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Personal Pizza

November 8, 2018

Thanksgiving is coming. People will travel. That means airports, rest stops, and train stations are likely to be in your near future. You might not be planning to eat dreck for a meal, but dreck you will eat. Largely, because you have no other choice.

Sure, you could buy an overpriced sleeve of nuts to stave off the hunger until you can find a better option. But those fast food signs are calling you. They are beckoning. The pictures of the food certainly look appealing. It’s been years since you’ve tried it. And you have a long distant memory of an enjoyable experience.

This was me at a highway rest stop maybe last year. There was a Pizza Hut stall that was open. And I couldn’t tell you the last time I had a pan pizza. But those personal sized, six-inch four-cut pies, tucked away in a cardboard box, were the stuff of my childhood. Literally, my high school offered Pizza Hut pan pizza as a lunch option.

So I got one. And it was terrible, but in all the right ways. The pizza scratched an itch, and now I don’t need to eat the stuff for another ten years, or maybe longer. Although that little thing, which is easily gobbled up in a few bites, is a whopping six hundred calories, without meat, toppings, or a soda.

But this isn’t just a Pizza Hut issue, it’s everywhere. And the notion of a personal pizza makes me angry. I won’t say irrationally. Because there are plenty of reasons to get angry about such a thing.

For starters, going out for a pizza should be a communal experience. We don’t have enough of these as a society anymore.

Sharing is caring. Not only that, splitting a pizza teaches the important lesson of compromise. Not everyone likes the same toppings, Still, you can negotiate in good faith. And there’s often the option of going half and half with toppings, with the understanding that some of the toppings will spill over onto the other half.

Pizza is also a food that should be eaten quickly. To do that, and still get pleasure from the experience, you need many hands. Pizza is the very best moments after it comes out of the oven. The longer it sits on its tray, the worse it becomes. Which is why I believe that if multiple pizzas need to be ordered, they should be ordered in waves.

Ideally, you’ll have as many people at your table as there are slices in a pie. Because the second slice is never as good as the first.

Here’s a story from just last night.

Little Miss Fussy and I went to a pizza place where we usually buy slices. I’ll tell you where, because the joint is fantastic and deserves more attention. It’s Marissa’s, on route 155 just off of Western Avenue in Guilderland. Our favorite slice is the meatball, but they almost never have it. So our plan was to go into the new dining room and order our very own meatball pie.

Knowing full well how good Marissa’s reheated slices are, and having just experienced the deliciousness from the first slice of a pie just out of the oven, Little Miss Fussy was in for an unpleasant surprise. The second slice of pizza.

The second slice of pizza gets floppy. The crispness of the bottom crust at the slice’s tip is entirely gone.

This was a great learning experience. At some point kids need to be taught about the glory of the reheated slice, and the tragedy of the second slice. As a point of information, this is why I never order two reheated slices at a time.

In my defense, we did order the smallest pizza we could from Marissa’s: their personal pizza.

Yep. That’s what their smallest pie is called. All twelve inches of it. And what’s amazing is to see individuals try to take down an entire six cut pie by themselves. Because they do. And it’s not just at Marissa’s. Pizza shops and restaurants around the world suggest these sizeable swaths of cheese covered bread to be single serve units.

Can you eat the whole thing? Sure.
Is it a good idea to try? Probably not.

Just given the physiology of taste, you’re not going to enjoy the last slice nearly as much as the first. And then there’s the matter of texture as your pizza degrades further every minute it sits on the plate.

Little Miss Fussy and I were actually no longer hungry after we finished our appetizer of garlic knots. Yes, ordering those was probably a mistake. However, it was late, and she was hungry. And I wasn’t sure how long it might take to get our pizza. So it was a calculated gamble. The downside to all of this was that even taking home a third of the pie, we were still too full to even split a small dessert. Which is tragic, because Marissa’s has really good cannoli.

Here’s the bottom line. Personal pizza is the path to poor pizza. To experience freshly baked pies at their best, you need a table full of people. Never underestimate the power of pizza to bring us all together. Today, more than ever, we need to remember that.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. November 8, 2018 10:37 am

    Every pizza is a personal pizza if you try hard enough and believe in yourself.

  2. Michelle permalink
    November 8, 2018 11:52 am

    Personal Pizzas are best made at home. In my large family, everyone has their own favorite topping and most will not eat a slice from a pizza that had touched the other toppings. Picky? Yes. But we have solved this by going the personal pizza route. My bacon lover can have hers that never touched a meatball. My meatball lover’s slice never so much as glimpsed the bacon. My vegetarian/purist can eat her plain cheese pie in harmony. My fancy of the day can be tickled!

  3. B. Maggi permalink
    November 9, 2018 12:08 pm

    The restaurant is actually known as “Marisa’s Place.” Note the spelling. I mention that because I had never heard of it and went to Yelp to find it but typing in “Marissa’s” didn’t come up with it. Thankfully Google was there. Now that I know about it, I will need to try it sometime.

  4. James R. permalink
    November 19, 2018 6:03 pm

    Try Greek Pizza the next time you are in Connecticut or in some of Massachusetts. It’s far better than the Pizza Hut but it’s a pan pizza with a sweeter sauce and served with a Greek Salad. Park Lane Pizza in West Hartford CT is a fine example of this…:D

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