Who invented the “Hawaiian” pizza?
Hawaiian pizza is a type of pizza originating in Canada, best known for having pineapple and either ham or bacon as toppings.
Hawaiian pizza is commonly considered controversial, provoking passionate and polarizing debate, mainly focused on the inclusion of pineapple.
Sam Panopoulos, a Greek-born Canadian, created the first Hawaiian pizza at the Satellite Restaurant in Chatham, Ontario, Canada in 1962. Inspired in part by his experience preparing Chinese dishes which commonly mix sweet and savory flavors, Panopoulos experimented with adding pineapple, ham, bacon, and other toppings. These additions were not initially very popular. The addition of pineapple to the traditional mix of tomato sauce and cheese, sometimes with ham or sometimes with bacon, soon became popular locally and eventually became a staple offering of pizzerias around the world. In regards to the naming of the dish, Panopoulos chose Hawaiian after the brand of canned pineapple they used.
In Germany, Hawaiian pizza is thought to be a variation of the ham, pineapple, and cheese-topped Toast Hawaii, originally introduced by Germany’s first TV cook Clemens Wilmenrod in 1955.
In 2014, Time listed Hawaiian pizza first on its list of “The 13 Most Influential Pizzas of All Time”.
In 2017, Icelandic president Guðni Th. Jóhannesson reportedly told a group of high school students during a Q&A that he was fundamentally opposed to the idea of putting pineapple on pizza. He added that he would ban pineapple as a pizza topping if he could, as long as he received 30% of the under 21 vote. His off-the-cuff remark generated a flurry of media coverage and inspired those who liked and disliked Hawaiian pizza to express their opinions on social media. Celebrities shared their preferences on the matter, including Canada’s prime minister, Justin Trudeau, who expressed support for Hawaiian pizza by tweeting: “I have a pineapple. I have a pizza. And I stand behind this delicious Southwestern Ontario creation.” Panopoulos, at that point retired from the restaurant business, was called upon by some media outlets to defend his creation. Guðni later clarified that he did not have the power to ban particular toppings on pizza and would not like to live in a country where the leader could ban anything he or she did not like.
American author John Green reflected on the dish’s cosmopolitan origins and reach, noting its Canadian invention by a Greek immigrant, inspired by Chinese cuisine to put a South American fruit on an Italian dish, which has gained its greatest popularity in Australia.
Hawaiian was the most popular pizza in Australia in 1999, accounting for 15% of pizza sales.
A 2015 review of independent UK takeaways operating through Just Eat found the Hawaiian pizza to be the most commonly available.
A 2016 Harris Poll survey of US adults had pineapple in the top three least favorite pizza toppings, ahead of anchovies and mushrooms.
According to a 2019 YouGov Omnibus survey, 12% of Americans who eat pizza say that pineapple is one of their top three favorite pizza toppings, and 24% say that pineapple is one of their least favorite toppings. It was not the most disliked topping, however, as ingredients were even more widely unpopular in the survey: anchovies and eggplant.
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Dan Nosowitz (4 June 2015), “Meet the 81-Year-Old Greek-Canadian Inventor of the Hawaiian Pizza”. 4 June 2015. accessed 19 May 2017
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Driesner, Heidi (24 January 2015). “”Toast Hawaii” wird 60″ (in German). n-tv. Retrieved 7 February 2017.
Foede, Petra (4 February 2011). “Es gibt keinen Toast auf Hawaii” (in German). Frankfurter Rundschau. Retrieved 7 February 2017.
Ganz, Rabea (5 August 2013). “Herrn Paulsens Deutschstunde: Toast Hawaii” (in German). Effilee. Retrieved 7 February 2017.
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Carman, Tim (April 23, 2019). “Pineapple on pizza is easy to hate — at least in theory”. Retrieved October 21, 2019.
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Larimer, Sarah (4 March 2017). “The pizza guy’s at the door. And he looks a lot like Alexander Ovechkin”. The Washington Post.
Larimer, Sarah (3 March 2017). “Capitals’ Ovechkin delivers pizza, says his favorite kind is Hawaiian”. The Washington Post.
Fecteau, Jessica (8 May 2017). “Is Pineapple Acceptable on Pizza? Justin Bieber, Paris Hilton and More Celebs Weigh In”. Time Inc.
Trudeau, Justin (Feb 24, 2017). “I have a pineapple. I have a pizza. And I stand behind this delicious Southwestern Ontario creation. #TeamPineapple @Canada”. Retrieved Jan 12, 2020.
Pant, Priyanka (26 February 2017). “When It Comes To Pizza Toppings, Canada’s PM Justin Trudeau Is #TeamPineapple”. NDTV.
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