Pie-magination: 5 Improbable Pizza Pies

Considered from a local, regional, national and international perspective, the world is home to a great variety of pizzas. From authentic to fusion to deep dish to Sicilian-thin, the term "pizza" covers all manner of sins.

I think that we owe it to ourselves, as a pizza-obsessed nation, to do better. We should go beyond the too-near horizons of pizza imagination and break through the shackles of acceptable pizza standards.

We must look beyond, to the distant expanses of crust, sauce and cheese merging as one. Only there shall we transcend pizza banality to replace it with pizza perfection, one slice of truth at a time.

Here are the top five pizzas we could eat if we could, when we could and how we could.

5. Pizza in a Cup

When Steve Martin takes Bernadette Peters on a date to the inside of his 18-wheeler in the classic comedy The Jerk, he intones to his would-be lover that "...people come from miles around for this pizza in a cup." If only.

Imagine if one were to remove the ostentatious practice of holding a slice of pizza in one's hand, replacing it with the much-easier spoon-to-mouth option.

Sure, pizza has its place as a finger food, but imagine how wonderful it would be as a mashed-up version of itself. Oh, wondrous pizza in a cup, please descend upon us in all of your glory.

And there's no dominatrix, motocross rider to answer to whatsoever.

4. Pizza Soup

Okay, so sticking with the theme of ease-of-edibility, let's just assume we can make this one easier on ourselves and liquefy the pie.

That could be a politician's campaign slogan, and one I'd vote for: Liquefy the pie! I'd vote for anyone whose campaign slogan entailed pizza you can drink.

We imagine a soup, one based off of a very thick, blond roux, with chunks of tomato, cheese and meat/veggies.

Egad, man, wouldn't it be glorious? You could even go the pot-pie route and bake the crust atop soup-a-fied fillings.

I'd eat it. You know you would, too.

3. Meat Pizza with a Meat Crust

This one is actually inspired by a pizza order I placed while hungover at a Domino's in Seoul, South Korea. What they understood to be an order for a ground beef pizza was actually served up as a pizza with a ground beef crust.

No joke: A solid, one-and-a-half-inch crust of baked ground beef.

Most people, I would venture to say, who have at least a smidgen of pizza knowledge would confess that the quality of a pie lies in its crust. It is the plate tectonics of pizza -- the hot, baked goodness of crust and crunch -- that determines the validity of said pie. Not so with a meat-based pie.

Take all of those preconceptions of what is a good crust and replace it with meat base, with the regular toppings piled on.

Imagine a cheeseburger pizza with a meat crust: sauce, peppers, onions, bacon and cheese baked on top. Or imagine a chili-cheese, Texas Frito pie -- the cheddar cheese, chili and Fritos with red onions baked onto the meaty base.

Disgusting? Maybe. Worth eating? Definitely.

2. Seafood Pizza

Take a sturdy, thin, crispy crust and top it with a slightly acidic tomato sauce. Now, add some shrimp, squid, mussels and crab. Top with some fresh rips of basil and a sprinkling of parmigiana and baby, you got yourself a stew going.

I've had pizzas in Asia that had a smattering of seafood on them, but they all failed in the sense that they were more pasta dish than pizza. You can put a lot on a pizza, but you can't make pasta into a pizza, no matter what you do.

Combine the two, I say, and make it delicious. If you have the right crust, I would argue that you could put anything on top of a pie and it would be good. It really does come down to the crust.

1. Luby's Pizza

Oh, man. Imagine that: a Luby's pizza.

Thin, crispy crust, a bit of spread-out mashed potatoes with a splash of brown gravy -- all topped with mac and cheese and fried chicken. It'd be divine. It would be transcendental. It would be pizza, and it would be great.

That's really the thing: You can put whatever on top of a thin and crispy crust and it'll be good. Why keep yourself confined to pepperoni and sausage?

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Sam Brown