Hold the pizza

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I read an article at CNN’s website that described the junk food junkie’s wildest dream come true — pizza as health food. It discussed a way in which chemists at the University of Maryland had found a method to enhance the antioxidant content of pizza dough to make it healthier to eat. Eureka! What great news for parents. Now we won’t feel guilty feeding our kids more of the flat stuff.

Of course, somebody failed to point out that pizza is actually pretty healthy as it is, provided you use decent ingredients and you eat it in relative modedation.

In a footnote to the article at CNN, the reader is informed that the study was funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and grain organizations. I imagine their motivation went something like this: if people are encouraged to eat more pizza, then manufacturers will buy more grain, farmers will make more money and everyone will be happy. I couldn’t help thinking that there is something a little queer with this strategy.

Wouldn’t it be great if instead, the grain organizations spent similar amounts of money and energy educating the public about, say, the nutritious benefits of cheese? After all, there are few finer things in life than a good slab of Brie with a French stick. Or maybe some fine cheddar melted on a slice of bread under a broiler. Or perhaps they could extol the virtues of piecrusts. There is no limit to what goodness might be found beneath one. Chicken and mushrooms, a medley of vegetables, fruit — need I go on?

I have little doubt these better-for-you pizzas will find their way into the school canteen in no time, alongside the hot dogs, burgers, fries, chips and sodas.

Sadly, in this bottom-line-led world, where governments seem to pay only lip service to our children’s health (and ours for that matter), it always comes down to the parents alone to lead the way. It’s a big responsibility, but it a hugely entertaining one if done well. I guess that’s really what GreatGrub is all about, in a way.

For me, by the way, I am really happy with my pizzas just the way they are, and I love the wonderful and eclectic range of breads I find in my local bakery (as do my children), and I am happy for them to eat plenty of it… balanced with other good stuff, of course.