Pizza is overrated

Tricia Vuong

Fine, I admit it: Pizza is overrated. I say this even as—especially as—someone from New Haven, an ostensibly great pizza town. Somehow, these flattened discs of dough and cheese are the ultimate crowd pleaser, the uber-food, the Thing Everyone’s Supposed to Love as a condition of being human.

Not me. I grew up listening to people rave about the clam pie at Pepe’s. I’d argue that what’s good is not the slice so much as what’s on it—the baked clams, the white sauce. Isn’t pizza really just a delivery mechanism for other, more delicious things? For my money, pasta makes a better vehicle. A chewy, gut-bombing pizza crust sits in the belly for hours afterward, a small cannonball; pasta doesn’t do that. Pasta mixes better, absorbing and ultimately transcending the flavors of its individual components. There’s an alchemy there that pizza lacks.

Am I wrong to think our love of pizza may really be a love of convenience? We love the way it comes in tidy boxes, or can be carried one-handed down the street. We love how easily it feeds a living room. But let’s not mistake expediency for goodness. Come on. We’re better than that.

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Joe Fassler is The Counter's deputy editor. His reporting has been included in The Best American Food Writing and twice nominated for a James Beard Media Award. A 2019 - 2020 Ted Scripps Fellow in Environmental Journalism at the University of Colorado, Boulder, he's the author of two books: a novel, The Sky Was Ours (forthcoming from Penguin Books), and Light the Dark: Creativity, Inspiration, and the Artistic Process.