A buzzer sounds at the heavily secured massive steel door.
"What's the pass-phrase?" asks the Head Chef in gruff tones.
"Anthony Bourdain Eats Tofu," came the quick response from the other side of the door. A moment of silence before the door slowly opens, and Dr. S. quickly takes his seat. Surrounding the Conference Room table are several austere and serious looking men and women in lab coats with a picture of a pizza shaped like a heart sewn on the front of each jacket.
"You're late, S." growls HC from the table's power seat.
"Sorry, sir," came the response, "An emergency in in the Iron Chef kitchen."
"So I've heard... I take it matters are under control?"
"Er, yes sir. Dr. Psymon has been dismissed, per your orders."
"Nasty business, S. Dr. Psymon knows the rules. No oil. I don't care if he's also on "The Chew." It's no excuse. People's health is at stake. Chef Battleitaly has obviously been a bad influence on him."
"Alright, enough of the pleasantries, S. Report!"
The lights dim, a very large flat screen rises up from the far end of the table, the heart-shaped logo upper center on the screen pulsing. Dr. S. hands dart quickly dart over his iPizza pad. The monitor comes alive with light and color. "I'm pleased to say, sir, that we've had a major breakthrough on Project Super Heart Healthy Pizza. This is a photo collage of the Super Secret Experimental V-12 Pizza Prototype."
©2102 by Mark Sutton, topping sauce recipe from "Heart Healthy Pizza." Click to see larger image.
There are gasps from around the room. The chefs whisper excitedly to each other in panic, and one yells out: "it's not possible! That's... that is... you've... OH MY GOD!"
"Quiet down everyone," demands HC, standing up and leaning across the table forcefully. "S., you can't be serious. What you're showing us can't be done. It breaks the dish of every foundational theory we've developed in over 100 years of covert culinary research. How many? What on Earth did you do, man?"
"Dammitt, S., I'm a Food Physicist and Head Chef, not a Psychic. In the Name of T. Colin Campbell, tell us, HOW MANY?"
"TWELVE!!" exclaims HC, leaning back in his chair. Pandemonium breaks out around the table, people are yelling and screaming at each other, pounding the table. "But 11 was considered the highest level?" "It violates the Laws of Nature." "What if the New York Times Food Critic finds out?" "Is it stable, are we in danger?" "It can't be, he's lying."
Dr. S. stands up, and waves his right arm theatrically. "Ladies and gentlemen, it IS possible." The Team Members quiet down. "Yes, this is a heart healthy pizza with twelve distinct vegetables as added ingredients."
"But, but... why, S., why? Why risk the potential structural collapse in the oven? We know that 11 is as high as you can go before the entire internal stability of the pizza resolves as an unedible avalanche of disconnected veggies, no matter how much topping sauce is used as an adherent agent. Complete culinary collapse at the Julia Child Curve with a corresponding Emeril Explosion making "bam" look like "pop"."
S. chuckled. "I used to think this too, my friends. I used to believe in that limitation. However, I had to think out of the pizza box. There had to be a way, a safe way, to safely exceed these limits. I surmised that the key problem was the size of the individual veggies and where they were co-located in the PPCS, the Physical Pizza Collective Structure."
"Incredible... IF it works" says HC, his voice heavy with admiration yet caution, "I take it that you figured out that you could reduce the size of the Barnardian Vegetable Components and through a careful Morimotto Scatter Algorithm, avoid overloading the Ozian weight/pressure ratios of crust and sauce."
"Exactly, sir. I wanted to increase the McDougall Ratio of vegetables to bite, while maintaining a reasonable Alton Brownian Mass to Gravity Failure Comparitive."
"Honor us, Dr., please describe to us your prototype."
"Delighted to, sir." S. walks around the side of the table with his laser pointer.
"We start with a basic pizza crust base. I was going to initiate construction with a gluten-free crust, but felt I'd reduce the unknown variables for this round to that which was a bit more clear in terms of loading stress capabilities. A whole wheat crust is topped with chopped tender kale, followed by thinly sliced tomatoes, and sprinkled with freshly diced basil."
The young intern at the back of the room smiled and whispered loudly, "You had me at kale." There were quiet giggles around the room. "Hush up," admonished HC.
S. continued: "at this point, I added diced mushrooms as kind of shock absorbers to the next layer with a sprinkle of garlic powder and red pepper chili flakes. I like it spicy, " he winked at the intern, "...then, using a Trader Joe's mixture of chopped vegetables..."
"Trader Joe's?" queried HC.
"Yes sir. Due to time and budget constraints (how often do I have so many raw vegetables in the refrigerators?) I used Trader Joe's 8 Raw Chopped Vegetables, available for under $3 at most stores. They were scattered and placed lightly across the pizza with enough space between individual veggies to allow for eventual topping sauce penetration. I also spread the carrots and purple cabbage bits around a bit to provide a pleasing visual appearance."
"Clever, S. And yet you still stayed on budget."
"Yes sir... now, at this point I took a fundamental risk. Onions or no onions? I decided to go for it. Slices of onions were draped on top of the lightly scattered veggies."
There was appreciative sounds of agreement and admiration from around the table.
"Of course, the decision of what type of cheese-like topping sauce to use was difficult. I wanted not only good texture and taste, but one that would really kick the nutritional quality of the pizza into a Fuhrman Zone intersection with the Esselstyn No-Oil Barrier."
Gasps from around the room.
"Yes, my skeptical friends, a no-added oil Fuhrman G-BOMBS* without berries (which you could easily have in a dressing on a side salad). To make this work, I went with a "Millet, White Kidney Beans, Sunflower Seeds, Sirarcha Sauce" topping, sprinkled with ground pepper. You can see the final results on the screen."
"Count, count, count!" came the collective cry from the other Chefs. "Count, count, count!"
"Okay, here we go: (1) kale, (2) tomatoes, (3) mushrooms, (4) celery, (5) carrots, (6) jicama, (7) green cabbage, (8) purple cabbage, (9) green peppers, (10) radish, and (11) broccoli."
"Twelve, twelve, twelve..." came the demand from the screaming Chefs, some standing on the table, others writhing on the conference room floor.
"And, to complete our V-12 Prototype Pizza..." (pausing for effect), "ONIONS!!" S. smiled proudly, while around him the Chefs were throwing their iDevices into the air, slapping themselves on their backs, hugging, and wiping the tears flowing from their eyes. It was an historic moment, and even HC's own eye was misty with the realization of what had been shown here today.
"Praise Lyman! This is a momentous, S. You've done us proud. Generations will remember this event and be healthier as a result. Now, my good friends, time to celebrate. I'll order in a vegan lunch for all of us from "The Millenium Restaurant", my treat."
"But sir," notes the young intern, "that's across the country in San Francisco."
"No problem, m'dear," chuckled HC, "I have our Trans-Orbital on standby."
As the Team Members exited the conference room, each shaking S.'s hand before leaving, they knew inside that the battle for healthy diets wasn't over, but yet that a major victory had been achieved. New challenges awaited them, and their dedicated efforts to help people eat better food would continue unabated.
1) *“G-BOMBS” is an acronym you can use to remember the most nutrient-dense, health-promoting foods on the planet. These are the foods you should eat every day, and they should make up a significant proportion of your diet — these foods are extremely effective at preventing chronic disease and promoting health and longevity." [Source]
2) the original topping sauce recipe, from my cookbook, HEART HEALTHY PIZZA, used cashews. 1/3 cup sunflower seeds were substituted for the cashews to give the sauce a lighter fluffiness and to lower the fat content a bit. Easily enough sauce was made for both the V-12, and who knows? Maybe a V-13...