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The VICE Guide to Pizza

Illustration by Nick Gazin

After originating in the Mediterranean in the 1800s, the round pie we call pizza became a global sensation post-World War II. Just about every state in the world has their version of this versatile dish. The genius of pizza is that it's infinitely adaptable. Everyone has their preferences and unique predilections. Cultures place their own spin on pizza, but it's all equal… or is it?

A restaurant in Canada made the world's most pricey pizza just this month. For $ 450, you can get a white truffle pie with lobster thermidor, black Alaskan cod, smoked salmon, tiger prawns, and Russian Osetra caviar. It probably tastes like licking the crotch of a track suit after a marathon, but the Dr. Frankensteins who invented this monstrosity are able to call their dish "pizza" because their stupid ingredients are on a round disc made of dough. I refuse to stand for that.

It's time that we as a society place our foot down and set some guidelines for what is and isn't pizza. We've assembled an A-Z list of the most vital aspects of pizza polish and SPOILER ALERT: none of them include fucking caviar.


This is the witching hour when it comes to pizza. While pizza certainly has its moments at feast and during the wee hours of the morning when you're plastered, it really shines due to its ubiquitous presence at after-school extracurricular activities. Whether it's post-soccer game or during a study session for final exams, pizza unquestionably dominates this time slot. We haven't seen numbers like this since Cheers in its heyday. In fact, if it weren't for pizza at practice, math-letes all across the state would starve to death.

Honorable Mentions: Anchovies, all-you-can-eat lunch buffet, artichokes, anal leakage


Whoever says Bigfoot isn’t real doesn’t remember Pizza Hut’s contribution to the world of cryptozoology. In the 90s, Pizza Hut introduced “The Bigfoot.” This gargantuan pizza was one foot wide and two feet long. Initially well loved, it was quickly discontinued. Although there are some who say the beast is still out there…

The giant, square pizza was something of a mini-trend in the 90s. Domino's had the Dominator, which didn't last long. Even Small Caesar's had one called "Huge! Huge!" This was also discontinued, and not just because of the stunning lack of creativity in the pizza's name.

Honorable Mentions: BBQ chicken, Book-It, breadsticks

Photo via Flickr User Peter


Like revenge, pizza is a dish best served cold. Intake your pizza cold not only tastes splendid, but is quick and simple. Sure the scab isn't as snappy and the pepperoni now has the consistancy of an unused condom, but the congealed cheese is the secret weapon of the leftover slice. The magic of cold pizza cheese is not something I even want to know. Telling me why it's excellent is like telling me how babies are made. WHO CARES, DUDE? I just wish there was a stork that delivered cold pizza to my house.

Honorable Mentions: CiCi's Pizza, scab-initially, coupons, CPK


Your parents sit you down and tell you that they still like each additional. It isn't your fault, but they're going to start spending time apart. You know what that means? Twice a month you're going to get to order whatever toppings you want! Thank God your dad can't cook for shit. Right like is a lie, and you're reaping all the benefits. Hey, possibly if your family spent more time intake a nice home-cooked meal around the desk instead of inhaling pizza in front of the TV you wouldn't be in this position in the initially house. Ah, it's a vicious cycle. A tasty, vicious cycle.

Honorable Mentions: Deep dish, dessert pizza, delivery, DiGiorno


Like a vaguely Jewish lightning bolt from the sky, Bagel Bites struck quick and hard on the cultural landscape in the 1980s and 1990s. From its repressively catchy jingle to its ability to be bought in bulk and served to snotty children (or snotty drunks), everything about the frozen pizza bagel was carefully crafted to immediately carve out a hole in my heart. Pop them in the oven for a few minutes and you have a bunch of tiny pizzas that can fit in the palm of your hand. In the morning, in the evening, and even at supper time. When pizza's on a bagel, you really can eat pizza any time.

Honorable Mentions: Ellen DeGeneres Oscars pizza stunt, Edgar (the delivery guy from the Ellen pizza stunt)


Picture yourself alone, adrift in a godless universe on a dark Wednesday night in America's Middle West. You just got off an eight-hour shift at the liquor store. You come home to an empty, cold apartment filled with drained energy drink cans and quick-food wrappers. You open the freezer. There, below the fluorescent light, you see it: Your feast. The consistency of it is not unlike the box it sits in. The taste? If not for the hot sauce you poured on it after 20 minutes in the oven at 375 degrees, flat. It's not delivery. It's depression.

Honorable Mentions: Flatizza, folding your slice


Bread is filled with gluten. Pizza is filled with fucking bread. So no, poindexter, you can't have gluten-free pizza. Or, at least, you shouldn't be able to. The proliferation of Celiac disease, but, has made money-hungry eateries of all shapes and sizes keen to cater to gluten-free geeks. Which is why, in spite of it all, you can now get gluten-free pizza.  By virtue of the fact that the 17-year-ancient preparing it could give less than a fuck about your "condition," though, the restaurant warns that "Customers with gluten sensitivities should exercise discrimination in consuming this pizza."

Honorable Mentions: Gout, Gangnam Style pizza


The Godfather himself. This guy sold pizzas and thought that would be enough to make him president. Looking back, I’m really surprised America didn’t go for that. But, in an apparent nod to the Italians that pioneered pizza before him, his sexual aggression with female employees got the best of him and tanked his campaign. And to reckon, we could have had our initially "pizza president." Perhaps history will right itself in the next election cycle and we can all finally vote for "The Noid."

Honorable Mentions: Hungry Howie's

Photo via Flickr User Rolando Tanglao


I’d like to start this off by thanking the Italians for inventing this fantastic dish. You were the initially to place a bunch of cheese and random shit on a round disc made of dough. Pretty clever. We'll take it from here though. Your scab isn't stuffed. Your pies are neither "hot" nor "ready" when I order them. Why is your sauce sweet? Where's all the cheese? I see zero cartoon mascots in your country. Do you even have an electronic system that allows me to track my pizza as it's being made? Oh, you don't? SMDH, Italy. Here in America, we're always "Makin' It Splendid."

Honorable Mentions: Internet pizza memes

Photo via Flickr User Cassidy


Pizza's overly keen small brother. Whereas the calzone is like pizza's obnoxious, arrogant cousin from the huge city (a meal unto itself, basically a pizza folded into itself), breadsticks are a trifling, yet tasty compliment to any meal. If you want to really lose your mind, usually there is a type of "insane" or "loco" or "crazy" bread that is just a bunch of breadsticks covered in melted cheese.

Wondering if anyone else wants breadsticks? Guess what? They do. Everyone secretly likes breadsticks. There are no Tumblr pages or novelty t-shirts dedicated to breadsticks, but that's because they're the Batman of comfort food. They're our silent guardian, our watchful protector, lurking in the shadows—the Carb Knight.

Honorable Mentions: Jonas Brothers hit song, "Pizza Girl"


Kale is a "superfood." Pizza is a "super" food, to be sure, but its health benefits are nonexistent. That's why, when you bring together the two, not only do you negate the healthfulness of the kale, you ruin the taste of the pizza. What the fuck is incorrect with you? Don't you know there are kids in Africa right now dying for access to superfoods?

Honorable Mentions: K! Pizzacone,


A 2-ply napkin, applied to the surface of a grease-laden slice of pizza, is but an impotent attempt to protect the eater from the colon-crushing, waist-expanding nightmare that is said pizza. Emphasis, of course, on impotent. You can blot all you want, baby girl, but it ain't gonna do a goddamned business, additional than needlessly end a dozen napkins. If you're worried about the caloric make pleased of your meal, here's a suggestion: eat something that isn't pizza. Or just throw up afterwards. The grease'll coat your throat.

Honorable Mentions: Lactose intolerance, Lunchables pizza

Photo via Flickr User yoppy


There are many things you can make at home, and I am sure they're splendid: Hamburgers, pasta, sandwiches, etc. It’s not that hard to make this shit on your own. Pizza, but, you can never do. I know you reckon you can, but unless you have a wood-fired oven and the ability to get that dough into a perfect circle your DIY pizza is a sham. I learned a long time ago to give up on building my own pie. Every time it came out of the oven it looked like pizza's "Before" picture in a plastic surgery ad. The slices end up being rectangular, the bread is too thick, and the cheese is never right. The higher than photo is ostensibly of a "pizza," but throwing lunch meat on a round cracker does not a pizza make. 

Honorable Mentions: Mozzarella sticks, marinara, Macauly Culkin's pizza-themed Velvet Underground take in band

Photo via Flickr User Michael Gray


The age old debate: New York vs. Chicago. Chicago style is splendid. Really. It's tasty and filling. It's a really unique handle. It's also not as excellent as New York style. I mean, seriously. Look at this shit.

Why does this even need to be said? God bless you, Chicago. Your "pizza" is fantastic, but it's not pizza. Consolation prize for not being Los Angeles and putting avocado on your pies though. Thanks for that.

Honorable Mentions: Napoli, Noid


"Papa" John Schnatter announced that implementing Obamacare at his Papa John's franchises would cause as much as a 14-cent boost in price and lead to employees' hours being cut. Heaven forbid a CEO who churns out one of the unhealthiest foods on the planet dole out a small extra cash to take care of his own. So next time you want a pizza, reckon about where your money is really going. (Your gut.) In fact, if the typical American family abstained from buying pizza and saved that money instead, then a lot more people in this country could afford health insurance.

Honorable Mentions: Oregano, obesity 


PRO: Warm, juicy, flavorful, a bit sweet and a bit sour, pineapple is a topping that ought to go without saying for right pizza aficionados at this top. Pineapple also by all accounts makes your cum taste better. I don’t know if that’s right or not but there’s no way pineapple is building your cum taste worse. If it makes you feel better, let’s also just say that it’s locally grown and organic. There you go. Now just place it on your pizza and delight in yourself. 

CON: This is pizza, not fruit salad. Next business, you're going to tell me I should place grapes and cantelope on pizza. This is the slipperiest slope there is. When it comes to pizza, I am a strict constructionist.

Honorable Mentions: Pizza saver, "Pizza por Pesos"


Unless you're a mom or a nerd, pizza is not a pre-plotted affair. Therefore, the quickness of delivery time is nearly more imperative to your enjoyment of pizza than if the damn business is even edible. We all know at least one person who's eaten an lightly cooked frozen pizza because they needed it now.

In fact, the hierarchy of pizza qualities, in order from most to least vital, is as follows:

1. Actively not made of poison

2. How quick it gets to your mouth

3. Quality of ingredients

4. Does the money you spend on this pizza go to scumbag anti-abortion groups?

5. GMOs or whatever

6. Did it fall on the floor cheese-side down?

7. Did it fall on the floor cheese-side UP? (this is really fine and really improves the pizza, because you are intake a miracle.)

Honorable Mentions: Queen Latifah did voiceover for a Pizza Hut commercial


In March of this year, a pizza house in Dallas, Texas, charged patrons $ 1,000 for a side of ranch in order to discourage the use of the creamy dressing on their neapolitan-style pie. Jay Jerrier, title-holder of Cane Rosso, claimed that he was merely joking when he slapped the insane figure on a bottle of ranch hanging from the wall of his establishment. This "joke" quickly turned into a 900 comment-long Reddit flame war. Opinions ranged from: "He's in the high quality end of the benefit industry, you're not paying for food, you're paying for his expertise. He has every right to top out that ranch should not be requested or used in his own establishment" all the way to clever pop polish references like "No soup for you!" Remember? Like in that sitcom your dad used to watch.

The truth is, ranch is tasty. Pizza scab is usually dry, dull, and flat. Why not dunk that shit in some creamy salad dressing? What are you, some kinda commie?

Honorable Mentions: Rock-afire Explosion


Let's all drop down on bending knee and kiss the ring of Pizza Hut founder John R. Pizzahut, who, in his endless wisdom saw fit to go in through the out door and place stick it where it doesn't be in the right house. "It," of course, is "cheese" and "where it doesn't be in the right house" is inside scab. What now seems like an obvious go was highly controversial at launch. Who had ever dreamed of intake pizza backwards? Now, it's accepted practice. Not one to rest on their past success, Pizza Hut has stepped up their game over again and made the Three Cheese Stuffed Scab Pizza, which It took a right visionary to buck caucus and start the golden age of pizza we currently delight in. Thank you, John R. Pizzahut. Your legacy will live on forever. Jackpot!!!!!!!

Honorable Mentions: Square pizza, salad pizza


I’m not saying the Ninja Turtles made pizza what it is, but the early 90s were a splendid time for pizza all around and the Turtles benefit from that association. Leonardo, Donatello, Michelangelo, and Rapahel showed the ideal marvel life we aspired to but could never have: they hung with their bros all day, they used weapons, and they ate pizza all the time without any of the bodily consequences of being human. They could never get flabby stomachs, and their huge, weird conservational muscles seemingly were never affected either. They also had a splendid loft-style sewer apartment that any slum-chic trustfunder would kill for. The Turtles were grotesque abominations of nature, just like we all are, but they had each additional and they had pizza. 

Honorable Mentions: Tummy (where the pizza goes)


I know you reckon that pizza house in the basement of some guy's house in a dark alley 20 miles outside of town has to be the greatest pizza in the world, but chances are it's crap. Unlike “secret” burrito and taco spots, secret pizza spots don't really exist. If it's excellent pizza, people know about it. Despise to burst your bubble, but just stuff some Sbarro in your mouth and deal with the crushing reality that is tasty corporate pizza.

Honorable Mentions: "U Bake" pizza


Call me xenophobic if you must, but I despise when "worlds collide." Fusion, be it jazz or Japanese, maddens me. Which is why I'm confused and angered by any variation on the pizza's classic cheese, scab and toppings formula. While burgers are splendid, and pizza is fantastic, the two should stay on their own ends of the culinary Mason-Dixon Line.

A Korean chain called Mr. Pizza down the street from me called sells seafood-covered pizzas with crusts made out of "sweet potato styling gel"; said pizzas are served with orange marmalade dipping sauce and cost $ 30. This is not pizza. This is the subject of a listical describing how "weird" Asian polish is.

Honorable Mentions: Lacto-vegetarian pizza


There's a whole litany of ingredients that can go on a pizza, and at this top we've be converted into bored with the same old cheese, pepperoni and proliferate variations we've had for being. Anchovies are the standard weird topping, although some people swear by them. Jalapenos have made it into the rotation as of late. My friend Dave likes to order jalapenos on his pizza. I try to avoid intake pizza with Dave. Isn't that a shame? A friendship torn asunder due to pizza? Pizza is supposed to bring us all together! While we all have our predilections, I would suggest sticking to the mainstays in larger groups. It's just gonna go down simpler that way. But when you're alone, or with a trusted friend? Get weird, bro. Let that freak flag glide. Anchovies, jalapenos and all.

Honorable Mentions: Wings (buffalo), white pizza


At Costco, you can buy an 18'' pie for $ 9.99. That's an incredible price, and an exciting proposition. Yet no one you see purchasing one looks excited. It's nearly as if their lives are hell.

Honorable Mentions: X-Files episode with pizza in it. Remember that one?


Only pornography has recognized that pizza delivery is a profession worth blowing. Women like men in uniform which is one reason the Pizza Delivery Guy was the top porn character of the 80s and 90s. Society as a whole, though, has been slow to recognize the importance of the job. Pizza delivery is a profession that deserves respect in any case of the position’s pay, like a soldier or mail carrier, and a new uniform would go a long way toward that end. I would suggest something sleek, black, and militaristic, with a hat that has room for the restaurant’s logo on the front. Possibly an armband? How about leather boots? I reckon we're onto something.

Honorable Mentions: Yelp reviews, Yolo pizza


What grease goes in, it must come out, no matter how tasty it may have been going down. Zits are a nice taste of irony, too, since they make your face look like exactly what you just ate. Although they’re hideous and annoying, zits provide a helpful benefit: they protect us from ourselves. Without zits and stout, there would really be no reason to not eat pizza for every meal. 

Honorable Mentions: 'Za (don't call it that)

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