The effect of organized crime on society usually shows up in things like increased public corruption, higher availability of drugs and the like. But occasionally, it can affect daily life in ways that you would never have imagined. This pertains to Canada, Montreal specifically; and it has to do with pizza, of all things.
Pizza business generates billions of dollars each year for retailers, franchisers and food wholesalers. Aside from the exotic varieties, the recipe for traditional pizza is pretty consistent everywhere. Go into any restaurant in North America and order a pepperoni pizza and you won’t be surprised at what you get. A crust on the bottom, covered with sauce, then cheese and, finally twenty to thirty thin half dollar sized slices of cooked pepperoni spread out on top.
But in Montreal, they like it different. The construction is like this: crust, sauce, and then about a hundred pieces of un-cooked pepperoni, concealed under a ton of cheese.
Ok. So What?
In the early 1970s Italian organized crime virtually controlled the pizza supply business in Montreal. The pizza supply “sales representative” would come to a small mom-and-pop pizza parlor and say, “From the size of this joint, we estimate that you’ll need 100 pounds of pepperoni and 200 pounds of mozzarella every week.” Mom and Pop would typically only need about a quarter of that for the amount of business they were doing. These guys weren’t making a suggestion. Mom and Pop were being extorted. So what did they do? They bought those quantities of meat and cheese, of course.
So now that they are getting all this extra pepperoni and mozzarella every week, what are they going to do with it? Put it on the pizzas, they would throw all the extra pepperoni on the pizzas. Then hide it under a thick layer of the extra mozzarella they were forced to buy. This went on for so long that people got used to it and it became the status quo.
The mob doesn’t control the pizza supply business in Montreal anymore, but to this day the pizzas are still made this way.
- 3-4 times the regular amount of pepperoni
- 2 times the amount of mozzarella cheese
- Pizza dough
- Add a layer of pizza sauce
- 100 un-cooked pepperoni
- Lot’s of mozzarella cheese
- Preheat the oven between 450 and 500 degrees F (250 to 260 degrees C) — the stone needs heat up while the oven heats. Large, thick-crusted pizzas might need an oven temperature closer to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C) so the crust can cook completely before the toppings burn.