We’re here to settle a pizza feud that took off on the internet this week. Josh Scherer, host of the Mythical Kitchen YouTube channel (and, full disclosure, a friend of mine), posted a cooking video on TikTok about a style of pizza I’d never heard of: Spokane, Washington pizza. As the video explained, it starts with a Detroit-style base and is topped with canned salmon, strawberries, bell peppers, onions, and fry sauce (aka a combination of mayonnaise and ketchup). Wait, what? Spokane pizza?
Here’s the video:
“Spokane-style pizza is the most underrated pizza,” Scherer says in the video before plopping dough into a baking dish to begin the cooking demo. “You start off with with a Pyrex [glass pan], because Spokane actually invented the casserole.” He goes on to pile the dough with fry sauce, canned salmon, bell peppers, onions, a ton of mozzarella, and strawberries. After the pie’s baked off, he adds another zig-zag drizzle of fry sauce on top. Scherer claims that the concoction is “awesome” and that “I can see why the entire city of Spokane... really loves this pizza.”
As you can imagine, the reaction from the internet has mostly been varying shades of “What the fuck?” A lot of the social media storm took place on Twitter (of course), where people were mostly left scratching their heads. Scherer got a ton of responses on the video, some from actual residents of Spokane, who pretty much said his concoction was an abomination.
One user said, “As a Spokane native this offends me. Expect a class action lawsuit shortly.”
Another was a little more on the outraged side, saying, “This is NOT a Spokane style pizza. I’ve lived here for over 40 years and this is not a thing. This has to be the worst tasting pizza ever concocted and should not have Spokane’s good name tarnished by it.”
Spokane residents might have been highly offended by the pizza, but I wasn’t. “Canned salmon, strawberries, fry sauce—what’s not to love?” I asked myself as I rolled around on the floor in a little ball. Prior to my role at The Takeout, I spent five years as a pizzamaker and during my tenure, I spent a long time learning about all things pizza. I decided to find out what I could about this suspicious regional style.
I’m here to set the record straight: There is no such thing as Spokane-style pizza. And if there were, I highly doubt it would involve a combination of fish and fruit. (Then again, Altoona-style pizza surprised us, so anything’s possible.) But as much as I’d like to think I know everything, I reached out to the source of all this fuss, Josh Scherer, to ask him straight up whether or not this was one big troll. To my delight, he responded in great detail.
“I don’t know if I’d call it trolling exactly, but it was definitely a joke,” Scherer said. “When you say ‘knock knock’ and no one is, in fact, there, were you trolling or telling a joke?”
Though the pizza was itself a gag, the ingredients Scherer chose for the Spokane pizza weren’t totally random. “I put fry sauce on the pizza because I knew that was (vaguely) associated with Spokane, and I wanted to use salmon because most people associate that with Washington State,” he explained. And while the combination of fry sauce and fish on a Detroit-style pie with the cheesy crust was probably oddball enough on its own, the fruit was, well, the cherry on top.
“The strawberries were the final touch that I knew would piss people off,” he said. As we’ve seen with the Hawaiian style, fruit on a pizza can definitely make people unreasonably angry.
More than anything, the Spokane-style pizza is a good lesson in why people shouldn’t take everything they see on the internet at face value. Scherer himself is sort of amazed that so many folks were duped.
“I’m just still so confused how people heard the phrase ‘Spokane invented the casserole’ and didn’t think that this was a joke,” he said. “No single person invented the casserole! The casserole isn’t even a defined enough dish to have an inventor! People have been throwing shit into large cooking vessels for eternity! What the hell does ‘Spokane invented the casserole’ even mean?”
Well, there’s the definitive answer, straight from the tap. But I had another question for Scherer: I had to know why on earth he picked Spokane, because that seemed like a hilariously specific place to troll.
“I picked Spokane because it’s a city most people have probably heard of, but know nothing about,” he explained. “Also I went there when I was 17 and had a really nice time, but now I think the whole city hates me. If they’ll have me back, I’d love to go.”
As long as he doesn’t show up holding a Pyrex dish full of fish and strawberry pizza, I think he’ll be okay.