National Pizza Month is a celebration of family, love and friendship—and, of course, the world’s greatest food!

Pizza makes everything better. Pizza with a pretty girl who digs you even though you can’t skate makes it perfect.



 

I don’t remember the first pizza I ever ate, but I remember my first perfect pizza moment. I was 12 years old, a shy, skinny doofus at a skating party with a girl named Amy. It was sort of a date, but neither of us wanted to call it that. I couldn’t even skate and had no business being there. Amy, a brown-eyed, chestnut-haired beauty with a fiery tomboy spirit, whisked and whizzed around the rink with her girlfriends to K.C. and the Sunshine Band, while I sulked and played pinball in the corner, trying to look, you know...too cool for roller skates. I didn’t even notice when the pizza came, until Amy, leaving the others behind, came gliding over with a paper plate—a slice for her and a slice for me. We sat on a bench, our knees just barely touching, and listened to “Moonlight Feels Right” by Starbuck, and never mind that the pizza was greasy and limp and probably came from some grocery store freezer. Then and there, in that moment, I wouldn’t have traded that warmed-over slice for a golden monkey.

Such is the power of pizza. Pizza makes everything better. Pizza with a pretty girl who digs you even though you can’t skate and you just fed six dollars in quarters into a pinball machine and never even scored an extra ball makes it perfect.

I tell anyone who will listen that pizza is the world’s most popular food. I have no statistics to prove the claim, but I know it in my heart to be true. There is a National Hamburger Month, but nobody cares. Tacos get their own special day each year. So do baked scallops, corn chips and stuffed mushrooms. You never hear about any of those days. But tell people it’s National Pizza Month, and see how they smile; watch their eyes light up. 

Tell someone you make pizza for a living—or, in my case, write about it—and they wish they had your job.

“People are, by nature, communal, and pizza is the world’s great communal food,” master pizzaiolo John Arena, owner of Metro Pizza in Las Vegas, once told me. “War in Afghanistan? Global warming? Riots in the heartland? Hunker down with your loved ones and share a pizza. The problems may not disappear, but at least you won’t be alone when the zombie apocalypse begins.”

We may grab a Quarter Pounder from McDonald’s and scarf it down in the car on our lunch break. After a long day, we may order Chinese and stare at the TV until we fall asleep on the La-Z-Boy. But we share pizza with the people we love. We order pizza for the big game on Sunday afternoon. We take the kids out for pizza on Friday night. We reward our Little League or soccer team with pizza when they win—and cheer them up with pizza when they lose. If we want to build camaraderie at the office, we order pizza, and, suddenly, working late on a tight deadline feels more like a party than a high-stress project.

With pizza, we sit down together, we eat and we talk. Where there’s pizza, there’s togetherness. Which explains why pizza is and always has been a family business. Read Tracy Morin’s Pizza Hall of Fame column in each issue of PMQ, and you’ll see that virtually every story is about family, about fathers and sons and grandsons, mothers and daughters and granddaughters. It’s about husbands and wives, too, who have held fast to each other through depressions and recessions, through wars and social upheaval. It’s about couples and partners who work long days and late into the night to feed their children, feed their customers and feed their own souls. Because every family-owned pizza restaurant is, above all else, a labor of love.

“My dad had a day job and worked in the family pizzeria at night,” Arena told me. “He’d come home tired and kiss me goodnight as I lay in bed. I could smell the pizza on him, and I associated that aroma with the love my father had for me.”

I’ll bet many of our readers had the same experience.

“If music be the food of love, play on,” Shakespeare wrote in Twelfth Night. But even Shakespeare got it wrong sometimes. The food of love is an actual food—pizza. And National Pizza Month is a celebration of that love, of family, of friendship, of the traditions and triumphs of our past and our hopes for the future. And it’s a celebration of the moment you’re enjoying right now, with a slice in your hand and the flavor of fresh, warm cheese and salty pepperoni on your tongue.

That perfect moment—brought to you by the world’s greatest food. 

Rick Hynum is PMQ’s editor in chief.

 

Edit Module

Tell us what you think at or email.

Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Related Articles

The Robots Are Coming: Zume Pizza may be the sci-fi pizzeria of the future

With robots in the kitchen and trucks that bake pies en route to customers’ homes, this Silicon Valley startup has a game-changing pizza delivery model.

Pizza-making tip: How to prevent the dreaded cheese slip

If your cheese slides off the pizza with every bite, don’t blame the cheese—the fault probably lies with the sauce.

A new machine in Sweden helps pizzeria owners reduce food waste by turning old pizza dough into compost

In other international pizza news, an Italian flour company releases a blend of traditional wheat flour with aromatic Black Venus rice.

What’s Your Story? Mark Mannen of Fat Jack’s Pizza explains the Quad Cities style of pizza

Quad Cities pizza boasts a generous dose of malt syrup in the crust, fennel-laced sausage and a sauce spiked with red pepper flakes.

Dining in the digital age: It’s getting harder and harder to define what we mean by “eating out.”

A restaurant expert says the next stage of restaurant evolution is happening right now now.

Nature of the yeast: Experts answer your most pressing questions about this crucial pizza dough ingredients

How yeast works, how to choose the right type for your pizzeria, plus one innovation that may transform dough management as we know it.

Pizzeria owners give a helping hand to the hungry and homeless during A Slice of Hope Week this month

The New York-based nonprofit A Slice of Hope seeks food donations and sponsorships for a week of pizza parties, June 19 to 25, around the U.S.

The Mid-America Restaurant Expo 2017: The best of the best

From new technologies to sweets, meats and veggies, PMQ staffers share their favorite discoveries at this year’s event.

Gadgets and gizmos: Who says you can’t reinvent the (pizza) wheel?

From the RotoPeel to the Giant Pizza Cutter, these kitchen innovations make pizza-making easier—and a lot more fun.

Spaghetti With Vodka and Caviar

Caviar isn’t just for rich people. Shop around to get a good deal and wow your guests with this delicious and elegant pasta entrée.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags