Here are some things that go with pizza: wings, beer, Coca-Cola and more pizza.
Here are some things that don’t go with pizza: utensils.
If you use a fork to eat your pizza, either you are a snob afraid to get a little cheese on your chin or you are eating the wrong pizza. And by wrong, I mean deep dish.
Because, truth be told, is there really any “bad” pizza? Maybe if you’re topping it with pineapple or Sriracha sauce, but outside of that, how badly can you screw up bread, cheese, pepperoni and tomato sauce?
Pizza, though, should be eaten by the slice, out of the box. Thin enough to handle that way. Not cracker-thin, but certainly not thick. Pizza is a comfort food, to be picked up on the way home from work when you don’t feel like cooking or bought in mass quantities for a big party. You can’t get a real “deep-dish pizza” as a carryout item.
For a real deep-dish experience, you need to be eating in a sit-down restaurant. The kind with no TVs on the walls. Who wants to do that for a slice of pizza?
Deep-dish is synonymous with Chicago. I love Chicago. I’ve experienced many happy moments in Chicago—with one notable exception that involved deep-dish pizza.
A mutual friend suggested our families meet at a place called Giordano’s. Great! What time? 5:30. Perfect. About 70 minutes of Chicago rush-hour traffic and a $23 (nonrefundable) parking fee later, we learned we had gone to the wrong location. Another 30 minutes, and we were at the correct restaurant—close enough to Wrigleyville that anyone familiar with the city knows what that means: nowhere to park. I dropped off everyone else at the restaurant and circled block after block, in the rain, for 20 minutes until a spot opened.
By the time I got inside, two enormous, already half-eaten monstrosities were perched on pedestals in the middle of our table. Taste: average at best. What was all the fuss?
Two and a half hours and $100 wasted. Poof. My verdict: Never again.
It doesn’t make sense to want to eat the kind of pizza with a crust so thin that it bends down and all the gunk on it—gooey and sauce-covered stuff that you cherish—falls down onto your lap.
Trust me, this also doesn’t sound at all appetizing to the person who owns the chair or couch or light-colored carpet onto which all that pizza topping comes to rest after it bounces off the front of your khakis or chinos.
Give me a sturdy crust. Offer me the kind of pizza dough that when baked it creates a firm support for a slice that won’t bend as I bring it from my plate or the pizza box. If it falls on the front of me, maybe sliding down the front of my snow-white shirt like a tipped over toboggan that’s dropping passengers along the way, I want it to be my fault. Nothing will fall off my pizza on the way to my mouth. I’ll just drop the whole slice. That’s not caused by the pizza crust. I’m just a klutz.
People who know I’m from New York will question my preference for deep-dish pizza. “Isn’t New York known for thin crust pizza that they bend over so stuff doesn’t fall out of it?” Well, yeah. But, I grew up in western New York—upstate New York to anyone who lives in New York City. And upstate is completely different from the city. It’s practically the Midwest to people in New York City. I might as well have been a kid in Chicago, which, coincidentally, is so well-known for its thick-crust, deep-dish pizza that they actually call deep-dish pizza “Chicago Style Pizza.”
I guess I could say I think like Chicago people when it comes to pizza. And we believe that if we wanted to bend our food, we’d buy a wrap.
Thick crust gives deep-dish pizza some sense of significance. Deep-dish pizza isn’t just a snack you eat while watching some important game on television. This thick crust pizza is a meal. Ordering “the works” or “supreme” or “with everything” probably represents so many of the major food groups on the top of a deep-dish pizza—meat, vegetables, dairy products and even fish, if you like anchovies—that you almost can make yourself believe you are eating a healthful diet.
And, since you have to chew it a little, it’ll last longer, and it will fill you up quicker. In a hungry group, with everybody grabbing, you won’t be eyeing the last piece of pizza in the box with such self-centered lust.
So, go ahead. Order deep-dish for your next pizza. Think of it as dinner and you even can eat it with a fork, cutting cleanly through the thick cheese so it doesn’t drip. You probably can get away with using a napkin, too, without anybody thinking you’re a food wimp. The owner of the furniture will just be happy you solved the slob problem without leaving a stain.
We’re siding with Gary on this one.
We agree with Rich that there really isn’t any “bad” pizza. But we like our pizza thick. You don’t want to still be hungry after you’re done eating. And thin crust just isn’t as filling. When you want pizza, you want pizza—even if it means bringing out a knife and fork to grab all the goodness.