Triangle-cut Pizza: The Story of Success Taken Away

Written by: Farhad Taraporevala

By Luciano Parmigiano
Pizza Innovator

I had my first slice of pizza when I was two years old. My grandmother took me to a place in Brooklyn on the corner of DeKalb and St. James. That was the day I fell in love. The first bite — full of gooey cheese, beautiful sauce, and robust crust. From that moment on, the guiding light of my life was our weekly slice. It didn’t matter where the pizza came from, or what was put on top: it was glorious every time. There was only one problem separating me from pizza nirvana: the shape.

Now you may be wondering, what’s wrong with the way pizza is shaped, Luciano? I’ll tell you. What shape is a slice of pizza? A triangle? Don’t make me laugh. Think. It starts out as a circle. How could you ever get a triangle out of that? I’ve done some research and talked to some professors at NYU, where I learned that the shape of a slice of pizza is called a “circular sector.” What a stupid name. How am I supposed to enjoy the food of gods when it’s cut into such a stupid shape? The flavors are muddled by the circularity of it all. Every idiot knows that straight lines taste the best. A slice already has two, which is pretty good, but I wanted to make it perfect.

The next 20 years of my life were spent tinkering with different recipes and methods, trying to achieve the perfect slice. Upon receiving some advice from a tourist I met near Times Square, my grandmother and I took a trip to all the other pizza-making cities: Chicago, St. Louis, New Haven, Los Angeles, even Detroit. All the styles were scrumptious in their own ways, but none were perfect. I liked the straight lines on the Detroit and St. Louis pizzas, but the squares were just too awkward to eat. Chicago’s pizza was difficult to hold, and my grandmother burned her hand picking it up! Los Angeles and New Haven had the same shape as New York’s, only they put worse toppings on top, and the crust wasn’t nearly as delicious. I couldn’t find the right shape anywhere, no matter how many delicious slices of pizza I ate.

I returned to New York demoralized and down. My grandmother bought me a slice of pizza to cheer me up, but as we stepped on the subway, serendipity struck. I wasn’t paying attention to my slice, and as the doors slid closed, my pizza crust was trapped between unforgiving steel. I was horrified. I quickly yanked my pizza away from the evil grasp of those cold metal doors. The pizza gods were smiling upon me that day, for after a mighty tug, my slice came to me, just missing a bit of the crust. There it was: the perfect triangle. Tears ran down my face as I took bite after perfect bite, and the ecstasy of the moment overwhelmed me.

The next day my grandmother died, but I was too excited by my discovery to bother with a boring funeral. I had to show every pizza place in the world my amazing discovery. For some reason, they all seemed to find me crazy, saying that cutting off the crust was wasting food and pointless, but I wasn’t going to give up that easily. Today, I wander the streets of New York, looking for anyone eating a slice. With the aid of my trusty knife, I can give them a delicious surprise they will never forget.

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