Omnivore - Ultimate flattering insult: I’m a pepperoni pie at Timone’s

Ron Eyester yields to pepperoni lovers


Image Happy days for the Pizza Philistines. I reported recently that finding pepperoni on the menu at Timone’s required a magnifying glass, then entailed a special request. My dinner companions were irritated. I couldn’t have cared less.

Ron Eyester, Timone’s owner, Twittered me that he’s changed that. You can now order a pie, um, named after me: Cliff’s Pepperoni Pie. That’s kind of like having garbage named after you. Yeah, I know. I’m a garbage mouth. I’m waiting for a pie made with Popeye’s fried chicken.

In reality, I grew sick of pepperoni about the same time I burned out on Jack Daniels 20-plus years ago. The sausage is actually an American creation whose biggest producer is Hormel. In recent years, serious chefs have developed greater interest in it, due to artisanal production and, I imagine, profit margins. (It’s available, for example, at Antico, too.) You can read all about the sausage in a New York Times piece from Feb. 1, 2011. A sample:

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Pepperoni certainly has conquered the United States. Hormel is the biggest-selling brand, and in the run-up to the Super Bowl this Sunday, the company has sold enough pepperoni (40 million feet) to tunnel all the way through the planet Earth, said Holly Drennan, a product manager.

Michael Ruhlman, an expert in meat curing who is writing a book on Italian salumi, doesn’t flinch from calling pepperoni pizza a “bastard” dish, a distorted reflection of wholesome tradition. “Bread, cheese and salami is a good idea,” he said. “But America has a way of taking a good idea, mass-producing it to the point of profound mediocrity, then losing our sense of where the idea comes from.” He prefers lardo or a fine-grained salami, very thinly sliced, then laid over pizza as it comes out of the oven rather than cooked in the oven.

You can also now build your own pie at Timone’s, as well as order one of the super-stoned gourmet pies.

Anyway, thanks for the epitaph, Ron!