Particularly Partial to Pasta

Like many Americans, I’m a genealogical mutt. We Hynums have lived in this country—right here in Mississippi, in fact—since at least the late 1700s, but no one in the family seems to have a clue how we got here, where we came from or, frankly, how we’ve managed to avoid mass arrest and deportation for more than two centuries. My siblings—for the most part, a brown-eyed, dark-haired bunch—swear we’ve got a dose of Native American blood from our mother’s side, and I like to believe it’s true. I can picture my ancestors roaming the forests of the southeastern United States in full war paint, tomahawks at the ready, scaring the daylights out of palefaces and stealing away with their women and their firewater. On the other hand, blue-eyed, blonde-haired Hynums—our decidedly pale-faced cousins—also abound, and a rumor that our ancestors were once pirates off the coast of Germany sounds pretty good, too. Fierce and proud and free—that’s the mark of us Hynums, or so I’d like to believe.

(I’m not especially eager, on the other hand, to claim that one hapless Hynum fellow who, back in the Civil War days, got himself hung by Union troops for stealing a goat. If you’re going to shame the family by robbing the U.S. Army of its prized and priceless goat supply, you ought not shame them further by getting caught.)

If I weren’t the descendant of German pirates or Indian braves, then I’d like to be Italian. I must surely have Italian blood, because I’ll eat Italian food until I swell up like a tick on an old dog’s ear. I have seldom met an Italian pasta dish I didn’t like, even the fancy ones with names I can’t pronounce. Lasagna, carbonara, cannelloni, ravioli, ziti—you name it, I’ll eat it and hug your neck for making it for me. Chicken Parmigiana, Spaghetti Bolognese, Fettucine Alfredo, Shrimp Scampi, Chicken Marsala, even just a plain ol’ chilled pasta salad with garden veggies. Surely pasta is what God eats for dinner when he’s not eating pizza.

Along with pizza, pasta ranks high on Americans’ list of favorite foods. According to the National Pasta Association, 56% of Americans say pasta—not chocolate—is the one food they can’t live without. Younger people are particularly partial to pasta—59% of Americans ages 18 to 54 chose pasta over chocolate as the food they couldn’t live without, compared to 49% of people 55 and older. For restaurateurs, those should be compelling figures.

With that in mind, this month’s cover story by Michelle McAnally explores the many facets of pasta and how pizza restaurants can put it to customer-pleasing—and moneymaking—use (“Pass the Pasta,” page 38). As one expert explains, pasta is a highly profitable menu item; a full serving will cost you about a buck, but you can sell it for many times more than that.

Meanwhile, don’t miss Liz Barrett’s profile of Little Caesars, PMQ’s 2013 Pizza Industry Enterprise (PIE) Award winner (“Bringing Home the PIE,” page 32). And there’s plenty more to absorb and digest in this month’s issue—a full 100 pages of moneymaking ideas and information. Check it out, and then drop us a line and tell us what you think. Here’s to a terrific and prosperous 2013 for all of our readers!

 

Thank you, as always, for reading PMQ, and, hey, keep those cards and letters (and emails) coming!

Rick Hynum
Editor-in-chief
PMQ Pizza Magazine