Whether the Dictators were the first New York punk band, there’s no question about whom Grub Street’s loyalties go to. (We never ate at White Castle with the Voidoids.) With the newly released The Official Punk Rock Book of Lists, edited by former Dictators front man Handsome Dick Manitoba, the underrepresented punk-rock-food connection becomes clearer, thanks to such lists as Mykel Board’s “9 Ways That Vegetarians Are Destroying the Earth,” Jon Spencer’s “14 Foods to Avoid on Tour,” and even a few bonus lists from the likes of Mario Batali and Jean-Luc Le Dû. But we’re all about the Dictators here, so we bring you two: one from HDM himself, and the other from Dictators songwriter-guitarist Andy Shernoff, now a certified sommelier.
Handsome Dick Manitoba’s Five Favorite Pizza Toppings
1. Sausage: NOT pepperoni. I HATE PEPPERONI. There’s lots of shitty sausage in the world. It’s gotta be great-quality sausage. It’s like a great tomato. Most are mediocre, but when you get a good one, it’s one of the world’s great foods. Same with sausage— high-quality, flavorful, thinly sliced, well done, CRISP. The perfect accompaniment.
2. Soppresotta: Here’s a MANITOBAN food idea: Instead of sheepishly saying, “Okay, I’ll pick from the list,” when you enter your pizzeria and see the list of extras, why not bring in some thin slices of spicy soppresotta from your local deli? Chop ’em up, ask the pizza maker to “throw this on top of my slice, please.” Make the slice hot, so the meat gets chewy, crispy, slightly oily from the fat. THIS HAS TEXTURE! Texture, baby, texture — the true sensuality of food. Flavor is obvious, but texture is sexy! Sprinkle grated cheese on top, and you have the second-best slice goin’! By the way, if your pizza maker doesn’t do this “extra stuff that you bring in yourself” thing for free, then find yourself a new pizzeria!
3. Anchovies: I adore anchovies. I like the way, when heated, they release their fishy oils all over the slice. Get napkins!! Grated cheese and hot red pepper flakes are a must on top of the little fishies. If you don’t like anchovies, then you’re too squeamish! I hope for your sake this doesn’t spill over into other categories in life!
4. Black olives, fresh garlic, grated cheese, hot red pepper flakes: These make for a great, chewy, overstimulating concoction. (I’ve been told I’m a stimulation freak — that’s why I like hot pepper so much.) As you can see, grated cheese and hot pepper flakes are a must in the Pizza World of Handsome Dick Manitoba.
5. Sliced meatballs, thinly sliced boiled ham, fresh littleneck clams: This is the “whatever floats your boat” category. There’s a legendary pizza joint in New Haven, Connecticut, that does an amazing clam/garlic pizza. [Ed. note: HDM is no doubt thinking of both Sally’s and Frank Pepe’s.] Contrary to what my pal, world famous chef Mario Batali, sez, I love grated cheese on top of my clam pizza, or for that matter, linguine with white clam sauce. (Mario don’t like the cheese on da’ fish!) All this stuff in this category works well with pizza. Just don’t get too California. NO PINEAPPLE, CHICKEN, OR GOOFY VEGETABLES! It might be food, but it won’t retain its pizza status. California fucked up the great American hamburger (lettuce, tomato, onions, ketchup, and mustard) — don’t let ’em fuck up the greatest punk rock food of all — PIZZA!
Andy Shernoff’s Ten Rules for the Punk Rock Sommelier
1. Swallow, don’t spit.
2. Screwtops are cool. Save the cork tree.
3. Use paper cups.
4. After being handed the wine list by the square sommelier, point and laugh.
5. In French restaurants, order in Esperanto.
6. Pair red wine with bagels and lox.
7. Pair white wine with pizza.
8. Pair rosé with White Castle.
9. Drink Burgundy when someone else is paying.
10. Pinot Noir, Northern Rhone, and Spanish wines rule. Vintage Bordeaux sucks!!
Related: The Punk-Rock Diet