I didn’t know there was a different way to slice a pizza until I moved to the Midwest.
In Massachusetts, and pretty much anywhere East I’ve been, pizza is sliced into triangular wedges. Here, it’s as likely to be served in little bitty particles of pizza.
The traditional Eastern cut is quite efficient, accomplished in four strokes of the pizza wheel: two orthogonal radial cuts, then two more halfway in the right angles formed by the first two.
In St. Paul, the original two orthogonal cuts are likely to be followed by eight more, parallel to the first ones: two above and two below the horizontal stroke, then two left and two right of the vertical one.
The result is 32 quanta of pizza. Efficient? Not so much. The pieces are difficult to pick up with fingers and impossible to eat without a utensil. This is partly because only half of the quanta, 16 pieces, have any outside crust at all.
In Massachusetts many pizza emporia sell their product by the “slice.” A solid majority of them include two triangular pieces in the definition of such a serving: a quarter of a pizza. In St. Paul, I don’t know what a “slice” would mean.
A few weeks back we ordered pizzas for a party from the Italian Pizza Pie Shop on Grand; last night we walked over to Carbone’s on Randolph. The slicing was quantized in both cases. Now, two data points do not necessarily set the pattern for all of St. Paul, but they do suggest a trend line.
[Update 2015-09-03] Just found this 3D analogy to the pizza “party cut”: watermelon sticks.