Let Me Take Your Order: The Various Types of Pizza

(Adam Sandler) Longfellow Deeds : Hey Crazy Eyes, I got your pizza just how you like it.
(Steve Buscemi) Crazy Eyes : French Fries and Oreos. You know me too well, Deeds.

Pizza has become a favorite around the world. Why? Well, other than its wonderful taste, it is because of all the variables offered to the consumer. Whether the choice revolves around the crust, the shape or the toppings, there seems to be a limitless number of pizza combinations. Just as the dialogue between Adam Sandler and Steve Buscemi from the movie “Mr. Deeds” illustrates, pizza can be topped with just about anything these days. In trying to appeal to various consumer groups, several different types of pizza have been created and popularized.

Deep Dish

Deep dish, also known as pan pizza, emerged in Chicago in 1948. According to George Lilli, Ike Sewell and Ric Riccardo sold it at their Chicago Pizzeria, Pizza Uno. Its most distinct features are its thick crust along with dense toppings. Deep dish became famous in Chicago and is sometimes referred to as Chicago-style pizza.

In recent years, this style of pizza has been imitated at several fast food pizza chains around the world. Of course, natives to Chicago will always support their original pan pizza, just as Naples claims to still have the world's greatest pizza.

White Pizza

Someone who may have never heard of white pizza may be confused by the name. After all, pizza is famous for having red tomato sauce. White pizza, however, trades in the sauce for a variety of white cheeses.

According to S. John Ross' essay on pizza, white pizza was created in California. Although some pizzerias use provolone in addition to mozzarella, the most famous combination for white pizza is mozzarella and ricotta cheese. Like any type of pizza, toppings could be added endlessly or it can be enjoyed by itself.

Calzone

The calzone is the cousin to the modern day pizza. Prepared with the dough for a pizza crust, the various toppings that are available for pizza are used to dress up calzones. In describing how to create a calzone, Cliff Lowe writes in his article “The History of Pizza” that the toppings are piled on half of the dough, which is enclosed when the other half is folded over. The resulting shape is a “large half-moon shaped Pizza Pocket,” which is baked like a pizza.

Although calzones have been around for a long time, they have become even more popular over the last couple of years. In fact, the first time I had a calzone was shortly after watching an episode of the television show Seinfeld where George Costanza befriended New York Yankees' owner George Steinbrenner by eating calzones together every day for lunch.

Alternative Crusts

Part of the evolution of pizza includes the modifications to the crust. Now, rather than simply thin or thick crust, pizza has been made on different types of bread, making it a more accessible food for some. For example, English muffins and bagels have been substituted for pizza crusts. Similarly, pizza has been made from a loaf of French bread, being appropriately called “French Bread Pizza.” After slicing the bread in half, it is covered with tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese and toppings and toasted or baked until crisp. If nothing else, it is an easy, fast way to make pizza.