Sometimes you’ve just gotta call it. When is pizza not pizza? Now, we admit to a certain amount of pizza snobbery, but we can be reasonably flexible when it comes to defining the stuff. Still there’s a place to draw the line.

A long while back there was a cartoon (which I can’t find now) that showed three guys opening a cube-shaped box that read “PIZZA BALL – Just A Big Ball O’ Pizza!” One of the guys says, “I dunno, guys. Some things are just not pizza.” We know how he feels. So where do we call it? We thought we’d give you a list of things we know just aren’t pizza.

Pizza Not Pizza?

As a baseline, we start with Merriam-Webster’s  definition of pizza:  a dish made typically of flattened bread dough spread with a savory mixture usually including tomatoes and cheese and often other toppings and baked. Tell you what – let’s be even more liberal and go with a definition we’ve used before: some kind of flat bread with stuff on it. That leaves room for a lot of pizza (even matzoh pizza).

Pizza Flavored anything

pizza not pizza pirate bootyThis one’s pretty obvious. “Pizza Flavored” means “not pizza”. A lot of these things got cleaned up in the mid-2000’s, around the same time as pizza became a scene. Snack manufacturers started  changing the name of their tomato-oregano-garlic flecked snacks from “Pizza-Flavored” to “Tuscan Flavored.” Poor Tuscany.  There are still pizza-flavored snacks, like “New York Pizza” flavored Pirate’s Booty, which besides having the audacity to add “New York” to its name, is also gluten-free, adding to its “not pizza” status.pizza not pizza combos

Combos straddles the fence by choosing “Pizzeria Pretzel.” Whatever. It’s got nothing to do with pizza.

The Pizza Burrito

pizza burrito not pizza or burritoYes, it’s a thing. But it is neither pizza nor burrito.  The pizza burrito is being made and sold by Russo’s House of Pizza in Pearl River, NY. This travesty contains a  pizza, wrapped around meatball, pepperoni mozzarella sticks and chicken.  It weighs seven pounds. Rolling up a pizza means it’s not a “flat bread” and it’s stuffed with things that are not toppings. At best it’s an enormous Hot Pocket, and that’s not pizza either.

Hot Pockets

See above.

Cauliflower Crust Pizza

cauliflower pizza not pizzaOkay, the whole gluten-free pizza thing has gone on long enough. Yes, there are people with Celiac disease who cannot eat gluten, who must not eat real pizza. That doesn’t mean that we should call things pizza that aren’t. If pizza is a flatbread, that means “bread.” Cauliflower is not a grain. We’ve tasted the Trader Joe’s version; not bad but not pizza.

Other gluten-free pizzas are also not pizza, although we might be willing to concede that some are made from grains and an argument could be made. We’re listening.

Obviously this is a list that can keep growing. We’d also like to hear from those militant anti-gluten crusaders who still think they can call things “pizza.” Please use the comments below!

And you’ll note that we’re staying out of the whole Chicago Deep Dish thing…