Smart things to say about Signature Dishes: Hawaiian Pizza
It wasn’t made in Hawaii, nor invented by a Hawaiian, but that hasn’t stopped it spreading across the world
Italy may have given pizza to the world, but the world has made this winning combination of dough, tomatoes and cheese its own. Take the Hawaiian Pizza, an early 1960s confection that was actually first cooked by a pioneering, Greek-born chef in the snowier reaches of North America.
“The Hawaiian Pizza was invented almost 4,500 miles from the Polynesian source: the name hailed from the brand of canned fruit that Chatham, Ontario, restaurant owner Sam Panopoulos placed on a standard tomato-and-cheese pie ‘just for fun,’ alongside bits of chopped ham,” explains our new book, Signature Dishes that Matter. “The Greek immigrant and his brother weren’t exactly strangers to midcentury fusion: their casual restaurant served breakfast and burgers alongside Chinese food.”
It was the preparation of Chinese dishes that first inspired Panopoulos to mix sugary and savoury topping on his pizza pies, despite Ontario’s conservative culinary tendencies. “Those days nobody was mixing sweets and sours and all that,” our book quotes the chef, who died in 2017, as saying. “It was plain, plain food.”
His recipe caught on, perhaps because of the accompanying interior design trend, tiki, that had blossomed in Canada after World War II. Today the Hawaiian Pizza remains a popular, though not uncontroversial choice, across the world, as our book notes.
“2017, the Icelandic president told schoolchildren he would ban pineapple pizza if he could — a statement he later retracted by saying that he did not have the power. ‘Presidents should not have unlimited power,’ he wrote. ‘I would not want to live in such a country. For pizzas, I recommend seafood.’ Canadian president Justin Trudeau’s response? ‘I have a pineapple. I have a pizza. And I stand behind this delicious Southwestern Ontario tradition."
For more on the culinary creations that make up our modern world, order a copy of Signature Dishes That Matter. This gorgeous book reveals the closely held secrets behind the world's most iconic recipes - dishes that put restaurants on the map, from 19th century fine dining and popular classics, to today's most innovative kitchens, both high-end and casual. Find out more here.