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Lousy Pizza, Explained

Wired Magazine enlists the help of an unlikely team of experts—Mario Batali and scientists—to help explain why San Francisco just can't hold its own when it comes to pizza. Along with some SF cheap shots, the reason is decades-old gestalt: "Part of the reason, of course, is that while Rice-A-Roni and zinfandel are native to Northern California, pizza is not ... [Says Batali:] 'An oven captures the gestalt of beautifully cooked pizza. And it imparts that.' I'm not comfortable attributing a pizza's quality to gestalt — it sounds like something a California pizzeria would list as a topping. But Batali's theory makes sense to David Tisi, a food-development consultant who has spent much of his career studying pizza ... Over time, he says, more particles join the mix and mingle with the savory soot from burned wood or coal — the only fuels worth using — to create a flavor that you can't grow in a garden: gestalt, if you will." [Wired]