Daily Archives: March 1, 2016

Pizza History Week: The great Italian pizza shortage

(Originally written April 29, 2013)

You know the apocalypse is upon us when there’s a pizza shortage in Italy.  As The Telegraph reports, Italians are apparently too proud to produce the popular product, and the pizza-making industry is facing a labour shortage as a result.  “Despite a long recession and high unemployment, Italians are shunning the job because of the long hours and modest pay,” according to the British newspaper.  Wait, you mean all-you-can-eat breadsticks for $9.95 an hour isn’t incentive enough?  (Oh wait, that’s not Italy, it’s Pizza Hut.)

And here’s the kicker: what with the global economic downturn and the Eurozone crisis, Italians are actually eating more pizza—they’re just not making enough to meet demand.  As per The Telegraph, “with a slice of pizza an increasingly popular lunch time option in times of economic hardship, the pizza sector is booming – and an estimated 6,000 new ‘pizzaioili’ are needed, according to FIPE, an Italian business federation.”  Hmm, I guess they can’t outsource those jobs to India, eh?

But before you can say “Ai-yai-yai, pizza pie,” it’s Egypt to the rescue!  Having overthrown its authoritarian leader, The Land of The Pharaohs is now throwing dough up in the air—apparently with great aplomb.  As David Mandolin, head of the Italian School for Pizza Makers, told Corriere della Sera newspaper. “To make a good pizza, it needs to be crunchy but also digestible. Not everyone can do that, but the Egyptians can.”

So, what’s their secret?  “We are good at it because we are prepared to work hard. Italians, in contrast, want a nice comfortable office job where they can work six hours a day, five days a week, in air-conditioning. They’re not prepared to work 10, 12 hours a day,” an Egyptian emigrate told The Telegraph.  At least some cultural stereotypes still hold true, capiche?