A very Midwest-specific tweet began making the rounds over the weekend, a twist on a very NYC-specific tweet about the best seat on the subway. It was, naturally, about pizza.
The only true answer to this question is 1, by the way, because that piece has the little bit of crust you can hold onto, plus sausage. Others disagreed and argued passionately for their favorite slices; some went so far as to list a hierarchy.
The noise from the tweet reached the East Coast, specifically the offices of NJ.com, which dispatched one writer, Amy Kuperinsky, to share her thoughts about the patent absurdity of how Chicagoans slice pizza.
Yet witness the below tweet espousing Chicago-cut pizza, which flies in the face of all that we know about slicing pizza.
Forget which slice you would choose. Sure, you’ll get more slices when you cut a pie like that, but at what cost?...
Sadly, the affront to pizza tradition in New Jersey — and New York, and a whole lot of other reasonable places — knows it is not without precedent.
The oddly sliced pizza falls into the same category as “St. Louis”-style bagel slicing, which came to the attention of social media in March 2019.
For one thing, Kuperinsky assumes that New Jersey and New York have the One True Pizza Tradition. This is not true. Plenty of other places have their own pizza traditions—including places in the Midwest. And this is how some pizzerias—though by no means all—cut thin-crust pizza in Chicago, and also St. Louis, and many other reasonable places. This is how we’ve been eating our pizza for decades.
The square cut is also known as tavern or party style. It’s meant to feed a lot of people. It’s how bar and pizzeria owners give away free slices to hungry patrons, because that’s the kind of generous people we are here in the Midwest.
You can also eat a tavern cut pizza by yourself and choose a slice depending on your mood. Maybe you want more crust. So you grab the little corner piece. Or what you really want is cheese and sauce and lots of it, so you go for the middle. We all contain multitudes. Why can’t our pizza?
Another thing: You can’t make fun of the the way we slice our thin-crust pizza and then pull out that tired old Jon Stewart routine about how we only eat deep-dish pizza and that it’s terrible. One way or the other.
And one last thing: There is no such thing as the St. Louis style bagel. This was a publicity stunt perpetuated by St. Louis-based Panera Bread (known within the 314 area code as the St. Louis Bread Company). I lived in St. Louis for five-and-a-half years and I took a special interest in bagels because good ones are so hard to find there. (I resorted to making my own, but that’s a whole other story.) I never once saw a bagel sliced like a loaf of bread.
So I would like to say, in my most polite Midwestern way, please stop trying to argue that the cuisine of an entire region is inferior to your own just because it is something that is unfamiliar to you. We know that our food has its quirks, and we enjoy joking about them—the pizza slice tweet and the responses to it should be Exhibit A. But if you’re going to mock those quirks, you really should bother to learn what you’re talking about first instead of dismissing them out of hand. Thank you for your time, and bless your heart.