Eating pizza is a psychological blood sport, and the competition begins long before anyone can blot grease with a napkin, pick off a mushroom, or perform a cesarean on some stubborn Parmesan cheese. The first jab is thrown when someone digs into the center of the pizza – forsaking all crusted pieces – and brings back to their plate a square wedge of cheese that may as well be lasagna that’s been hit by a steam roller. The competition intensifies when someone peels off the cheese and toppings from an innocent piece of pizza – exposing its sauce-soaked, doughy foundation – and takes only the bottom, leaving a pepperoni pelt behind as a warning to the other meaty pieces of pizza who may be “too much” for the bon vivant who summoned their delivery. If you strip away our manners and our reputations, you’d find that our pizza piece preferences are at the core of who we are as individuals.
I’ve always been a Corner Person™. When presented with a full pizza, I opt for the four corners first, as I know in my heart of hearts those are the crispiest, most delicious pieces of any pizza. If you’re confused right now because you usually order pizza where every piece is the same, your pizza doesn’t have pieces, it has slices. Read on for an important lesson about pieces and slices:
In the realm of foods cut into multiples, the word “slice” implies uniformity in geometry, if not in size. There has never been a slice of anything that has not also been a triangle. If your pizza is cut into long, triangular slices that meet at a point in the center, you’re eating slices. Unless it is deep dish, sliced pizza is generally inferior to pizza with cuts that overlap and create varying shapes, unless said sliced pizza comes with a tiny plastic table that would make a nice accent piece in the living room of a low-rent dollhouse. The tiny plastic pizza table trumps many pizza disappointments, not the least of which, the method of division. Let the pizza psychoanalysis continue.
A pizza craving is one of the most human things about us. Pizza is the only food that remains the undisputed saboteur of all diets and carb avoidances. In disputes about what to order for dinner, pizza is the benevolent food Switzerland that brings us all together around a steamy cardboard box. Pizza is part of who we are, and whether you’ve considered it or not, your pizza piece preferences are not incidental. The next time you find yourself drawn to that cheesy inner piece or that discarded crust, know that you’re expressing your innermost self.