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.
Turns out there are more ways to slice a pizza. An infinite number more. Here’s a mathematician’s discovery of how to make 12 identically shaped pizza slices using curved cuts:
And we can make 10, 14, 18, 22, … identical slices at will. Depending on how fine our scalpel is and how cooperative the pizza dough.
That is very lovely!! Perhaps we can start a trend, a way unique to St. Paul to slice a beautiful pizza!
Tomorrow the clan is eating dinner at Mancini’s on Dad’s birthday. He and Nick knew each other well, as fellow Italian restuarant owners. We ate there last year for Dad’s 99th birthday, and as always were treated like royalty by Nick’s sons. They always ply us with free anitipasto and garlic toast. So delicious and yummy. Dad won’t be there to eat, but his spirit will be, and he will be having a Windsor 7, or maybe two.
This is wonderful to hear, your dad’s memory uniting the family in good times.
Speaking of pizza, we’re just back from Punch in Highland, the original one. Just fantastic Neapolitan pizza. I had sausage, mushroom, saracene olive, cracked red pepper, and oregano (“Maximus“ with a substitution for the pepperoni); Katharyn enjoyed arugula, prosciutto, goat cheese, cracked red pepper, and garlic (“Toto”). The wine by the glass is a generous pour. Qui, sono felice.
Well I am so glad that you enjoyed the Punch pizza. All this talk about pizza sort of makes me consider trying some out again. Maybe or maybe not…
Here’s one answer to the question of selling pizza by the “slice” in Minnesota. Speedway, f.k.a. Super America, does it in the East Coast fashion: two triangular slices per serving. Although this offer may be a limited-time BOGO, as the natives say: buy-one-get-one. No one knows what that is in Massachusetts. Speedway billboard across from Due Foccaria
Oh Keith! Thank you for forwarding this conversation to me!! I am crying a bit but smiling at the same time. I will forward to my brothers and sister, who will no doubt enjoy immensely. So many good memories of that place. I still discuss the Venice Cafe with many of my patients who are my age or older, and when I ask them if they ever ate there, about 90% who were raised around here remember it fondly. For most it was their first experience with Italian food and especially pizza pie! Thanks Keith!!!