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The health food craze of the 1970’s had a definite impact on the pizza industry, and the positive residual effects (thank goodness ) have become the norm. Whole wheat crust is here to stay, as are broccoli, onions, scallions, peppers and mushrooms for toppings. Luckily, some of the “far out” ingredients haven’t weathered the test of time. Walnuts, sprouts, carrots and raisins just don’t sit well on my pizza, and I can’t believe that anybody actually likes tofu.

Though the demise of pizza seemed imminent during California’s gastronomic revolution, pizza is a true survivor. It has changed, and changed for the better — better taste, better nutrition, just better!!

Back then the desire was for all natural, unprocessed foods. But pizza-makers turned it into a positive challenge, as they searched for different seasonings and spices, eliminating the over-use of salt. They introduced crusts made of whole wheat and unbleached flours, a healthier choice than the standard white flour of the past.

The radical 70’s rebelled against “the usual” pizza they knew at that time — laden with greasy sausage, pepperoni and fatty cheeses. Early on, onions, mushrooms and green peppers (among today’s top toppings) weren’t widely used. Had it not been for the demand for healthier pizzas, I doubt we would be enjoying the veggie-laden and fruit pizzas we so enjoy today.

Crusts were constructed of “high octane” oils, but we now enjoy virgin olive and walnut oils. And low-fat cheeses are used more often than not. Hats off to Haight-Ashbury! Like, thanks, man . . .

KIDS DREAM OF PIZZA! 

Maybe it’s because my kids are all grown up, but I was surprised to read that in America, on any given day, about 20 percent of all children eat pizza of some kind, either as a snack or a meal.

#1.  TMG GOURMET PIZZA

We took a load of T’s (plum Tomatoes), lots of M’s (fresh sliced Mushrooms) and adorned it with a load of G’s (roasted Garlic), before throwing on a deep blanket of Mozzarella. Sounds comforting, right?

#2.  GARLIC CHICKEN GOURMET PIZZA

A blessed marriage of spiced chicken breast strips and fresh sliced mushrooms are held firmly together by the go-to-glue of all pizzas, Mozzarella. I now pronounce you a satisfied diner!

#3.  PEP ‘N SAUSAGE GOURMET PIZZA

The two all-time meat favorites unite on this pizza, with the hands-down favorite cheese. We’re talking perfectly spiced pork sausage and sliced pork pepperoni, and your favorite and mine, Mozzarella.

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Tracie Burket
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