In his latest book, the restaurateur and architect Marco Celeschi proposed a journey through half-truths and obvious fake news about the dish that made Italy famous all around the world
He is an architect who designs pizzas rather than houses, an outsider thrown by chance into the restoration world, a man who turned his grandparents’ country house into a holiday farm. He hasn’t inherited his profession, he had to study, learn and work hard to reach the hearth of what would become his field: the one of restoration, precisely. This is what pushed Marco Celeschi, the owner of pizzeria Corte dei Medici in Catania, to write his book How much do you know about pizza?, published by Bonfirraro Editore on the 31st January 2019. It consists of 186 pages and it is aimed to deny seven false myths about pizza and to give some piece of valuable information back to customers, who are bombarded with fake news. And that’s because quality is always a matter of responsibility and a moral duty to play down the many lies about food circulating circulate through web and TV and alarming people. Let’s discover these seven false myths together.
FINE-GROUNDED FLOUR IS POISONING. This is the queen of fake news and the most clicked one, according to the chef. Fine-grounded flour originates from the inner part of the grain of wheat, whereas other types of flour originate from the outer part. Despite of to what is thought, this makes it less damaging, as outer parts (even if they are rich in fiber) could absorb some remains of pesticides.
PIZZA MAKES YOU FAT. Here’s another cliché. Does eating fewer carbohydrates help people who want to lose weight? Not really. As the author affirms, it’s just a matter of balance and knowledge about daily caloric intake. We shouldn’t forget that a Mediterranean diet, rich in carbohydrates, stands for longevity. In fact, many scholars, surprised by the number of senior citizens in Southern Italy, analyzed their nutrition and noticed that, for instance, diabetes and cholesterol were absent there, while frequent in the U.S.
BLACK PIZZAS AND HIGH-PROTEIN DOUGHES. Another false “culinary trend” concerns the production of “black” pizza and of bread made with charcoal. Basically, the charcoal is expected to help digestion, while it has some absorbent properties that clean intestine from junk food, but it also stifles some nutrients – that’s why it should be banned.
STARTER VS. BREWER’S YEAST. Spending an evening in a pizzeria and then drinking all night long: this happens because of yeast. The chef listed the two main processes that help making a good pizza: leavening and maturation. The first, as it is well known, inflates the dough, while the second one is the process by which enzymes separate starches and gluten in many small molecules, facilitating digestion and avoiding people drinking liters of water. As you can see, it has nothing to do with the type of yeast you choose.
ANCIENT GRAINS ARE THE BEST. According to the author, another myth to dispel is connected to the term “ancient”, which would recall a thousand-year old grains, while actually many of these grains date back to 100 years ago. Moreover, here is the most popular slogan: «Ancient grains contain fewer gluten», a statement not based on science. Consequently, it is wrong to say that using ancient grains is suitable for people with celiac disease.
IDEOLOGY OF FARM-TO-TABLE. Celeschi analyzed the paradoxes about the connection between distance and environmental sustainability typical of farm-to-table culture, as, for example, moving from a local shop to another or renouncing to large retailers only increases petrol consumption. Not to mention that, compared to small traders, larger ones know more efficient ways to have a minor impact on the environment.
HIGH-TEMPERATURE COOKED PIZZA IS CANCER-CAUSING. Another form of alarmism is is linked to the presence of charred parts, often identified as cancer-causing. Even if the writer declares that every charred food does contain damaging parts, he refers to the main thrust of the book: it’s all about quantity. Therefore, eating a little charred piece of pizza would not undermine your health.
Translated by Daniela Marsala