In Defense of Deep Dish: Ending the Debate Over What Defines Pizza

By Daniel Zemans (MarlaCollins’Husband)

A bona-fide Chicago-style deep dish pizza from Lou Malnati’s


“They [Italians] would go to Chicago and they would kill themselves if they saw what was going on over there…It has nothing to do with pizza.” – Mario Batali

“It’s very tasty, but it’s not pizza.” – Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia

“Let me explain something: Deep dish pizza is not only not better than New York pizza, it’s not pizza. It’s a f***ing casserole!” – Jon Stewart (spoken while using a picture of a stuffed pizza not deep dish as a visual aid)

There’s not actually a serious debate in this country as to whether deep dish pizza counts as pizza. It’s been called pizza since its invention in 1943; it’s universally referred to as pizza and it shares a flavor profile with every other style of tomato sauce-topped pizza. That said, the dissent seems to be increasing. It could just be that New Yorkers are getting even more vocal; it could be part of the move away from traditional red-sauced Italian-American food to more “authentic” Italian options; it could be that more willfully ignorant food writers are craving attention; or it could just be that Jon Stewart really does have that much sway over public discourse. Whatever the reason, now seems like a good time to make clear that the argument that deep dish pizza is not pizza flies in the face of pizza history, linguistics, and common sense. That’s the nicest way I can say that the argument that deep dish pizza is a casserole is complete and utter bullsh*t.

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Craft Distilling 101 with North Shore Distillery

by Katje Sabin (mamagotcha)

Tucked in a cluster of small industrial buildings between a freeway and a field, amid loading docks and drainage ponds, is a tiny storefront with a half-barrel of herbs and cheerful little holiday lights in front. Just off I-94 in Lake County, about 28 miles north of O’Hare, you’ll find the tasting room and production facility of North Shore Distillery, Illinois’ very first post-Prohibition maker of hand-crafted spirits.

I climbed out of the car and listened to trucks downshifting in the distance, with a counterpoint of small birds happily celebrating the fact that they’ve just survived Chicago’s worst winter in recorded history. I walked across the asphalt under the weak spring sunshine, not sure what to expect: a rickety Rube Goldberg-style tangle of pipes and flasks? Big oak barrels and good ol’ boys in trucker caps and overalls? A brisk and businesslike sterile laboratory? I am clueless, but North Shore Distillery’s co-owner Sonja Kassebaum has kindly offered to educate me in the ways of small-batch distilling, and I’m reporting for my first (and only) day of class.

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Sonja’s Cocktail Recipes

The following are recipes for cocktail creations by Sonja Kassebaum of North Shore Distillery.

Violet Fizz. Photo Credit: Cory Dewald Photography
Violet Fizz. Photo Credit: Cory Dewald Photography

Violet Fizz

Sonja created this custom cocktail for the Chicago Botanic Garden’s Orchid & Spirits event in March 2014.


1 1/2 oz. Sol Chamomile Citrus Vodka
1 oz. fresh lemon juice
1/2 oz. Creme de Violette
1/4 oz. simple syrup
Club soda


Shake first four ingredients with ice, strain into a Collins glass filled with fresh ice. Top with club soda and stir briefly. Garnish with a fresh violet, if available, or a lemon curl.

Sol 76

One old-style gin drink is the French 75. Swap the gin for vodka, and you get the French 76. Here’s the North Shore variation.


1 1/2 oz. Sol Chamomile Citrus
3/4 oz. fresh lemon juice
1/2 oz. simple syrup or ginger syrup (1:1)
2 oz. dry sparkling wine


Shake first three ingredients with ice, strain into chilled champagne flute. Top with sparkling wine, garnish with a lemon curl.

BebboBebbo Cocktail

“One of my favorites from Ted’s book,” Sonya noted. She’s talking about “Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails: From the Alamagoozlum to the Zombie – 100 Rediscovered Recipes and the Stories Behind Them” by Ted Haigh (aka Dr. Cocktail).


1 1/2 oz. Distiller’s Gin No. 6
1 oz. fresh lemon juice
3/4 oz. honey syrup (2:1)
1/2 oz. fresh orange juice
1 dash Angostura Bitters


Shake ingredients with ice, strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a cherry.

Nordic Mule


2 oz. Aquavit
1/2 lime
Ginger beer


Squeeze half lime into tall glass; drop remains into glass. Add aquavit, fill with ice, top with ginger beer. Garnish with lime wedge.