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Pizza Stories

So this guy goes into a pizzeria and orders an extra-large pizza with everything on it. As the pizza was being pulled out of the oven he asked the pizza maker, “How many slices do you cut this into?” “Ten,” the pizza maker responded. “Oh, no,” the man responded. Cut it into six. I could never eat 10 slices.”

By my reckoning the longest lasting purveyor of pizza in the city is Venezia. It wasn’t the first place to sell the pie, but it has endured. In the early days, the words “Pizza Pie” were even on the building’s side. That always reminded me of when I was a kid playing at a friend’s house. He asked his mother what was for dinner that night and he went ecstatic when she said “pizza pie.” I didn’t get it. I thought she had said “a piece of pie” – hardly the sustenance for a family meal. Once the mother determined my ignorance on the matter, she gave me a slice to take home; thus was my first encounter with pizza.

During a convention break in Chicago I went around the corner to the famous Pizza Uno to experience one of the city’s deep-dish pizzas made with a corn bread crust and filled with cheese and various ingredients. While I was waiting, a homeless man, big and somewhat disheveled, walked in and went to the kitchen. I could hear the manager explain that handouts wouldn’t be available until after the lunch hour, so to come back later. As the man walked out he paused at my table and said, “Hi, Errol.” I was stunned. It took me a few moments to realize that I had my convention badge on.

A study I found on the Internet about the nation’s most unhealthy food ranked Pizza Uno’s deep-dish pizza in the Top 10 with 2,310 calories. According to the study, “Downing this ‘personal’ pizza is equivalent to eating 18 slices of Domino’s Crunchy Thin Crust cheese pizza.”

Recently we went to visit a friend in Algiers. It was our job to bring a pizza. One of the selections of the menu at Theo’s was the “West Bank Special.” Since that was where we were heading that’s what I ordered. The ingredients included crumpled bacon, chicken, roasted red peppers, jalapeños, pineapple and mozzarella. I am not sure what that combination had to do with the West Bank, but it was really good. You might say it bridged the flavor spectrum.

I once asked a man who had been in the restaurant business why pizzas seem to be making a resurgence. He said because they’re so cost-efficient. They aren’t expensive to make, so the profit margin is high, yet still economical for the customer. They also taste good, and they’re a fun food. Now that we have expanded from pepperoni and olives to bacon bits and pineapple, creativity is running free.

There are probably many more creative pizzas in our future – anyway you slice them.
  

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