Duncan Barkes on our lazy attitude towards food

HAT is this country’s obsession with pizza and pasta all about?

Two recent developments should leave gastronomes everywhere utterly depressed at the state of the nation’s taste buds.

I was minding my own business the other evening and trying to ignore the brain-numbing television offering that is Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway, when an advert popped up for the latest culinary car crash from Pizza Hut. The Cheeseburger Pizza Crust is now available.

The website says it all: ‘When eating out, there is always a choice – burger or pizza? Now you don’t have to make that choice!’

I am not sure if they can genuinely use the word ‘pizza’ in describing this muck.

It looks the creation of a chef with ADHD on a bad acid trip. But doesn’t it tell you everything you need to do about our attitude to food?

Presumably, the company carried out market research before launching the product and must have received the thumbs up from potential customers. That people actually like the idea of pizza somehow combined with burgers makes me think that the taste buds of these would-be munchers should be forcibly removed and given to those who actually appreciate food. Food, not chemically enhanced and processed fat.

It’s not a pizza. Wander into a restaurant in Italy and you will find proper cooks making dough, producing a thin base and adding a simple topping of fresh ingredients. That’s a pizza. This latest offering from Pizza Hut is simply satisfying the gluttonous demands of obese Britons who would not know a decent dish if it smacked them in the chops.

The pizza has become far removed from its beginnings in this country, but the obsession continues.

The word down the road in Chichester is that the latest addition to the restaurant scene will be yet another Italian-themed outlet.

How many venues knocking out plates of pasta and pizza does one place need?

And just who is eating this stuff, anyway?

In Italy, pasta is not a meal – it is merely a course ahead of the meat and vegetables main event. My mother never considered pizza to be proper food and I do not know anyone over the age of 60 who does.

The explosion in pizza and pasta restaurants is indicative of this country’s poor and lazy attitude to food. Put enough salt, sugar and fat in a bowl of gruel and I doubt many would be able to tell the difference.

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