Superfluous Cheese

You just took charge of ordering some pizzas for the group. Good job – leadership is to be commended! Okay, time to take a quick poll of what toppings we want:

  • Plenty of pepperoni votes… sure thing
  • A vegetarian pie? I suppose that’s fair… this is a democratic process after all
  • Half olives and half bacon… why not? Let’s go a bit nuts
  • Extra cheese? Really? You’re joking, right? YOU’RE JOKING, RIGHT!?!?!?!

Wanna be a true leader? Then join me, Rod Budget, in systematically weeding out and publicly shaming the “Extra Cheesers” and their absurd ideologies. We’ve all seen them in action, sheepishly putting forth extra cheese as a lame “topping” suggestion. The Extra Cheesers span all demographic and psychographic categories: moms, kids, wealthy, rural, dog lovers, cat lovers, stamp collectors, left handed camping enthusiasts. Well, they do have one thing in common: a serious lack of pizza knowledge, respect, and reverence.

Listen, I’m no cheese hater. Quite the opposite… I love cheese. I love cheese on crackers, with wine, on burgers, in omelettes, melted, not melted, shredded, cubed with toothpick extrusions, even that cheap powder-based nacho cheese stuff is absolutely 100% delicious. But listen up, Extra Cheesers of the world. Come in here real close so Uncle Rod can whisper a nice little secret in your ear. Ready? Okay, good. THE PIZZA ALREADY COMES WITH CHEESE!!! AT NO EXTRA CHARGE!!! JUST LOOK AT ALL THE WONDERFUL CHEESE! THEY CAN’T GIVE YOU ENOUGH!!!

“But Rod, I really really just love cheese!” Okay, fine. You’re a cheese addict and don’t mind using up a precious topping and paying for even more cheese. Well, I hate to break it to you, but here are three additional harsh realities:

  1. Do you really think whoever is making your pizza is taking the time to measure out the “general” cheese versus the “extra” cheese? I’ve observed my fair share of pizzas being prepped, whether it be craning my neck at Dominoes or Little Caesars to get a good view of the kitchen, or taking a “behind the scenes” tour of my local Pizza Hut. (Is this still a thing? I remember being given a tour as a kid maybe as a school thing or a youth baseball thing… one of the highlights of my life.)  But back to the point: this cheese thing isn’t exactly an exact science. I don’t recall ever seeing a measuring cup in any of these pizza kitchens. In fact, I recall an extremely hectic scene involving teenage workers haphazardly scattering cheese across a crust via their hands. The whole cheese distribution thing took about half a second. Do you really think these workers are going back to the cheese bin an extra two or three times to assure you’re actually getting extra cheese? Oh, they are? You think so? Well…
  2. Then prove it!  Maybe there are people who have taken the time to measure a non-extra-cheese pie versus an extra-cheese pie, plunging a ruler deep into the abyss of cheese and recording the findings. I’ve never seen it done, though. Even worse: I don’t think the Extra Cheesers are even inspecting their bounty for any sort of quality assurance. They open the box, see cheese, and dive right in. But as we’ve already established, there’s going to be some cheese no matter what!!  Here’s the bottom line: If I order pepperoni, open the box, and don’t see numerous red round meat objects adorning the pizza, I know there is a major problem. It’s a pretty easy double check. Not so with extra cheese, my friends, although I’ll reveal a ground-breaking suggestion at the end of this essay.
  3. Can you REALLY taste the difference anyway? Extra Cheesers of the world, if you’re starting to question the validity of your topping strategy at this point, I think it’s worth asking the hard question. Can you really stand up before me, Rod Budget, and say, “Yes, I’ve had standard cheesed pizza, and I’ve had extra cheesed pizza… there is a clear and distinct difference between the two.”  Maybe you can, but I have my doubts. You know what I don’t doubt, though? I’ve had a pepperoni pizza and a non-pepperoni pizza, and I can say with certainty that there is a clear and distinct difference between the two.

One thing I want to make clear: my anti-extra-cheese stance does NOT apply to ordering a different KIND of cheese on a pizza. If you want to order cheddar as a topping, or a 5-cheese specialty blend, that’s perfectly acceptable. Even Mr. Budget enjoys a nice cheese blend from time-to-time.

The Rod Budget proposed scientific experiment solution hypothesis buster:

  1. Order a large pizza from your favorite local establishment
  2. Get one half “plain” and the other half “extra cheese”
  3. Observe the pizza. Measure pizza quantity and depth on each side

Can you identify the extra cheesy side? Take pictures! Let’s see! Prove me wrong!  I’ll likely be conducting this experiment myself in the near future.

– Rod Budget