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trib 12 5 18991Chicago Tribune, December 5, 1899. Sanitary and “health-promotive,” hmm? Well, they’re obviously not referring to that disgusting local casserole known deep-dish pizza, with its thick, indigestible layers of greasy cornmeal and bathtub caulking. trib 12 5 1899A2

Oh, of course! We’re talking about the dish that made Chicago famous, protose pie! What, you’re never had the pleasure? Man, you’re missing out. Slabs of protose are practically all we eat here. That and Italian beef, which is actually protose marinated in kerosene. trib 12 5 189933

Turns out even mince pie can be hygienic if taken along with the antidote. If you don’t have access to the health-promotive sand of Lake Michigan, I can hook you up with some at reasonable rates. The capsules aren’t strictly necessary–just add a tablespoon of sand to your mince before baking.

P.S. I just ran across this illuminating blog post about protose. NSBEL! (Not Safe Before Eating Lunch).


  1. I’m a New Yorker, and the epic local-food-snobbery battle between my Chicagoan girlfriend and I is ongoing. I’m quite comforted to learn that the debate is older than either of us, and has already covered the pies-as-sanitation and casual-sand-eating phases.

  2. Much as I’d love to side with my adopted home here, I simply gotta ask: Hog dogs aside, she founds her arguments on what, exactly? I hope it’s got nothing to do with pizza, deep-dish or otherwise. The standard Chicago pizza has the texture and allure of a wet bandage.

  3. The pizza is a big one, I’m afraid. Though I actually enjoy Chicago’s pizza myself, I refuse to categorize it in the same species as actual pizza. Zoologically speaking, I believe it’s actually a disguised member of the bread-pudding family.

    • Or maybe it’s an inverted variant of stew and dumplings?

  4. as the aforementioned “Chicago girlfriend”, i object to the description of Chicago stuffed pizza as casserole, bread pudding, stew, dumplings, or anything else that is not something along the lines of “the epitome of all that is good about pizza.” sure, thin crust pizza and even deep dish pizza are good, but there’s just something amazing about pizza that has so much pizza on it that you have to eat it with a knife and a fork.

    it’s my favourite food on earth.

    • I think you’d be better off going on the offensive here. You might consider taking a swipe at the Northeastern fetish for the ropey slime called Sabrett’s Onion Relish, which after all is really just lumpy ketchup and thus has no rightful place on a hot dog cart, much less a hot dog. But you definitely want to change the subject from pizza to hot dogs.

  5. I have to stand on the side of Chicagoans who think Chicago-style “pizza” is some kind of conspiracy developed in the City Council to keep potentially rowdy tourists sedated. Awful, pasty stuff you won’t catch many who have lived here more than a year consuming. I’d rather eat a slab of Protose. This may be my favorite article yet, by the way.

    • Who knows, maybe that white gunk IS protose. It’s definitely not cheese.

  6. Finally! A dispepsia-proof pie!

    • For the dispepsia generation!

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