The million dollar stix questionSmotherella or Pokey?

Pizza is the culinary equivalent of a surrogate child; Naples received from the Americas the delicious tomato and, combined with the traditional Mediterranean flatbread, focaccia, the delicious treat was born. Stateside, however, pizza barely resembles its Neapolitan counterpart. Olive oil and basil, garlic and rosemary, the mainstays of the margherita and fundaments of focaccia are eschewed in favor of grease and salt, ad nauseam – or, depending on taste, ad esculentum. As American cuisine is wont to do, arbitrary and artificial elements of Italian foods are added as either hors d’oeurves or side dishes, despite seeming incongruity. So is the case with the infamous dish known as Pokey Stix (sic), a pizza-shaped crust with cheese and spices. Available readily from Gumby’s pizza, they are a well-known compliment to the usual pepperoni peppered palate. The equine name of the dish comes from the faithful steed of the tenacious green clay man who gives the chain’ its name. What is unknown is from where the idea came; while ostensibly a compliment to Gumby’s principle dish, pizza, the appetizer contains nearly the same ingredients, prepared almost identically, which leaves one wondering, “Why bother?” Perhaps it’s the taste; doughy, with a hint of spice and cheese overwhelmed by whatever arcane, crude, exceedingly greasy method was used to bind the ingredients together. This is not, by any means, haute cuisine, but it is certainly filling, although filling with what it is probably best not to question. Ultimately, the dish is comparable to all of Gumby’s food; fried, greasy, and lightly garnished (with a single sauce and the option to pay for more). The relative newcomer to the special delivery breadstick scene is Jeff’s pizza, with the puzzlingly named Smotherella Sticks. The ‘smother’ in the name presumably refers to the cheese with which the dish is topped, although it’s a rather generous designation, and the mozzarella is in any case not exactly of Florentine caliber. Less greasy, and less emptily doughy, than its competitor, Smotherella sticks regardless are composed of more or less the same ingredients. They are distinct, and superior, in a number of ways; three sauces are included, giving the dish some variety and taste, they are better cut, and larger, and less nutritionally offensive, although I wouldn’t recommend either to someone with delicate constitution. Overall, both dishes are absurd culinarily. They are deemed sticks, yet are circle shaped (presumably they use the same base as the pies). They are wholly carbohydrates, served redundantly with the bread-based pizza. They are lightly spiced yet lack both exceptional dough or olive oil, or anything else except grease and mild cheese. Elitist Gourmets, however, do nothing to frustrate the demand for the faux-Italian treats, and there are worse ways to get mozzarella than delivered hot, atop fried bread with some mediocre marinara (or, nonsensically, cheese or ranch). De gustibus non est disputadum.