Get Your Cracker Crust Pizza The Hell Out Of New York City
In elementary school, I had a friend whose mom would make us grilled cheese sandwiches as an after-school snack. She called them that: grilled cheese sandwiches. However, instead of putting the cheese in between two slices of buttered bread, where it belongs, and on to a hot skillet, where it should be grilled, she put it on top of a very thin tortilla. Then she microwaved it. It wasn’t even folded over, which would have been the natural move, especially when it’s being handed to a child; it was a goddamn open-faced insult to the Grilled Cheese. I hated it, at least partially because she was fraudulently declaring it to be something it was not, but I was like 7 years old, and my only option was to politely accept whatever was put in front of me. I did not yet know rebellion.
Now, imagine being an adult and going to pick up a pizza in New York Pizza City and being handed this weak-ass thing:
The above (from Manhattan‘s Pizza Rollio) is allegedly “the thinnest pizza in NYC” (a brag?) — listen, it’s fine, the taste is not offensive, it’s just that it is not pizza. Show me the lie. Can that crust even work as a foundation for all those toppings? What happens when you pick it up? Am I possibly overreacting about all of this?
I have an answer to one of these questions, and regret to inform you that to pick up a “slice” you are meant to roll it up like a sad little pizza blunt.
Let’s throw this over to Ben Yakas, Gothamist’s very own Pizza Expert (a title I use very casually, given Ben’s affiliation with the Pizza Bagel, which is also not pizza):
Cracker pizza is the thin yin to Chicago Deep Dish pizza’s cavernous yang — neither is truly pizza, but rather they are both Frankenstein-like experiments in pushing the limit of what people are willing to label cheese-tomato-and-bread combinations. I have no doubt that, to some, they are both worthy food concoctions on their own merits, but neither can accurately be truly called ‘pizza.’ Even the staunchest defender of cracker pizza, whom I have yet to meet, would know this in their heart of hearts. I would instead suggest, in this case, we refer to this food item as something like “crackerizza” — the association can still be there, but it removes any chance of someone confusing this for real pizza. When we think of the legacy we want to leave our children, we must make sure not to compromise on the integrity of our finest foods.
Well put, Ben.
Listen, New York City has always been on the right side of pizza history — we don’t serve up pizza cakes like they do in Chicago, and we sure as hell don’t brag about serving the thinnest pizza on a cracker crust that is also somehow soggy enough to roll. We offer many varieties of pizza (the Emmy squares, the greasy Di Faras, the wood-fired Robertas), but they are all on stable, not-too-thick and not-thinner-than-Rubirosa crusts. Let’s not call these cracker crust creations “pizza,” instead, maybe “technically edible paper.” Thank you for your time.