|As is true for many cities, Chicago has more than one nickname. Some people call the downtown area Chicagoland, while others call it Chi Town.|
When you visit Chicago, the locals will tell you there are two things you must eat—the first is a Chicago hotdog and the second is a Chicago deep-dish pizza. Both were developed in the city, and its residents cannot get enough of them. The entire city is dotted with restaurants proclaiming they have the best pizza and/or hotdogs in town.
|Chicago Dog ... Hold the ketchup!|
The first, a Chicago dog, is a steamed beef frankfurter served on a poppy seed bun. The hotdog is slathered in yellow mustard and then topped with chopped onions, a spear of dill pickle, sweet pickle relish, chopped tomatoes, pickled peppers and a sprinkling of celery salt. When placing your order, you simply ask for a hotdog dragged through the garden. And you must, never EVER ask for ketchup on your hotdog. This is a big no-no. In fact, many restaurants will refuse to serve ketchup so that you cannot ruin what they consider to be perfection.
|Do you think this pizza looks like a cake?|
The second delicacy, Chicago deep-dish pizza, is sometimes called stuffed pizza. When you think of pizza, you probably envision a thin crust covered with tomato sauce and cheese with toppings added last. But Chicago pizza is a bit upside down from that. In the early 1940s a Chicago restaurateur decided to create a pizza that would require his patrons to use a knife and fork. He used a large cake pan to make the cornmeal and olive oil crust with an edge a couple of inches high. Then he cooked the crust until it was crispy. Deep inside the crust he piled toppings--often onions, peppers, and sausage. Next he layered cheese over the toppings before covering the entire pie with tomato sauce. A finished Chicago-style pizza looks a bit like a cake, and it does require a knife and fork to eat. When I was in Naples, Italy where pizza was invented, I learned that in Italy pizza is mostly about the thin crust with only a smear of tomato sauce and a sprinkling of spices. I wonder how native Italians would react if they were served a Chicago-style pizza.
|The late great Muddy Waters|