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What Type of Pizza is Right For You?

Some people claim that cheese is their Prozac. I’m one of those people. Absolutely. There are delicious bits of cheesy goodness that will cure any and all ills. Having a bad day at the office? A grilled cheese for lunch will perk me right up. PMS? Cheetos, the crunchy ones, never puffed, will do the trick. Nothing good on TV? Sharp cheddar atop apple slices makes everything more interesting, even reruns of “America’s Next Top Model.”

The absolute ultimate in therapeutic cheese-eating, however, is pizza. And just as there are a million billion kinds of cheese in the world, there is a style of pizza for every mood.

New York-style pizza is the standard by which all other pizzas are measured. With a thin crust that is both crisp and chewy, a not-too-sweet sauce, and minimal toppings, this is the ultimate in street pizzas. Large slices can be eaten on the go – folded, stacked, or one-by-one, but they should always be piping hot, with the cheese lightly browned and bubbling. This is the on-the-go, let’s-go-tackle-the-world pizza. Not too heavy, not too bogged down, a slice or two of New York-style pizza is the perfect fuel for taking on an afternoon of errand-running, thrift shopping, photo taking, or other adventures that find you running around in the fresh air.

Deep-dish pizza is a Chicago style, and is pretty much the exact opposite of the slices described above. Deep-dish is hearty and cheesy with a thick chunky sauce, and is crammed full of toppings. This kind of pie is best eaten when sitting down, with a knife and fork, and many many napkins on hand. Deep-dish pizza is heartbreak pizza. It sates and comforts like no other, and is best topped with pretty much everything that will fit and served with some deep red wine and shared with a few good friends.

Sicilian pizza tends to have a a thick, heartier, hand-tossed crust, and the the cheese melted under the sauce. There is also usually a killer garlic bite that is great for curing colds. Detroit-style pizza also has toppings under the sauce, it’s a deep-dish style, and is often square. Because the toppings are in reverse order, this is not s tidy pie. in fact, it’s kind of all over the place, spilling out into the pan, flattening itself over the entirety of your plate, making itself quite at home in spots on the front of your shirt… This is the pizza to find if you need to ward off unwanted romantic attention. Or vampires.

Frozen pizza is best for when you’re waxing nostalgic about the good ol’ days of college. (Tombstone Double Cheese is my favorite.) Oh yes, those halcyon days of working two jobs and studying on lunch breaks, carrying a 15-pound backpack full of Astronomy 101, Socrates, and Truffaut, and all that great (albeit mandatory) thrift shopping produced some rose-tinted memories … and sometimes, a gal just needs to re-live one of those days that started with a triple Americano depth charge, runs fast and furious for 18 hours, and ended with a few slices of hastily-scarfed freezer pizza washed down with a piece of Toaster Strudel and a bottle of Grolsch. Or sometimes you’re just feeling cheap and lazy. Frozen pizza is not good pizza, not by any means, but it does fill a need.

St. Louis-style pizza is another thin-crust style pizza, with a crust even crisper than New York-style; it’s almost cracker-like. This style is also sliced into squares rather than into pie-shaped wedges, and it’s topped with Provolone, Swiss, and white Cheddar cheeses rather than Mozzarella. St. Louis-style is crispy, it’s salty, and it’s great for sharing with friends over a pitcher or two of beer. It’s also tricky, though, because the squares circumvent the rationing process — they’re so tiny, and so tasty, you can eat a dozen of them, no problem! That is, until you realize that you’ve eaten more than half of the pizza by yourself. Not that that has ever happened, mind you…

There are even more regional varieties and styles and toppings, and the combination possibilities easily number in the millions and billions. One of my favorites may not even technically be pizza: tofu, shredded carrots, and diced mangoes with peanut sauce on pita bread. Seriously. It’s pizza because it’s topped with mozzarella and baked — that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

All of these kinds of pizza are fabulous, and no matter how you top them, as long as there is plenty of melty cheese, I will refer to them not by geography or style, but simply as “delicious.”

Lorien Gruchalla

PHOTO BY SHARYN MORROW

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