And that’s the clue as to how and why Hawaiian pizza came into existence: Much like ranch dressing, pineapple is an inappropriate adornment to pizza, used only in places where the pizza is terrible. When pizza is good, the crust, cheese, and sauce provide plenty of flavor. Toppings are chosen wisely and used sparingly, because pizza is already a complete dish, better left alone than ruined with too much intrusion. In American backwaters, or Canada, where the crust, cheese and sauce often have no flavor, eaters and “chefs” overcompensate with toppings.
Pineapples are a wonderful fruit for dessert because they are very sweet. Boorish North Americans, the same people who added marshmallows to breakfast cereal, think everything is better when drenched in sugar, fat, or both. Just as they are wrong to add buttermilk to a dish covered in mozzarella, they are wrong to add pineapple to a dish covered in tomato sauce. The tomatoes should provide plenty of sweetness already. If they don’t, then the sauce made from them is bad or your palate insensate.
It’s not that experimentation with somewhat nontraditional toppings is always wrong. Keste, a highly regarded, rigorously authentic Neapolitan-style pizzeria in New York makes delicious pizzas with toppings such as pistachio pesto, butternut squash and Nutella. Look at a photo of their pizza on Keste’s website to see the charred crust of a real pizza from a wood-fired oven. Not suitable for pineapple, is it? But Keste, which respects the art of pizza-making, carefully chooses toppings that mesh with, and enhance, the existing flavor palette of pizza and Italian food.