If you like pizza, you have a lot of company. Pizza is one of the most popular foods in the United States. It has been estimated that every second, 350 slices of pizza are eaten. Every year, three billion pizzas are sold around the nation. Pizza is responsible for the consumption of 252 million pounds of pepperoni every year. This is one of the most popular ingredients for pizza. Part of the popularity of pizza comes from the fact that it is often delivered. Almost 90% of businesses that sell pizza offer delivery. Need more proof that people like it? At least 93% of all people in the country say they eat it at least once a month. New York makes some of the best pizza on the planet. This means a lot of people ask “how is NY style pizza made?”
CBS News in New York talked to Scott Wiener about the question, “how is NY style pizza made?” and about what makes the pizza from the city the best in the country. “Scott’s Pizza Tours” was founded by him and he goes through all of the boroughs of the city to show people where to find the best pizza and what makes a pizza NY style.
Wiener is considered to be the top pizza expert in the Big Apple. He is as passionate about the food as anyone and has a collection that includes 1,400 pizza boxes. He says that New Yorkers think of themselves as being experts on good pizza and what defines good pizza. He says that what makes him different from the other pizza aficionados in the city, he is “not partisan.” He claims to not have a favorite place to go for pizza and says he is more interested in the stories he hears at the pizzerias he visits and learning about their histories. He says his work is sociological and anthropological in nature.
When it comes to the question, “how is NY style pizza made?”, Wiener has a very specific criteria. He says that New York style pizza has to be a larger pizza. It needs to be sliced into eight pieces. To qualify as being NY style, it has to have a diameter between 18 and 22 inches. The cheese used must be low moisture mozzarella. The oven used has to be a gas oven that has been heated to around 550 degrees Fahrenheit. It needs to sit in the oven for a period of time between seven and ten minutes. If it is being served in slices, as it often is in the city, if it sits outside the oven for more than ten minutes, it needs to be reheated. To make it a real New York slice, the piece should be larger than the plate upon which it is served.
Like most people from New York, Wiener says that the culture for pizza is different in the city than it is anywhere else on the planet. He says, “New York has had pizza for so long, over 100 years at this point, that there is something ingrained in our culture about how we eat pizza and our respect for it. So going to pizzerias that serve by the slice is a part of everyday life here. You go and grab a slice before the movie, and then you get dinner after the movie. That is the way that life goes.”
Scott’s Pizza Tours are about more than just getting people a good slice of pizza or answering the question, “how is NY style pizza made?” Wiener says that he wants his tours to have a “ripple effect” on the people’s lives after they take his tour. He says he hopes to encourage people, through an increased awareness, understanding, and knowledge of pizza to appreciate it more. He says that many people start the tour thinking it is a one-dimensional product but when they are done, they see it is a lot more complicated than they ever thought. He hopes they finish a tour of his with more than just a greater appreciation for the delight that is pizza but that they will have a better appreciation for life itself.