Sunday is a big day for Super Bowl watching and for pizza eating. And of course there's not just one way to eat a slice. Dan Pashman of Sporkful.com has been exploring the many approaches to pizza consumption and has advice for both traditional and adventurous eaters.
Pashman says there are three basic approaches. The first is the simplest: Take the slice, transport it to your mouth, bite. The second is the fold — lengthwise, with the crust out. And finally, there's the contentious fork-and-knife method. While New York's new mayor faced a lot of heat when he practiced this last month, Pashman says it is legitimate, especially when dealing with pizza that's too hot.
But after extensive research, Pashman also proposes three bold new strategies:
1. The "Travolta"
Based on the opening credits of Saturday Night Fever, this calls for the pizza eater to lay two slices on top of each other and eat them together. Upside: You may look as cool as John Travolta in the movie. Downside: The pizza experience does not last as long. Plus, the bottom slice may moisten and reduce the crisp of the top slice.
2. The "Crust In The Middle"
If you are faced with a mediocre crust, it doesn't have to go to waste. Remove the crust and lay it on the slice vertically from the top to the bottom. Then fold the pizza around the crust. Pashman says this creates a symbiotic relationship. The pizza imbues the crust with flavorful cheese and sauce, while the crust returns the favor by adding texture to every bite.
3. The "Inside-Out Fold"
This one is genius, revolutionary or insane, depending on your perspective. You take the slice and fold it inside-out. This puts the cheese and the sauce on the outside so they can go directly against your tongue and provide immediate flavor. Of course with toppings, this method could get messy. But Pashman says truly great pizza doesn't need toppings. (Cue the comments.)
Check out the video below to see Pashman take these methods to New York pizza legends Patsy and Carol Grimaldi:
RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:
Today is a big day for the pizzerias of America. In the midst of all that Super Bowl watching, there will be a lot of pizza ordering. And with every pizza delivered across this great land there is a question: how should one consume a slice? Dan Pashman is the host of the Sporkful Food podcast and the Cooking Channel web series "You're Eating It Wrong." He joins us now from our studios in New York to answer this question how does one eat a slice of pizza? Hey, Dan.
DAN PASHMAN: Hi, Rachel.
MARTIN: All right. Before we get crazy, let's run through some of the traditional, perhaps obvious, approaches to pizza eating.
PASHMAN: Yeah. I mean, look, option one - pretty clear - you could just put it in your mouth and eat it. Then there's the fold, which is a classic. That's one I happen to like. And then, of course, there is the fork and knife option.
MARTIN: I mean, that's a little bit controversial, isn't it? I hear the new mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio, actually got in trouble when he was kind of caught eating pizza with a fork and knife.
PASHMAN: It was a big deal here, no question. It even necessitated a Maureen Dowd column. But I'll actually defend Mayor de Blasio and the fork and knife, but I actually spoke to a much higher authority about this, 82-year-old New York pizza legend Patsy Grimaldi. Here's how he and his wife Carol describe their approach to eating a slice:
PATSY GRIMALDI: I'm a folder.
CAROL GRIMALDI: I start with a fork and a knife and then work my way to folding.
GRIMALDI: I do the same exact thing. I start off with a fork and knife. As soon as it's easy to handle, I shove it in my mouth.
MARTIN: So, I have a feeling you might have some more creative options up your sleeve.
PASHMAN: There are other options out there. There's one that I called the Travolta, popularized by John Travolta in the opening credits of "Saturday Night Fever," where you put one slice right on top of another slice and you eat them together. It's decadent. I don't love it, though, first because it means you're going to run out of pizza faster, which is not a positive outcome. And then also the steam from the bottom slice could come up and reduce the crisp of the crust from the top slice. One more I'll give you - and I mean, I trust that you're sitting down, Rachel.
MARTIN: I am. I'm prepared.
PASHMAN: Are you ready for the inside-out fold?
MARTIN: I don't know what that means but tell me.
PASHMAN: Take a slice of pizza and fold it inside-out so that the cheese and sauce are on the outside and that way those ingredients will touch your tongue directly and those flavors will be accentuated.
MARTIN: That is disastrous.
PASHMAN: It hold together a lot better than you think. But you're not the only person who's skeptical. I ran this by Mr. and Mrs. Grimaldi, who are pretty old school. This was their reaction.
GRIMALDI: I don't know. That couldn't be done. All the ingredients will fall off if you fold the opposite way.
GRIMALDI: It's not glued. It's a movable object, so it's going to fall off.
MARTIN: Where's the pepperoni going to go?
PASHMAN: Look, it's true that it does not work so well that has pizza that has toppings on it, but great pizza doesn't need toppings.
MARTIN: OK. That's debatable. Dan Pashman is the host of the Sporkful Food podcast. Hey, Dan, thanks so much.
PASHMAN: Thanks, Rachel.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "STAYIN' ALIVE")
THE BEE GEES: (Singing) Well, you can tell by the way I use my walk, I'm a woman's man, no time to talk...
MARTIN: This is NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.