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November 13, 2008

What kind of pizza eater are you?



Owl Meat is back in full feather this week. In today's Funtastic Thursday he asks this provocative question: What kind of pizza eater are you? EL

Look at the happy couple, let's call them, uh, Falcon Loin Au Jus and Sourmash Girl.  Pizza only enhances their love-wonderment.  Yes, it makes them slightly pixilated and oversaturated, but even still, that's pizza amore just like when the moon hits your eye.  
Here's some pizzatastic vids to warm up your gastro-cockles.
PIZZA-LA ... a Japanese pizza commercial -- predictably odd, weirdly cute, slightly frightening.  Dig it up gai-jin.  Can you ID some of the whack toppings dancing around?  I can't.   And why is Pizza crying?  All theories welcome.

Pizza Elmo
- scary and annoying.  Elmo must be stopped.  This is how Pol Pot started.

David Sedaris delivers a pizza.  David Sedaris is funny, but I wouldn't want to be his pool boy.

Vertical pizza - it could happen.

I have seen people eat pizza in a lot of different ways.  What kind of pizza eater are you?  Or do you do something totally different?   For this particular purpose I'm only thinking of round pizzas.
(1) Do you start with the pointy end?

(2) Do you eat the crust first?

(3) Do you stop at the crust?

(4) Do you fold it in half?

(5) Do you use a knife and fork?

(6) Do you roll it up?

(7) Do you use the crust to dip into something else?

(8) Do you pick the toppings off and eat them first?
I witnessed the most puzzling pizza technique in Baltimore.  I watched a Dutch dude roll slices of pizza into weird big fat cigars and eat them out of his fist.  It was like watching a flying monkey or Hugh Jackman at a spelling bee.
The stupidest pizza order I've witnessed was in Baltimore, too.  I was at Little Italy's Isabella's right before one of the insanely crowded free Italian film festival Friday nights.  This is where cheapskates from miles around bring lawn chairs to sit in the street or an asphalt parking lot that is radiating August heat like Cerberus in a gelateria to watch Moonstruck.  
Isabella's is stretched to the limit during such events.  A man came in and ordered a pizza, but didn't want it right then.  He wanted it to come out of the oven in exactly 50 minutes to coincide with the arrival of his friends.  Obviously they couldn't accommodate that with orders coming in constantly, yet he persisted.  No luck, plus the guy standing behind him was laughing derisively in support of the beautiful and harried flour-dusted Russian counter girl.  
Now for the weird part.  He wanted his large round pizza to be cut into squares.  By this point the conceptual and linguistic limits of floury Russian girl were exceeded.  The guy standing behind him muttered something about Anaxagoras. By this point Laughing Guy was practically choking as three different people try to explain that a circle cannot be cut into squares.  Sweet Fancy Euclid!
The oddest pizza behavior that I've seen happened in high school.  I was chillaxing with my boyz in a booth at the local Hut and a man came in with a ventriloquist's dummy.  He lovingly seated the dummy opposite him in the booth.  He had the waitron set up a place setting and a glass of water with a straw for the dummy.  He ordered a pizza, ate it and conversed with the dummy as if they were on a date.   Pizza love sure comes in many styles.
Pizza!  Pizza!

(Photo courtesy of Getty Images)

Posted by Elizabeth Large at 12:04 PM | | Comments (52)


I am a normal pizza eater. Pointed end first, work back to the crust, and then I eat the crust. My husband does not like crust, so I eat his too. It is a good arrangement.

The strangest place I ever had pizza was at this place called Peppers Pizza in Raleigh, NC. The staff was dressed in leather with brightly colored hair, Nine Inch Nails blasted through the dining room, and there was a large naked mannequin holding a sign saying "show me your tips."

If available, I eat pizza with a knife and fork. Its a lot less messy and I can eat it when its real hot.

If no knife and fork are available, I let it cool down some first. Then I might fold it in half if the slice is large enough.

I always start at the pointy end and stop at the crust. I usually taste a piece of crust and if its especially good, or I'm especially hungry, I will eat 1-2 crusts too.

If there is pepperoni on the pizza, I might take a napkin to sop up the pools of grease that form in the pepperoni's saucer-like shape.

This may be a New England thing, as I haven't seen it since I moved from CT, but Greek Pizza is always a round pizza cut into squares.

Some places in the midwest cut round pies into squares. i dont know why

Pick off and eat toppings first (share with dogs). Fold and eat remaining slice, pointy end first to crust. Feed crust to dogs. repeat until so sick and full I never want to see pizza again.

I always thought Bourbon Girl would be taller than Owlie. Just one of those mental pictures you build...

We aren't dummies. We are people of wood.

At IMO's pizza in St. Louis, MO their tag line is "the square beyond compare." The pizza tastes alot like cardboard.

"Owl Meat Full of S*** " - have we been invaded by the 13 year olds from midnight sun?

I've been seeing Bird as a large-taloned, large-eyed featheréd creature. As I "saw" the Monkey Bread Story unfolding, he was perched on the edge of the couch with the head turning on a 360. I never imagined that he looked so much like a young Rob Lowe.

I wish I could BS like the Owl Meat Man.

Thank you, but there's nothing invented here. If I wanted to spin a good yarn, it wouldn't take place in Baltimore or at a Pizza Hut. Which reminds me of a time in Sarajevo ...

Round pizza cut squarish? Who knew? We all thought he was crazy. It seems like a terrible idea, because then you get gooey center squares that you can't pick up by the crust.

I always thought Bourbon Girl would be taller than Owlie. Just one of those mental pictures you build...

I've grown since the last picture you saw of me when I was two.

In the picture it doesn't look like Owl Meat has any legs, so maybe she is taller.

I can confirm that for some reason residents of inland parts of our nation cut pizza with several parallel lines as opposed to diameter cuts through the center. It's terrible and messy, because you no longer have a segment of sauce-free crust to cling to. Wikipedia calls this method of carving "party cut" and it's primarily used on Chicago-style pizza, or St. Louis style.

Owlie wrote: I've grown since the last picture you saw of me when I was two.

Cracked me up. Laughed right out loud.

Owl Meat Full Of S*** wrote: I wish I could BS like the Owl Meat Man.

I wish I could, too. I'm practicing.

So how do people in the midwest cut an apple pie? That doesn't really matter since you rarely see people picking up a slice of apple pie. Round pizza cut into squares? It boggles the mind. Besides you're not getting nice squares; you're getting a mishmash of goofy shapes. Where's Midwest Girl when you need her?

Still way too slow

Joyce W.,

When feeding pizza crust to the dog, you really should break it up into smaller pieces, as it can cause something called bloat. This is when a dogs stomach essentially flips upside down, and can lead to a rapid death (or at the least an expensive emergency vet bill). This can happen with other food items too, but for some reason whole pizza crust is one of the leading causes.

Words of warning...

Sometimes, if floppy
Depends on what's available

Strangest pizza I ever saw was at a pizzeria in downtown West Berlin. Called the Berliner Luft pizza it had, among other things, sauerkraut on it. Didn't try it, though. I went with the Hawaiian Pizza with chunks of pineapple.

In Michigan, we cut round pizza in wedges. I did see it cut in square pieces a few times when I lived in New England. I do not like that.

I eat pizza the usual way (point to crust, folded over only if thin and a wide piece), but I eat weird toppings. Not Japanese weird, though.

Thanks to Owl Meat Provolone, we finally know what happened to the crazed ventriloquist played by Michael Redgrave in the horror classic, "Dead of Night."

Thanx for the warning, Beav! Expensive Vet bills are exactly what we don't need right now! (as if there IS a good time for them) Plus don't want to hurt the doggies!

In St. Louis they use a cheese like product called provel on pizza. It is stringy with no flavor. No wonder I have no desire to move back to Southern Illinois.

When my wife gives pizza crusts to Mr. Jefferson - the dog- he buries them in the dirty clothes. I find them on laundry days when I get to dig them out of the lint trap.


(Pic can't be our hero: the hands are too small.)

It must be said...I only eat Gil's pizza. A friend gave me one of those insulated pizza bags, so it stays HOT. I use a knife and fork because I don't have the patience to wait for it to cool. I start with the crust and work towards the tip.

Durnit, now I want pizza, and Gil's has been closed for three hours...sigh....

Depends on what kind of pizza.....and I should probably mention here that I eat some form of it at least 4 times a week.

I make my own pita pizzas and cook them in the toaster oven. The get super crunchy and I drizzle EVOO over it before eating. Those get cut into 4 pieces. Olive oil drips off while eating. So good.

NYC pizza. Depending on how well the kitchen listened to my request for "extra, extra, extra sauce, light on the cheese", sometimes it HAS to be eaten with a fork and knife. But then once it cools slightly, it can be picked up.

Most other kinds I just eat from tip to crust. But I do not eat the crust. I only eat what has sauce on it. I love the places that take the sauce all the way to the edge.

I NEVER wait for pizza (or any food) to cool before eating. It may be burning my fingers, but it'll go in my mouth. Part of the experience is taking a layer off of the roof of your mouth.

The dog only gets the crust to my pita pizza because they are made with whole wheat pita and he only gets healthy stuff :)

Dottie: You've got your very own pizza delivery bag. I'm jealous.

Why didn't you tell us that back when we were talking about the ten things Gailor should have packed to move to Illinois? It would have been the consenus winner.

When eating alone: I rip off the crust, pull off the layer of cheese and wrap the cheese around the crust. Then I throw out the left over sauce covered triangles.

When eating with others: tip to crust.

I photoshopped in some smaller hands to avoid hand envy.

"Owl meat full of s***"
A perfect opportunity to use the word "fewmet" wasted. Anyway, kid, your owl meat wouldn't be full of s*** if you were more careful when dressing the bird.

Pizza? I grew up near New York City, where crusts are thin and usually rather soft. So, I fold the slice in half, or at least crease it, to hold everything inside. And I eat the crust afterwards unless it's dry and nasty.

cinnamon girl,

Save your sauce covered triangles for meeeee! That's all I like. I only like minimal cheese, tons of sauce, and no crust.

We really should eat pizza together lol!

Jeez Cheap Jim, first Bucky is visualizing BG and I and now you're scooping out my insides. And you want to be my latex salesman?

cinnamon girl, your pizza eating technique is ... I'm tingling. Let me splash some water on my face. Ah. That is provocatively insane. I love it. You frighten and intrigue me. That's way more interesting than the Dutch pizza cigar. It's like some kind of German performance art. Do you do any other tricks with your food?

Carey, I get the sense that triangle destruction is part of cinnamon girl's raison d'etre.

I was watching 30 Rock last night and thought of you Mr. Owl.

Tracy Morgan said this to Kenneth the Page: "I hate to see you like this Ken doll. It's like a owl without a graduation cap - Heart-breaking."

If you've ever had pepperoni pizza from Squire's in Dundalk, you know that the edges of the pepperoni curl up during cooking and turn each pepperoni piece into a small bowl of grease by the time the pizza is served. When I was young, I had a friend who used to pick up each piece of pepperoni and drink the grease out of each one. Even at age 11 or so, I thought that was pretty strange.

Bonus points to Tim for that disgusting bit of technique.

I've had Squire's pizza and theirs isn't the only pepperoni to become grease bowls.
Probably why I don't get pepperoni on pizza. But I like lots of other toppings.

I like Gil's a lot too.

Mr. Owl, of course I do other tricks with my food.

I'm with Fl Rob - I'm not overly fond of pepperoni grease pools on pizza. And, like Carey, I relish the sauce. Confuses those pizza guys when you order "extra sauce".

Maria's in Reisterstown has (had) the most greasy pizza ever. Every pie had a grease puddle in the middle that needed sponging before eating. It's been a couple years since I've seen one of their pizzas though.

Mr. Owl, of course I do other tricks with my food.

Intrigued ...

I think Cinnamon girl is on to a fascinating new topic. Unique or wierd things we do when eating alone. Things we would never do in the presence of others. I also love the cheese more than the sauce and dough. But I have never thought of wrapping the cheese around the crust! Crust stuffed chesse, yes...

When I was growing up a zillion years ago, in a state north of here the only pizza in town came from a bar, and only then when the owner's mother (Angie) felt like showing up. There was a lot of oil. Blotting was not "done".

I'm calling it!

I'm running out of funtastic ideas, maybe next week's topic will be shameful secret food rituals. Since I have no shame, I'll start with mine. Okay, I like this idea.

As I recall, Grotto Pizza in Rehoboth Beach adds swirls of olive oil to top the pizza before cooking. YUUMM!

What's the difference between oil and grease?

OMG, oil goes in the crankcase, grease goes on the bearings.

What's the difference between oil and grease?

One is liquid at room temperature.

LEC, we had a terrible pizza from Grotto in Rehoboth last August--a real shocker. Just for starters, they left off the cheese. We've been eating at Grotto's for many, many years, but we may have to reconsider our long-standing "first night at the beach" ritual.

None really, just juuummminess! Of course in different styles. I've seen cheese alone exude its essence but also think of things like fondue if they didn't have their underlying fat content. One just doesn't "see" it.

Just don't look and I won't tell.

Owl - All the hard work you do for this blog, you are more than welcome to claim it!

Lissa's answer to the "oil vs. grease" question is way better than mine!

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About this blog
Richard Gorelick was appointed The Baltimore Sun's restaurant critic in September 2010. Before joining the paper staff fulltime, he contributed freelance criticism and features articles about food to area and regional publications. Along the way, he dispatched for short-distance trucking companies, shilled for cultural non-profits, and assisted in cognitive neurology research – never the subject, always the control.

He takes restaurants seriously but not himself, and his favorite restaurant is the one you love, too.

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