Tag Archives: pizza

Pizza and Sports are a Cheesy Marriage that Works

Let me start off by saying that I like pizza a lot.

I like round pizza and I like square pizza.

I like pizza where the crust is thick and I like pizza where the crust is thin.

I like pizza when it comes in a pan and I like pizza when it is made by a guy named Stan.

I also like sports, and for some reason sports just taste better when paired with pizza.

I am not sure what it is that makes pizza taste even better when sports are on. I am sure that there are graduate students seeking grants somewhere in the world to solve that very mystery.

The simple answer very well might be that it just does taste better and there is no other deeper meaning than that.

A local New York style pizzeria's famous Legend before it is consumed. Photo R. Anderson

A local New York style pizzeria’s famous Legend before it is consumed.
Photo R. Anderson

Most historians peg the arrival of the first pizza around 1000 A.D.  Around 500 years after that tomatoes and mozzarella hit the scene and the traditional basis of the pizza pie takes shape.

For the first Italian pizzeria one looks to Naples in 1830. The first pizzeria on this side of the Atlantic opened in New York in 1905 and the rest as they say is history.

Of course, sports predate pizza. And while I was unable to dig up when the first pizza was consumed while watching sports few could argue that it is hard to picture the two without each other now.

Watch any major sporting event and one is bound to be bombarded by advertisements from the various pizza chains peddling their latest inventions. Some of the refinements to the basic design are good and some make me wonder where the ideas come from. I mean do we really need pizza that also doubles as cheese stuffed bread sticks wrapped in dough with flavor crystals? I really wonder where all of this building a better pizza will end.

Personally I have found it funny that many of the foods associated with spectator sports are “carb bombs” and sodium rich items that, while full of flavor, are certainly not the most healthy things to eat.

That is certainly not to say that I think that only healthy foods should be consumed during sporting events but merely an observation that we as a culture appear to gravitate towards the carbs when watching athletes perform their trade in person and on television.

And speaking of yummy carbs in pizza form there are certain traditions that I tend to adhere to when I am eating my pizza with a side of sports.

When it comes to Papa John’s Pizza I can only eat it when I am attending a game at Minute Maid Park. I cannot begin to explain why that is aside from thinking that when I am craving a pizza at the ballpark Papa John’s is the only option and when I am craving a pizza in the non-ballpark world there are so many better pizzas out there for me to have.

It is also fun to get pizza at the Ballpark because I never know what shape the pizza will end up in. I do not know what they do behind the scenes to the crust before it goes in the oven but I have had some very odd shapes come out the other end. During my last trip to the Ballpark I swear the pizza looked like Jay Leno. I guess I should have kept it instead of eating it and I could have a tourist attraction like all of those people with Elvis shaped potato chips. Thank you very much.

Now, before I get letters from the Papa John Nation saying how dare I not like Papa John’s away from the Ballpark, let me say that the reason there are so many different types of pizza is because there are so many different ideas that people have regarding what makes good pizza.

So, if you find Papa John’s to be the best pizza in the world, more power to you.

Before I get labeled a pizza elitist I should note that one of my favorite regular pizza and sports combinations involves Little Caesar’s Pizza which, despite being both economical and yummy, does not top most elite pizza lists.

Little Caesar's "Detroit style" Deep Deep Dish is devilishly delicious and pairs well with any sporting event. Photo R. Anderson

Little Caesar’s “Detroit style” Deep Deep Dish is devilishly delicious and pairs well with any sporting event.
Photo R. Anderson

Despite the non-elite status, I absolutely love that I can walk into Little Caesar’s on a whim and walk out with a pizza or two in under five minutes.  While I will not go so far as to say that represents the American dream, it does come pretty close.

Again nothing against pizza delivery places or the other national chains but I like to control my pizza destiny and walk out with the pizza at a time of my own choosing and not rely on the whim of a delivery driver.

Truth be told, for my truly authentic pizza experiences there are a couple of mom and pop shops that I will go to and actually sit down and enjoy the entire pizzeria experience.

But, for our purposes today we are merely talking about when the pizza is combined with sports and what I believe to be the combination that works best for me.

My usual go to selections at Little Caesar’s are the Three Meat Treat or Cheese pizzas.  Recently though I tried a new variation on the Little Caesar’s menu with their Deep Dish pizza.

Much like barbecue there are regions associated with pizza. New York has the thin crust and the foldable slices going for them and Chicago is known for the deep dish. The Little Caesar’s deep dish pizza is referred to as Detroit style which until recently I had no idea even existed.

I was introduced to the Detroit style deep dish offering this past weekend and must say that this pizza lover was highly impressed with the cheese, crust, topping triangle of flavor that it produced.

For the foreseeable future my televised weekend sporting ritual will most likely include the deep dish pizza. That is until another new selection grabs my attention.

So there you have it one person’s take on the best pizza to watch sports by. Of course there are no wrong choices when pizza and sports come together. As Yakov Smirnoff would say, “what a country.”

Now if you’ll excuse me I am off to get a pizza. I am sure that I can find a sporting event to pair it with once I get back.

Copyright 2013 R Anderson