On Pizza: A PSA from Grumpy Rumblings

The best pizza is Chicago Style deep-dish, or perhaps Chicago-style stuffed.  (Hat tip to Lou Malnati’s for having sausage-crust pizza when I was pregnant at a conference and unable to eat wheat that one time.)

NY pizza is just wrong.  It’s FLOPPY.  And thin.  If pizza is thin, then it should be crispy.  You should never be able to fold a pizza.  That’s a crime against humanity.  Barbaric.

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Note that this is not tagged deliberately controversial because it isn’t.  If you disagree you are just *wrong*.  But feel free to disagree in the comments.

So we’ll know who you are. *ominous music*

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51 Responses to “On Pizza: A PSA from Grumpy Rumblings”

  1. eemusings Says:

    I couldn’t disagree more :)

    Thin Napoli pizza reigns. NY pizza comes in second.

  2. moom Says:

    Generally the best pizza I’ve had was in France :)

  3. omdg Says:

    I like all of them. FYI – If you order NY pizza by the slice (the only way to eat it, really) it gets crispy when it’s reheated in the oven. Otherwise it’s not *real* NY pizza.

    My favorite deep dish is spinach and sausage.

  4. The frugal ecologist Says:

    Mmm. Pizza.

    Personal faves a new haven style crispy & Chicago style deep dish. I am also a fan of spinach & sausage especially from Zachary’s in Berkeley. Mmm.

    Our uncle from Chicago sends Lou Malnatti’s every year but we’ve never had sausage crust. Sounds yum.

  5. hollyatclubthrifty Says:

    I am currently on day 6 of the Advocare 24 day challenge (to support my husband who is also doing it). He thought he would fail without me. Isn’t that cute? Anyway, I am starving and this is not helping!!!!

  6. Leah Says:

    As long as it has a chewy crust and not too much cheese, I’m in. I suppose that precludes deep dish . . . too much going on there for me. Stuffed crust is my least favorite; why ruin the best part with yet more cheese?

    In short, I like pan pizzas. NY style is fine with me, though a little weird.

  7. Comradde PhysioProffe Says:

    Deep dish “pizza” is a fucken abomination. The only real New York pizza is crispy thin-crust, like at Grimaldi’s or Patsy’s or Angelo’s. So-called “New York pizza” with doughy crust and loaded with cheap mozzarella cheese that people fold over like at Ray’s (any of the incarnations) is bulleshitte.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      “So-called “New York pizza” with doughy crust and loaded with cheap mozzarella cheese that people fold over like at Ray’s (any of the incarnations) is bulleshitte.” We agree on this. If you really want bread on the outside and toppings/sauce on the inside, get a calzone.

    • Rented life Says:

      Ugh, Ray’s is probably the worst I’ve had besides papa johns. (Traveling and we didn’t want McDonalds.)

    • Thisbe Says:

      +1 deep dish pizza is an abomination. Ewww, why would you do that?

      I prefer Roman style and that’s what I tend to make at home, but I will also accept neopolitan pizza.

  8. Good Enough Professor Says:

    They are two different things, each good in its own way and each governed by its own platonic ideal.

    Chicago-style pizza should fully embody the notion of pizza “pie”–bottom and sides (top optional) filled with cheese and what is, in lesser pizzas, known as “topping.” If it’s done right, one slice is ample–two or more will leave you in a cheese-fat coma, so you normally eat a Chicago-style pizza in company with others. If the crust is puffy, if there is more crust than filling, if the pizza is a “thick crust” monstrosity disguising itself as “Chicago-style,” then it’s bad.

    New-York-pizza should have a thin but dense and chewy crust, foldable enough to contain the toppings while you walk down the street eating a slice (though, ideally, you eat your slice at on a stool facing the the window in the hole-in-the-wall pizza joint that you stopped at on the way to somewhere else). It can, like the Chicago-style-pizza, be consumed as part of a communal experience, but the slices should be sized to constitute not-quite-meal-sized individual portions, each one sufficient to fuel whatever adventures the day might hold, but not so ample that they will interfere if the day’s adventures include an impromptu invitation to try a new tapas bar/sushi place/whole-food-diner/etc.

    The only abomination is flat pizza made by midwesterners who don’t understand the gestalt of New-York style pizza. They put it on a crunchy cracker-like crust. They load it with too many toppings. They cut it into SQUARES. If you want to make appetizers in quantity, make appetizers. If you want PIZZA, choose judiciously from your local pizza-makers, and if either proper NY-style or Chicago-style is unavailable where you live, pick the one that you can have and look forward to your next trip to a better-provisioned part of the country.

    • Leah Says:

      Square pizza slices from a round pizza are an abomination. This is the most disappointing thing about living in the midwest. Seriously.

  9. Sandyl FirstgenAmerican Says:

    My definition is it’s not a real pizza if you need to use utensils to eat it. I am not arguing that it’s not delicious, but deep dish I like to more of a lasagna type meal, not TRUE pizza.

  10. Dr. Koshary Says:

    I respect you two tremendously, and yet I am aghast at how staggeringly, mind-bogglingly, off-the-deep-end wrong you are on this matter. Chicago deep-dish pizza is an abomination of nature, a cruel perversion of the true pizza. The whole idea of a thick layer of dough scuttles the entire possibility of a pizza right there. I find it nauseating.

    Don’t mistake poorly made thin-crust pizza for any kind of example to follow. Everything can be done poorly. Properly made Neapolitan-style pizza, though, is almost indescribably delicious. Neapolitan. Yes. Pizza did not originate in New York, no matter what those smug SOBs claim. Go to Naples and have pizza there, if you don’t believe me.

    As to the folding: that is not possible with honest-to-goodness Neapolitan pizza, since the crust is baked just a little crispy for that, and the toppings aren’t glued to a layer of tasteless cheese. I will acknowledge, though, that when it’s 2am and you’re hammered and staggering out of the bar, the cheap New York-style pizza you get up the street is rubbery/flexible enough that it can be folded. In fact, you will need to fold it in order to drain off the extra grease on to the paper plate (if you get a plate at all), never mind the fact that all that beer you had is now messing with your manual dexterity and you really have to fold the damn thing just to hold on to it. There is a time and a place in which folding pizza makes sense.

  11. Linda Says:

    I grew up in the Chicago ‘burbs and have lived in the city proper for 20 years, but I rarely consume deep dish pizza. My preference is for the thin, crispy Neapolitan style pizza that is available at a few restaurants here in Chicago (with Spacca Napoli in Lincoln Square being the absolute best). Deep dish pizza is like cheese pie…hmmm…perhaps that’s why you love it so much? ;-)

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      We’re on board with thin Crispy Chicago pizza too. And deep dish (or, even better, stuffed) pizza is really a treat, not something to have say, once a week. (Currently we enjoy it about once every year or two… which is perhaps too infrequent.)

  12. waltless Says:

    Dominos triple-cheese, sausage, pepperoni and mushrooms (delivered, of course).

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      This has to be spam or a troll… Domino’s? Really?

      • Norwegian Forest Cat Says:

        No, if it were really a troll they’d be singing the praises of St. Louis-style pizza: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Louis-style_pizza

        Seriously, it’s a cracker with tomato sauce and plastic. I made the mistake of ordering it once, and it won’t happen again.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        That can’t really exist, can it?

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        Oh, I see. No, I’ve had that (it was actually the only kind of pizza in DH’s hometown before they got a Pizza Hut). That’s the midwestern squares people are talking about above. It isn’t really a cracker with tomato sauce and plastic. Maybe it is in St. Louis. I tend to think of that as “appetizer pizza”. The one in DH’s hometown has actual cheese on it.

        Obv if you’re in St. Louis you’re there for the bbq ribs.

      • Norwegian Forest Cat Says:

        The thing that sets it apart from other Midwestern square pizza is the Provel. It’s quite an abomination, and apparently is quite hard to find outside of the area. Thankfully others came to their senses and created other delicious varieties, because grad school would probably have been impossible without quality pizza.

        The ribs are actually quite good around here–they’re one of those inherently unoffensive things that people talk about when they’re making elevator small talk, along with the weather and the Cardinals.

      • Linda Says:

        This comment reminds me of a meeting I was attending to gather requirements for a new online workspace our team was configuring. There was some bantering about a status indicator and most people were chuckling and mentioning Domino’s. I had to ask what they were talking about. “You know how you track your order on the Domino’s site…” I had to interrupt right there and say, “No, I’ve never ordered a pizza from Domino’s. I live in Chicago and there are lots of places to order good pizza.” (Oh, and this meeting was taking place here in my hometown of Chicago. It’s BLASPHEMY that anyone would order a Domino’s pizza here. Seriously?!)

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        That makes no sense!

      • Linda Says:

        Oops! I meant to write that all but one of the people in that meeting lived in Chicago or in the ‘burbs. We had one person visiting from the Bay area. I’m not sure what the “pizza IQ” of that area is, but from some of the comments here and the research I’ve been doing in planning for my relocation, I’m still shocked that anyone would order from Domino’s if they have real pizza joint options.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        The only plausible reason is that you’re feeding hungry students and you want the second cheapest option instead of Little Cesar’s. (Which is actually worse than Domino’s, for realz.)

  13. Ana Says:

    Well, duh, Chicago deep dish is to die for, but its a once-a-year kind of calorie bomb treat. I dislike the super-thin-soggy NY style slices, too. I like a more substantial (but not too thick and doughy) crust. We’ve found a few good ones here, but not sure what “style” they qualify as. In any case, we eat pizza about once a week though that is going to change now that I looked up the calories in a slice….

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Enjoy pizza responsibly and in moderation. Or not. But definitely enjoy it. Unless it’s NY Style, and then don’t bother.

      Pizza can fit in just fine into most eating plans (a good reason not to go paleo) so long as people listen to their hunger. Bonus points for whole wheat and veggie toppings.

      • Thisbe Says:

        I’m sort of intense about my baking and also about my weird health-food eating. I cannot recommend the idea of whole wheat pizza crust; it just doesn’t turn out right. (Currently I’m making my pizza dough 70/30 bread and semolina flour with a really absurd amount of water and kneading it in the kitchenaid for 18-20 minutes on high to get the right texture and gluten development – which will never, ever happen if whole-wheat flour is included.)

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        It is already established that you have bad taste in pizza.

  14. becca Says:

    I miss Aurelios. Also Edwardos, for the deep dish pesto pizza.

    • Linda Says:

      Aurelio’s was my “hometown” pizza place where I grew up in the south suburbs. I agree that Edwardo’s has a pretty good deep dish. If I want delicious “standard” thin crust pizza where I live now I order from Marie’s. For dining in, it’s Spacca Napoli all the way.

  15. Debbie M Says:

    My standards are clearly lower–the best pizza is the kind with real cheese on top.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      TX, eh? Another place where if you’re talking about food, it is probably BBQ.

      • Debbie M Says:

        I don’t think it’s about Texas. I think it’s about the way that even bad pizza is good food (unless it has fake cheese).

        [The food I miss when I'm not in Texas is Tex-Mex, not BBQ. Mmm, enchilada plates. Tacos and burritos. Queso. Migas. (And I don't even eat hot sauce, which some people feel is the whole point of Tex-Mex, especially breakfast tacos.)]

  16. Rented life Says:

    I’ve not had Chicago style in Chicago. Maybe it’s better but around here all that is is pizza soup in a short bread bowel. (I might be exaggerating but not by much.). So gross.
    My favorite pizza is from a place where we used to live many years ago. I don’t know what they put in it, but it’s good we moved; we were ordering it weekly. For me the sauce has to taste good, can’t have too thick or doughy crust, and the pepperoni should be crispy. Crappy sauce can make or break it for me.

  17. chacha1 Says:

    I don’t like Chicago style OR New York style. So I am wrong. :-)

    I like a thin, relatively crispy (but not hard and crunchy; this is a difficult balance to achieve, apparently) pizza crust, and it MUST have tomato sauce and cheese or it is not, IMO, Pizza but a mere, sad, flatbread approximation of pizza.

  18. Sapience Says:

    I generally prefer New York pizza to Chicago, but it’s not because of the crust or amount of toppings–it’s because putting the sauce on top of the cheese means that the cheese can’t get deliciously crispy. I like both thin and thick crusts when I’m in different moods.

  19. Matt Healy Says:

    I grew up near Milwaukee, and my brother lives in Chicago, so I have a long standing personal fondness for Chicago-style pizza. But in the 1990s my wife and I were postdocs at Yale, and we’ve stayed in CT ever since, so we’ve acquired considerable respect for New Haven’s pizza culture.


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