Norma, the Japanese 'own' sushi. If I wrote a book on sushi and described it as small pieces of hot dogs, I would expect most Japanese people who read my book to be quite angry. I'm taking something from their culture that they cherish highly and attempting to redefine it as something completely different. If I wrote a book on champagne and described it as carbonated water, the French would be equally livid. As a NYer and a 1/8,000,000 owner of NY style pizza, when I read Reinhart's recipe for NY style pizza, my blood boils. The man is trashing my culture by spreading a faulty definition for this region's most cherished food. I'm not Neapolitan, but he does Naples an ever greater disservice with the ignorance he's spreading regarding Neapolitan pizza.
I can become more expansive to other styles of pizzas, but I will never be tolerant of culture bashing.
As far as Jim Lahey goes, and what may or may not be in his book, I think that people of his stature- people that, if they write a book, are going to reach millions of readers, have a responsibility to do their homework. For pizza, that includes an understanding of the thermodynamics involved- that pizza's most important ingredient is heat. If someone is writing an article for Better and Homes and Gardens, and they want to stipulate "turn your oven as high as it will go," then that's perfectly fine. With the number of people Lahey (and Reinhart) is reaching, though, he (they) should be getting into some of the nuts and bolts. Lahey is making probably hundreds of thousands of dollars a year baking up breathtakingly beautiful high heat pizzas and for him to come out with a book that says something along the lines of "just turn your oven up and it'll be fine," would be an insult to public. I know he hasn't said this yet in his book, but I have seen him say something similar on videos. I'm crossing my fingers that he doesn't treat the public/his fans like helpless children, but I'm not getting my hopes up.
I am not saying Reinhart has the best formulas for NY style or Neapolitan pizzas, but I have tried some of his formulations and can say I do like them, and they made some delicious pizzas in my opinion and other members opinions.
If anyone goes down the road in studying NY style pizzas or Neapolitan pizzas there are many different opinions on what they should or shouldn’t be like. I really haven’t been able to make perfect pizzas is any style that I have tried. I always try to have an open mind and try different formulations, and if Jim Lahey’s book has any good advice or good formulations I will try them.
I know this forum has a wealth of information that can’t be contained in one book. If it could, most people would be on the road to a better pizza no matter what kind of style they want to make.
Even Scottr posted that the recipe and instructions he gave were never published right and if he had his own way he would have had it published differently. That was just one article on making pizza.
Whenever anyone, even like Jim Lahey, writes a book, they can’t reach all the people that want to learn to make pizza in one book. Everyone doesn’t have the same ovens, equipment, flours, or other variables that are needed to make great pizzas. A lot of people don’t even have the money to buy all the stuff that is needed to make decent pizza. If everyone did, most pizza businesses like pizza chains wouldn’t be in business like they are. People would find out they can make better pizzas at home, if they would be interested in doing that.
I am always on the journey and learn on my journeys, whether it is on the forum, information from members, reading books, searching the web, or finding out any information about pizza I can. Even if each bit of information is little it still helps me learn.
I am somewhat like you in my passions, but I am also understand everything can’t be contained in one book.
I appreciate your passion!