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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

On life’s important questions

Published: December 9, 2011
Section: Opinions

I’m sure all of you wonderful readers have heard by now that Congress recently passed their ruling on pizza and determined that it is, in fact, a vegetable. This is a pretty curious thing even to bother with right now, considering the national and world economy are both teetering on the brink of collapse, along with presidential campaigns under full swing and multiple wars to boot. But I suppose I am getting ahead of myself; if I keep trying to figure out the motivations of a politician, my head will inevitably explode. So, to the real question that needs to be asked: Is pizza actually a vegetable?

I’m a math kind of guy, so I’m going to stick to what I know: equations. A pizza (and I’m going to assume it is only a cheese pizza, since that’s my favorite) is basically made up of three things: dough, tomato sauce and cheese. OK, Mr. or Mrs. Congress-person, we aren’t starting with a SINGLE vegetable in there. But that’s quite alright, many of the foods we currently make today love to change the food group to which they belong. After all, I’ve seen some of the materials they use at the sandwich station in Usdan and it is usually not what it appears to be.

So, if we keep up with the math theme, we have grains + fruits + dairy = vegetable. For some more accurate assessment of the pizza college students eat, let’s throw up about a pound of grease and whatever seasoning is within arm’s reach. And we end up with a vegetable … how? Beats me.

Upon further research, it seems that this entire confusion arose because of the way pizza sauce (or paste, depending on from where you hail) is counted in terms of servings of vegetables. This, along with a few fairly logical steps, would lead to the conclusion that pizza is a vegetable. That, however, is never mentioned in the article on which Congress voted.
So, I have an excellent runner-up question: Why is a tomato a fruit and tomato paste a vegetable? Why is the tomato even a fruit? I suppose this is what you get when you try to replace foundational societal understandings with some of our basic preconceived notions. That is to say the tomato is a vegetable no matter how many scientific facts you throw out at me.

Yes, of course this is an extremely hypocritical stance. But let’s be serious for a moment; at what point do you draw the line? When do you let little ol’ Pluto just stay a planet? At no point have I ever thought of making a fruit salad with tomatoes in it or covering a tomato in some chocolate sauce as an aphrodisiac to seduce some attractive woman (nor do I need any sort of aphrodisiacs). No, I eat tomatoes with salad, another awful vegetable, or as soup. Or, as crazy as this may sound, when I want to eat some nice comfort food with a blatant disregard for my health or well-being. You and anyone else are more than welcome to try to convince me that pizza is a vegetable and that, according to the USDA’s food pyramid, pizza is a good food to eat. And my response will always be the same: NO. If this were a more informal situation, there would probably be more expletives.

I’ve essentially ended where I started. I don’t think pizza is a vegetable and very few people genuinely do but, if my mother allowed me to substitute asparagus for pizza, I would without hesitation.