Minneapolis, Minnesota,
March 30
Michael Dane is America's favorite middle-aged, Jewish, bisexual social satirist. Or, at least one of them. Often referring to himself in the third person, he used to do standup comedy on the road, but now he just writes down funny things. His book of food humor, called "Does This Taste Funny? A Half-Baked Look at Food and Foodies," is available at Amazon.com


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AUGUST 11, 2011 12:12PM

out of your comfort (food) zone

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In music, ‘fusion’ refers to a blending of genres, like the jazz-rock fusion of Pat Metheny, or the jazz-crap fusion of Kenny G.  ‘Fusion,’ in physics, is the process by which two or more atomic nuclei join together to form a single heavier nucleus. Or, it’s how you turn lead into gold. I’m not really sure. I'm also not sure what my point was going to be.

Ah yes--fusion cuisine. Tex-Mex. Afro-Cuban. Kosher-Asian (note to self—trademark the name ‘Rabbi-San.’) Sometimes, cultural cross-pollination works. On the other hand, I had to give up my dream of opening a chain of British-Korean restaurants (“Kimchi-dilly Square”) when our market research showed that people didn’t really want bland food that smelled bad.

I made my first fusion dish a while back. Like most of my truly inspired creations, the idea came about because I was out of something. Here’s the backstory:

We had a box of frozen sliced na’an that I think had been in the freezer since ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ came out on Netflix (“That was a good movie—whaddya say we buy some of that flatbread?”). The Girlfriend was craving pizza, and then it hit me—the na’an was already cut into pizza-slice shaped slices!

Once again I showed all the traits of a real chef—ingenuity, inspiration, an ability to recognize shapes…I would make Na’an Pizza. Maybe I could be really clever and call it ‘Non-Pizza’! This is the idea that will make me a millionaire!!!

Unfortunately, according to Google, at least 77,100 people also invented “Naan Pizza.” There were 65,800 hits for “Non-Pizza” (bastards!). In my defense, there are only 142 results if you spell it with the apostrophe. No big deal, it would still be good.

Checking what was on hand, I had a box of naan (which sounds like the name of an alien on “Star Trek”—“I am called Box of Naanfear me!”). We had lots of fresh veggies, and some tasty chicken breast from the previous night’s feast (for which I made my own gravy, I’ll have you know.)

I’m all set to assemble my Chicken Non-Pizza when I realize I have no sauce. Sure, I could make a sauce, but I had no tomatoes. No stewed tomatoes, no diced tomatoes—not even a tiny can of tomato paste. C’mon, everyone has a tiny can of tomato paste in back of the cupboard. Don’t believe me? Fine, check for yourself.

Here’s where it gets a little weird. I realized I had chicken, vegetables, and the aforementioned gravy. Well, that’s a pot pie waiting to happen! But let’s be real, I wasn’t gonna bake a pie crust. Besides, The Girlfriend wanted pizza. So I created……………….


Open-Faced Pot Pie Pizza™


                   Frozen naan

                   Leftover chicken

                   Leftover chicken gravy






·        Defrost naan.

·        While naan defrosts, chop chicken, celery, carrots and mushrooms into pizza-topping sized chunks.

·        Take naan out of oven.

       Carefully pour leftover chicken gravy on each slice.

·        Place chunks of chicken, celery, carrots and mushrooms randomly on each slice.

·        Put a piece of cheese on one of the slices.

·        Put it all back in the oven for a while.

 There you have it. An Indian-Italian classic. I’ll admit I was worried about this one—I didn’t want my mashup to be the food equivalent of those horrible ‘crossover episodes’ on TV. You know, where the cast of ‘Beverly Hillbillies’ would inexplicably visit ‘Petticoat Junction?’ You don’t see crossover episodes very often anymore, which is too bad, because I’d love to see a crossover between ‘Dexter’ and ‘The Bachelorette.’

naan pizza2

It’s all the comfort of a chicken pot pie, but you can eat it with your hands!

 As it turned out, my musical ménage of Milan, Mumbai and the midwest was a hit. Who knows what I’ll combine next? Maybe I’ll put German sauerkraut on a French baguette and call it a Vichy Sandwich (thank you, history majors).

I’m crazy--I might mix Newfoundland and New Orleans, and create…whatever that would be. All I know for sure is that, by my cooking, I am single-handedly bringing the world together. It's a big responsibility, people.

update: I have decided to withdraw my application for trademark on the name 'pot-pie pizza,' as there are, apparently, "about 168,000" people who have used that phrase. Damn, you, Google Search. Oh, and if you're in Chicago, drop by Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder Company, because apparently they came up with the idea, too. Maybe they just ran out of red sauce.

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Another great piece and the naan chicken pot pie looks very delicious.


And I think Newfoundland and New Orleans would go well, being that both involve a lot of fish.
As they say. . . Necessity is the mother of invention and culinary creations. Yours look delicious. Newfoundlanders eat cod-tongues and flipper pie. If you can fuse either with a New Orleans dish, you've got it made !
Jose Garces will have an Indian-Italian place, up and running in Philadelphia, by the end of the week. You are such a trend setter, MisterComedy. And Jose has never seen a trend he couldn’t capitalize on.
Your cheffery is indeed a multicultural force in and of itself. You had me laughing with "the jazz-crap fusion of Kenny G.," and you wouldn't let me stop. Mr. C., if you keep this up, not only will my reservoir of laughter dry up, but I also suspect the Food Channel will surely be calling.
OMg this is a truly delicious post. The Pizza is a really good idea. I use Pita myself but na'an sounds good too. Mmmmm
Yer blowin my mind here. (I think you need a food stylist, though. Your carrots aren't placed with enough intentional randomness.)


"Dexter-ette", that would be a good one.
I think you should add cod to the kraut on baguette so it could be Fishy Vichy.

This pizza-pie recipe really was inspired, though. Good job!
You forgot the most important ingredient -- a joint the size of a tampon. That looks awful, like something my mother would have come up with in the 70's and served with a side of jello and Ritz cracker pie for dessert. But with that joint, I can see it becoming indescribably delicious . . .
"because I’d love to see a crossover between ‘Dexter’ and ‘The Bachelorette.’"

ME TOO!! ME TOO!! Lets make that happen, PLEASE? :D
I think that looks delicious. ~r
I am sorry, but you are not the self-proclaimed master improv chef you claim yourself to be. If you were, you would have relied on that old tomato sauce substitute: ketchup or catsup. But i liked your mash up idea. R
Mary: thanks--it was! now back to experimenting...
FusunA: that seals it--i need to make Flipper Pie Gumbo...
Mark: i can't count the number of ideas he's already stolen from me...
Jerry: don't use up all your laughter--i might write again...
Jonathan: thanks, man!
Algis: i need to try this with pita--maybe a Gyros Pizza with Tahini?
Jeannette: you are officially hired as Chief Food Stylist and Aesthetic Consultant for Mister Comedy Kitchens...
keri:Excellent--you're in charge of my Dish-Naming Division...
CCK: you've figured out my secret ingredient (though my joints tend to be more moderately-sized--and amazingly it tasted better than it looked...
Tinkster: starring you, i assume, as Dexter's dashing assistant who steals the bachelorette away from him...
Joan: thanks--sometimes the 'experiments' work out...
Trudge: alas, no ketchup OR catsup in the house--and i was surprised the mashup actually worked...
Looks great.

I just favorited you based on a single phrase:
"the jazz-crap fusion of Kenny G"
Anyone who would come up with that has to be worth reading.
Looks good. Naan is normally used to sho'el up food to transport to mouth, and goes with anything, so this sa'es a step since the food comes already attached.

I had something good the other day, requiring no cooking - frozen bartha (Indian curried eggplant, yum) scooped up and transported to eager mouth by Persian bread, which is one gigantic naan that ser'es a dozen, this one with cinnamon.


That looks absolutely... well, nevermind.

Anyway, 65,800 out of 300 million puts you in a pretty exclusive club, when you think about it. I wonder how many hits there were for pot-pie pizza?
Okay, that was a gut bus'tah. No, I'm mean really, I made it and it was a gut buster. And, very funny, truly. What they like to eat in Newfoundland is puffins, which are, well, like chicken. So...........do I have to walk you through it, really? Throw in some okra and Cajun seasoning and voila! Very amuzing piece.
At my age I muts watch what I eat but I could smeak one of these in at midnight. Faanatastic !!!
Love it. Naan is a great staple to have around--I've used it in place of buns for bratwurst before.
It looks good. Na'an pot pie. Necessity is the mother of invention.