Map of Pizzas

View Pizza Club in a larger map

Monday, May 3, 2010

Point/Counterpoint: Imo's Pizza

Point: Imo’s Pizza and the Hierarchy of Contempt
By Kevinder

Every scientist knows the importance of prefixes. Consider three animals: a dog, a bear, and a horse. Now give each a prefix: prairie dog, koala bear, and sea horse. We’re dealing with a completely unrelated set. Such is the case with “pizza” and “St Louis-style pizza”.

For those of you who have yet to encounter St Louis-style pizza, consider yourself lucky. It’s thin, crispy, bite-sized squares topped with a gooey cheese paste. This in itself I do not have the problem with; it’s the moniker of “pizza” that it has co-opted for itself. If they were called, say, “St Louis-style mediocre nachos”, it wouldn’t be nearly so offensive. You see, some people in St Louis cannot tell the difference! Every time I arrive at a social event under the lure of (adjectiveless) pizza, only to see a giant box of Imo’s, I feel compelled to exclaim “Those double-crossing finks!” in my best Nick Adams voice. This rarely goes over well, especially when my boss is organizing the dinner.

I’ve been told by natives that St Louis-style pizza grows on you with time. I believe psychologists refer to this as “Stockholm syndrome”. Over the course of their lives they’ve been constantly bombarded with propaganda from the number-one purveyor of provel-covered dreck, Imo’s Pizza, and the more susceptible St Louisites begin to acquiesce that St Louis-style pizza is okay. That it’s good, even. A few even start to prefer it over legitimate pizza, and the brainwashing reaches the point that Imo’s can actually get voted “best pizza in the city”. Horrifying, isn’t it?

When a newspaper food critic expressed entirely reasonable disbelief at such an outcome, Imo’s actually ran a televised attack ad against him. For those keeping score at home: If you tell Domino’s they suck, they reply with “Sorry! How can we make out food better?” Tell Imo’s they could be better, and you get an elaborate, well-funded “Fuck you!”

The ad derisively stated that the food critic probably just came from Chicago. Ooh, snap, what a dis! He came from Chicago; he’s probably got high culinary standards! You know all those Chicago elitists, probably wearing their turtleneck sweaters and sipping their mochaccinos and going to poetry slams and stuff; they just don’t get it, do they?

Yeah, I don’t get it either.

Counterpoint: Imo's Pizza or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Provel
By Nick Speiser

I love Imo's Pizza! I could eat it every day, and I wish I was eating some right now! I worked there in my youth, and most other high school kids work there, too. I can't remember the first time I ate Imo's, but I bet it was a religious experience of sorts.

Imo's is thin, crispy, bite-sized squares topped with a gooey cheese paste! Doesn't that sound delicious? It also has a nice tomato paste sauce, and I like it best with pepperoni. Imo's, much like the rest of St. Louis, doesn't claim to be anything it's not. Imo's isn't Chicago deep-dish, it's not New Haven brick-oven, and it's not a floppy NYC pie. I, for one, think that there is room in the pizza pantheon for St. Louis style pizza. I always have room for pizza.

A lot of people don't seem to like provel cheese. That's fine, my friend. I would suggest that they ask for their next pie to have mozzarella instead. It is a common mistake to think that St. Louis style is synonymous with provel. This is untrue. While it is traditional to use provel, it is not mandatory by any means.

It is a fact that some people love to hate Imo's. Why do they spend time and energy hating something that gives me and many others so much pleasure? Why are they so offended by my enjoyment? And most of all, why are they so often hot on my heels to get a piece when I order a pie for delivery?

Although people say they don't like Imo's, I think it's often something else that they are getting at, some sort of hole in themselves, perhaps. For example, my malcontent friend hates that it is called "pizza" instead of "mediocre nachos." What is in a name? Don't let names get you down! Best of all, I bet he loves mediocre nachos. (Quote from Kevin: "I like bland things.")

No, I think Imo's haters are actually suffering from some form of homesickness. They think things should be like they were when they were young, and they are confused and infuriated by the new and unknown. Over the years, I've noticed that people who enter into the Imo's experience with a childlike perspective of wonder are usually pleased. However, worldly, close minded people are often disappointed. Washington University students are the worst in this regard.

Anyway, I love all sorts of pizza, and there is a special place in my heart for Imo's.

No comments:

Post a Comment