This article was published in the Burkean before the General Election, now with another possible GE on the horizon, we share it with our readers

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Finding it difficult to make sense of #GE2020? Going by the fact that on a good day, about one out of every three voters won’t even bother voting, it looks like you’re not alone.

There is a theory that everything in life can be explained by….. pizza. Strange as it may seem, it’s an interesting idea that might help to shed some light on the largely inscrutable world of Irish politics. As they warn in the best docu dramas, any likeness to living political parties is purely coincidental….

Chez Leo is a smart southside (where else) pizzeria frequented by Ireland’s leading movers and shakers. Under head chef Leo, this chic eatery has earned a reputation as the home of authentic pizza in Ireland.  Here you will find the finest crusty thin base direct from a wood fired oven – none of your bog standard deep pan offerings here.

Little wonder then that Chez Leo is frequented by people who appreciate good pizza – NGO CEOs, the captains of industry and informed (friendly) journalists.

Head chef Leo takes a particular pride in running a socially progressive pizzeria. Gender quotas are in place for management although the same socially progressive initiative has yet to prove popular in the kitchen wash up. Head chef Leo commented that the only problem with running a pizzeria these days is – you can’t get waiting staff even when you pay them the minimum wage. Fortunately, a generous sprinkling of foreign waiting staff has not only alleviated the problem, but added to the pizzeria’s cachet as a diverse and trendy pizzeria. Who says globalism is all bad?

Pizza Fáil, the main opposition pizzeria, is located just down the street. Run by  genial head chef Michéal, the basic strategy here appears to be to check out the menu offerings of all the other pizzerias,  see what’s popular and then put that on the Pizza Fáil menu.

This pizzeria models itself less on a gourmet dining experience and more on the instincts of the club footballer for whom ball possession is everything. Everything is possible – but only when you have possession. Who needs fancy political ideology and overthinking anyway?

For Pizza Fáil, the key to a successful pizzeria lies with the toppings. Not surprisingly, the house special is a catch all with toppings as diverse as pepperoni, anchovies, sweet corn and even that Irish culinary pizza topping horror – pineapple.

Tiocfaidh Ár Pizza, the upstart pizzeria around the corner, has been making waves lately. Head chef Mary Lou has her own unique take on good pizza. ‘First and foremost, it must be free….or at least paid for by someone else’, she adds. With its own house special called ‘the 32 inch’,  the emphasis here is very much on giving diners lashings of what they want on the understanding that someone else is paying the bill.

Some seriously ropey economics haven’t prevented Tiocfaidh Ár Pizza from implementing a simple house rule – anything that rhymes with free is …… free. Pizza has now been added to a list that includes water, Local Property Tax and the USC.

In contrast, Green Pizza is another one of those chic upmarket eateries frequented by people who instinctively know what good pizza tastes like. Head chef Eamo sums up Green Pizza’s philosophy: ‘not alone do we know what a good pizza tastes like, we also know what people should think a good pizza tastes like.’

Eamo shrugs off suggestions that Green Pizza is trying to tell people how to think. ‘Ok, if there’s nothing wrong with 10 culchies sharing a car, what’s so wrong with them also sharing a pizza?’ ‘They might not feel full but the important thing is that they will feel better or should I say, we’ll feel better for them’, he added.

Over at The High Moral Ground, the atmosphere is more subdued. Head chef Brendan surveys his half empty pizzeria and observes ruefully ‘every pizzeria in town is now using our pizza recipe, the only difference these days is in the toppings.’

And on the question of toppings, Brendan is insistent that there is only one pizza topping – smoked salmon. Coincidentally, the patrons of The High Moral Ground can’t help feeling smug and superior over all other pizza diners.

Head chef Brendan often ponders philosophical about the way the pizza business has gone. In his half empty pizzeria, he raises a glass and proposes a toast to the good old days…..when Ireland actually had right wing parties and The High Moral Ground had a clientele.

Pizza Révolution is a proletarian pizzeria frequented by those who like pizza with a revolutionary flavour. The Pizza Révolution kitchen is as well known for its kitchen politics as it is for its pizza – the frequent kitchen walkouts, splits and rifts have produced a veritable alphabet soup of factions.

Pizza Révolution dismisses any criticism that they know nothing about pizza. The head chef points out that the far left has a long association with pizza and all things flour  – after all, as he points out, they invented the bread queue.

The house special – the worker’s pizza – is a simple (some would say brutal) affair as would befit any eatery with Marxist culinary ambitions.  Consisting of a pizza with a fiery red chilli topping, this culinary offering is guaranteed to produce a nasty after-taste.

It may not be the most rewarding culinary experience but at least it does satisfy the requirement for good rhetoric and that – as the head chef insists – is even more important than good pizza.

 


 

Written by Donal Horgan for the Burkean and republished here with their permission