet-Bix anyway).

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  • “Delicious, new round the clock recipes.” The Australian Women’s Weekly, 15 October 1958, 75.