The VICE Guide to Pizza
After originating in the Mediterranean in the 1800s, the round pie we call pizza became a global sensation post-World War II. Just about every nation in the world has their version of this versatile dish. The genius of pizza is that it’s infinitely adaptable. Everyone has their preferences and unique predilections. Cultures put their own spin on pizza, but it’s all equal… or is it?
A restaurant in Canada created the world’s most expensive pizza just this month. For $450, you can get a white truffle pie with lobster thermidor, black Alaskan cod, smoked salmon, tiger prawns, and Russian Osetra caviar. It probably tastes like licking the crotch of a track suit after a marathon, but the Dr. Frankensteins who invented this monstrosity are able to call their dish “pizza” because their stupid ingredients are on a round disc made of dough. I refuse to stand for that.
It’s time that we as a society put our foot down and set some guidelines for what is and isn’t pizza. We’ve assembled an A-Z list of the most important aspects of pizza culture and SPOILER ALERT: none of them include fucking caviar.
This is the witching hour when it comes to pizza. While pizza definitely has its moments at dinner and during the wee hours of the morning when you’re plastered, it really shines due to its ubiquitous presence at after-school extracurricular activities. Whether it’s post-soccer game or during a study session for final exams, pizza absolutely dominates this time slot. We haven’t seen numbers like this since Cheers in its heyday. In fact, if it weren’t for pizza at practice, math-letes all across the nation would starve to death.
Honorable Mentions: Anchovies, all-you-can-eat lunch buffet, artichokes, anal leakage
Whoever says Bigfoot isn’t real doesn’t remember Pizza Hut’s contribution to the world of cryptozoology. In the 90s, Pizza Hut introduced “The Bigfoot.” This gargantuan pizza was one foot wide and two feet long. Initially popular, it was quickly discontinued. Although there are some who say the beast is still out there…
The giant, square pizza was something of a mini-trend in the 90s. Domino’s had the Dominator, which didn’t last long. Even Little Caesar’s had one called “Big! Big!" This was also discontinued, and not just because of the stunning lack of creativity in the pizza’s name.
Honorable Mentions: BBQ chicken, Book-It, breadsticks
Like revenge, pizza is a dish best served cold. Eating your pizza cold not only tastes great, but is fast and easy. Sure the crust isn’t as snappy and the pepperoni now has the consistancy of an unused condom, but the congealed cheese is the secret weapon of the leftover slice. The magic of cold pizza cheese is not something I even want to understand. Telling me why it’s good is like telling me how babies are made. WHO CARES, DUDE? I just wish there was a stork that delivered cold pizza to my house.
Honorable Mentions: CiCi’s Pizza, crust-first, coupons, CPK
Your parents sit you down and tell you that they still love each other. It isn’t your fault, but they’re going to start spending time apart. You know what that means? Twice a month you’re going to get to order whatever toppings you want! Thank God your dad can’t cook for shit. True love is a lie, and you’re reaping all the benefits. Hey, maybe if your family spent more time eating a nice home-cooked meal around the table instead of inhaling pizza in front of the TV you wouldn’t be in this position in the first place. Ah, it’s a vicious cycle. A delicious, vicious cycle.
Honorable Mentions: Deep dish, dessert pizza, delivery, DiGiorno
The internet was up in arms—sorry, paws—yesterday over a New Zealand pizza chain erecting a billboard to try and sell their smoked rabbit pizza that was plastered with rabbit pelts and the line, “Made from real rabbit. Like this billboard.”
Dear people who eat,
You may already know MUNCHIES as a food series by VICE. Now, MUNCHIES has been reborn as our new food channel dedicated to showing you the best videos, articles, and experiences the universe of food has to offer. And yes, MUNCHIES will live on as a show about your favorite chefs out on the town.
MUNCHIES aims to be a beacon of hope in the sea of spoiled gazpacho that is people writing and being videotaped talking about food.
Munchies is here! Follow them on Tumblr and also just go and read their site and watch a bunch of videos. They rule!
This Man Has Survived on Pizza Alone for 25 Years
My friend Dan survives on nothing but pizza. There’s that phrase, “variety is the spice of life,” but for Dan, a 38-year-old woodworker based in Maryland, oregano is the only spice involved, because it’s the only thing that he will put on top of his pizza. The next time someone tells you to eat your vegetables, you can tell them to fuck off and enlighten them with the story of this guy.
Everyone who knows Dan wonders how he’s still alive. Beyond the fact that his diet is completely horrifying, he also has diabetes and frequently gets low blood sugar. When his blood sugar dips into the danger zone, it results in events like him blacking out on his kitchen floor in his underwear with frozen food scattered around him. There was that one time he bought a new car and then blacked out on the drive home. He swerved off the road and totaled the vehicle, but other than that isolated incident, his pizza diet seems to be working out for him. I recently spoke to Dan to hear more about how he came to subsist on gluten, tomato sauce, and cheese alone.
VICE: It’s been said that you’re the king of pizza. How did you get that reputation?
Dan Janssen: I’ve been eating pizza exclusively every day of my life for the past 25 years, and I’m not just talking about a slice of pizza every day. I usually eat an entire 14” pizza, and I only eat cheese pizza. I never get sick of it. If I go to one pizza shop or another brand, it’s like eating a completely different meal.
Is Hiring a Hitman in Russia As Easy As Ordering a Pizza?
By now you’ve all heard about the legions of tech-savvy hitmen hanging out on the deepweb waiting to be asked to kill people. The sites have gained plenty of attention in recent months, largely because of Ross Ulbricht, the alleged founder of infamous deepweb drug and assassin marketplace Silk Road. Ulbricht is currently accused of using the Silk Road to hire a hitman to kill six people, and was arrested in an FBI sting on October 1.
But if a few websites in Eastern Europe follow through on what they advertise, you don’t even need to know what the deepweb is to hire yourself a contract killer. The sites are offering their services, completely openly over the internet, for anyone to access and place an order. Running since February of this year, one site offers everything the bloodthirsty revenge seeker might be after. “A light shake down” for $350; the Tarantino-esque “Chiropractor” for $800, and for some extra cash, they will break any part of the victim’s body for $50 a bone.
When it comes to the murder itself, several options are available: “death from natural causes or an unfortunate incident”; “‘random’ murder in a fight (for example in an assault at night),” or the “classic” ordered hit. Prices for these depend on various factors, such as the location of the victim and whatever challenges the hitman may need to overcome to complete the job. For an additional fee, customers can request a slew of optional extras: leaving the target naked in the forest; having them dig their own grave, getting them gagged with a rag soiled with urine and faeces. The customisation options are pretty vast.
Art Talk – Matt Mignanelli
Mignanelli’s paintings may seem simple at first glance, but spend more time with them and you’ll start to admire the patterns created by light and energy. We spent a day with Matt at his studio in Bushwick, Brooklyn, and talked about his work, life, and strong American work ethic while eating some amazing pizza.
Presented by Comex
Read Motherboard’s story on the fallout from the first real-world bitcoin purchase
LA Pizza That Doesn’t Suck
I lived in LA for four years at the turn of the century. It was a different time: The country was confused by Reagan’s chimpanzee seated behind the desk in the Oval Office; our world was rattled to its core on 9/11; and hope was still years away. But there are some basic values that have stood true since the birth of this great nation, and back in 2001 we held to them like the last life preservers keeping democracy afloat. These undeniable truths are 1.) Polish jokes never get old, 2.) as Americans we can bomb or blow up anything we like whenever we like, 3.) and if you order pizza outside of the New York metropolitan area it will suck. (Sorry, Chicago. Nice try, though.) Nowhere in this country is that last rule more evident than in LA. During my years there I tried each and every pizzeria in the county, one by one, just to make sure they sucked. The consistency of suck was impressive. There was one place, Vito’s on Vermont, which was the lone exception. Vito was from Elizabeth, New Jersey, and he knew what he was doing. On my lunch breaks I’d drive 30 minutes each way to get a Vito’s slice. One day I showed up, and he was gone. I assumed the other shitty pizzerias had had enough of his sullying up the suck-scale and ran him out of town. (I’m told Vito’s has reopened on La Cienega in Beverly Hills. I don’t need to go there to know Vito has lost his magic—anything with a 90210 zip code sucks.)
Earlier this month I was out in LA filming the last bits of Belladonna’s interviews for her Skinema episodes. I found myself at my buddy/former pro skater Salman Agah’s downtown LA pizzeria, Pizzanista. Naturally, he offered me a slice of pizza. This happens often to East Coasters in LA. Los Angelas as a whole has an insecurity problem, and they’re always seeking validation. Salman wasn’t offering me a slice because I looked hungry; he wanted me to tell him it was good, that it was worthy of a superior palate such as mine. I didn’t want the pizza. Not because I wasn’t hungry, but because I didn’t want to hurt his feelings when I told him it sucked. I also didn’t want to get socked in the mouth by the big fellow, or worse, see him cry.
“So do you want a slice?” The pioneer of switch skating and one of my childhood idols asked as he towered over me.
“Fuck… dude… I don’t want to—”
“Just try it. I want to know what you think.”
There it was. The sentence that I assumed would set up the inevitable death of our friendship.
“It was nice knowing you,” I said as he handed me a pepperoni slice.
I loaded it up with crushed pepper and garlic and oregano and Parmesan cheese and anything I could find to mask the suck I was about to ingest.
“You don’t need all that,” he told me.
I took a deep breath, dove head first into the empty pool of suck, and prepared to die…
But the crash never came. I just kept falling and falling, and God, I don’t even believe I’m saying this… falling in love with a slice of pizza in LA.
I opened my eyes and told him I didn’t understand.
“You don’t like it?”
Sex, one of the world’s dumber sayings goes, is like pizza, in that it’s great when it’s great and still good when it’s bad. There are adults who say this—right now, a ponytailed manager at a GameStop is saying it to his young employees in hopes of convincing them that he has experience in both; Dr. Drew, who is technically an adult-appearing marzipan-skinned insincerity droid, wrote said words in Oprah’s magazine; there are thousands of people in a Facebook group celebrating the expression.
For people who exist on a diet comprised exclusively of bad sex and bad pizza—Adam Carolla, Jay Mariotti, reality-show contestants on VH1—this may seem witty or true. But it’s not true: bad sex is sort of terrible, and bad pizza is incalculably worse, especially those slices with ziti on them. Sex is not like pizza in the way pizza is supposed to be like sex. The week before the NCAA Tournament, however, is like pizza in the way pizza is supposed to be like sex. That is, it’s sometimes—even often—sort of terrible, but it is also and always enjoyable, and sometimes great. There is also a disconcerting association to be made here with regard to Papa John’s, whose founder often shows up during college basketball commercial breaks, testifying to the camera how much fresh peppers and “real meats” mean to him personally, in an earnest tone most people reserve for proposals of marriage. But back to our metaphor.