Close your eyes and visualize that divine moment when a freshly cooked, piping-hot pizza is placed in front of you. Mmmmm… we bet your mouth is watering already! And of course you want to grab a slice and dive right in straight away, but the question is, how do you go about it? Turns out, the answer to this question isn’t a universal one – and the way you dig into your pie can say a lot about who you are as a person.
Reaching for a slice of pizza seems an action so instinctive it’s virtually a reflex. And as soon as you smell the scent of hot cheese wafting through the air, your start to salivate a little bit. By the time you open the box and see the melted cheese-and-tomato-topped treat inside – dotted with your favorite veggies and meats – well, you’re more than ready to eat.
Perhaps you carefully serve yourself a slice of pizza and put it onto a plate. Then, you pick up a knife and fork to carve up little bite-sized pieces that you can pop straight into your mouth. Or maybe you pick up the pizza by hand, folding it over itself so you can munch without making a mess.
There are a few other common – albeit strange – ways that you might choose to chow down on a fresh pizza pie. Do you hold up the entire doughy disc and bite into it crust-first? Or do you take a pre-cut slice and eat it all the way up to the crust before ditching that crunchy exterior altogether?
Try to imagine yourself eating this fast-food staple before reading on, because your go-to method is more than just a means to a delicious end. A 2020 survey by food company Goodfellas revealed a lot about how people like their pizza. Their preferences ranged from the ways they heat up their pies to the toppings they loved – and the ones they saw as unforgivable selections.
But the survey also touched on the ways that people can eat pizza, too. And that revelation led to a wider discussion that had experts chiming in with their opinions. What does your pizza-eating style say about you as a person? We’ll give you a hint – it’s a lot more than you’d think.
There’s no need to survey the world on whether or not they like pizza – that seems to be a pretty universal “yes.” But the Goodfellas brand sent out a detailed survey to the United Kingdom’s many pizza eaters to find out their pie-scoffing preferences – and their biggest no-nos when it comes to ordering the Italian favorite.
It’s hard to believe that pizza could cause such a big debate considering the dish’s humble beginnings. It all started in the 18th and early 19th centuries, when Naples, Italy, had a huge population of blue-collar residents. These people had very little money, but they needed food that was cheap, filling and easy to eat.
So, the city’s food vendors started churning out flatbreads topped with garlic, tomatoes, cheese, anchovies… whatever they could get their hands on. And, while this sounds delicious in the pizza-loving world we inhabit today, the rich looked down on those who ate the flatbreads. Carol Helstosky, who penned Pizza: A Global History, told website History.com that they considered poor people’s eating habits to be “disgusting.”
But that all changed after Italy’s unification in 1861, which brought Naples under the rule of King Umberto I and Queen Margherita. The royal duo visited the bayside city in 1889, at which point they had been on tour through their land for quite some time. And they had grown tired of eating the same fancy cuisine every night.
So, the royals requested an unexpected main for their Neopolitan meal: pizza. Queen Margherita particularly loved the pie with red tomatoes, green basil and white cheese – a patriotic pie, as it mimicked the colors of the Italian flag. So, the pizzeria began referring to that simple combination as the pizza Margherita.
People today, of course, love a cheesy pie as much as Queen Margherita did. But their favorite kind of pizza has more than just mozzarella on top, according to the Goodfellas survey. In fact, the traditional margherita pie ranked third on the list of topping options behind one curveball and a more predictable option.
It will probably come as no kind of shock to learn that the most popular pizza topping of all was pepperoni, according to the 2020 survey, with fully 30 percent of survey respondents indicating that the American-style sausage was a must-have. Surprisingly, though, their second-favorite was buffalo chicken – an option you certainly wouldn’t have found in 19th-century Naples, either.
And, while those toppings remain beloved among pizza aficionados, there were a handful that people simply couldn’t stand. The survey uncovered that about 40 percent of respondents did not want gravy, oysters or peas on their pies. As for pineapple – a hotly debated topping – only 23 percent considered it a dealbreaker.
The fact that pineapple ranked so low among the no-nos is a surprise, too, if you look at the survey’s “ultimate pizza felons” category. A full 36 percent of respondents thought that a sweet topping was a crime against pizza. The greatest offense, though, was an undercooked pie: 40 percent of people scoffed at a pale, non-crispy slice.
How people eat pizza was also up for debate. The number-one offense against an Italian pie? Sticking a slice into the toaster to heat it up – which, frankly, makes a lot of sense, since it would make a huge mess. Respondents found it almost as bad when a fellow diner stole a piece without asking for it.
And then, there was the issue of how a person actually eats their pizza. There are plenty of ways to do so, after all. The Goodfellas survey found that the most-disliked option was consuming a pie with a fork and knife. The prim-and-proper method simply didn’t do the handheld food justice, respondents seemed to believe.
This data point brings up another interesting question: how do you eat pizza? Perhaps you, too, make a grab for utensils as soon as the delivery man arrives. Or maybe you pick up the entire pie, chewing from the crust inward. You could, of course, just take a triangular slice and eat it from its slimmest point, working your way out. Turns out, there are seven main ways that people eat pizza – and each one says something about the diner who chows down in that manner.
The Prim & Proper
Let’s start with the pizza-eating style that sparked the conversation. Perhaps you pull open the silverware drawer to get a fork and knife before tucking into your pie. You use your utensils to cut your slice into perfect, bite-sized pieces, which you can easily, cleanly pop into your mouth.
Consumer psychologist and body language expert Jo Hemmings explained to website Wales Online that this technique separates the traditionalists from the crowd. Clearly, they have well-ordered minds – they take the effort to cut their pies before politely eating them, after all. Because of this, Hemmings warned, “They don’t like anything last-minute,” so you should mirror a Prim & Proper’s preparedness.
On top of that, those who opt to eat in the Prim & Proper style “tend to be fair, honest and sincere,” Hemmings went on. So, if you notice someone in your life eating their pizza with a fork and knife, ask them for their take on your troubles. The consumer psychologist said, “Given that they’re great listeners and have a reliable nature, the ‘Prim & Proper’ is just the type of person you will want to talk to if you have a problem and need some friendly, but frank, advice.”
Now, most people will skip out on the fork and knife when their pizza arrives. Perhaps you grab your pizza-cutter instead, carving your circular pie into triangular slices. If you do so, you fall into the most common category of pizza-eater, according to Hemmings: you are The Conformer.
But don’t regard the concept of conformity as a bad thing here. Instead, Hemmings explained, “This type of person is willing to adapt to any situation they find themself in, due to their warm, friendly and affectionate ‘outer crust.’” The only negative that she noted was the fact that a Conformer’s “eating etiquette may need some work, though, as they are likely to be eating their pizza while chatting.”
The Conformer chats and eats because they don’t often grab a slice alone. No, Hemmings said, they have a “love for the sociability factor of sharing a pizza.” Everything else is good with those who eat their pizza this way – in fact, you make a great friend if you eat slices as-is. The body language expert went on, “Eating etiquette aside, with their optimistic outlook, they make great people to hang out with if you’re feeling down.”
The All-or-Nothing Muncher
Now, let’s switch gears and look at a pizza-eating method that’s a bit less normal than the knife-and-fork or slice-in-hand methods described above. Instead, you might be an All-or-Nothing Muncher, which means you eat your pie whole. You might hold it in hand and bite in at the crust, working your way around the doughy circle.
Now, the All-or-Nothing Muncher sounds weird, but it’s a method that says a lot of glowing things about those who fall into this category. According to Hemmings, “Those who choose to eat their pizza whole, know exactly what they want, are vocal about their opinions and aren’t bothered by what others think.”
An All-or-Nothing Muncher won’t shy away from attention, either. “They love getting a slice of the action and standing out from the crowd. One thing is for sure, if you’re friends with an ‘All-or-Nothing’ type, you’ll never be bored,” Hemmings said. She added that you won’t have any luck trying to change their minds about something. They’re set in their ways – look at how they eat their pizza.
On that note, you might be somewhere between the previous two categories. You might grab a slice of pizza, but instead of eating it from the inside-out, you bite into the crust first. If so, you’re known as The Reverser in the pizza-eating world, and it says some pretty glowing things about you, too.
If you bite into your slice at its broadest edge and work your way in, saving the point for last, then you are likely “confident, self-assured and patient,” Hemmings said. You have no issues with eating pizza in your own way, which shows you don’t have a care in the world: if anyone’s judging you for biting into the crust first, then that’s their problem, not yours.
Still, The Reverser will likely keep things uniform, apart from their pizza-eating ways. Hemmings went on to say, “They tend to still be planners rather than being spontaneous; because they’re the kind of person to enjoy the organizing and anticipation of an event just as much as the event itself.”
The Inside-Out Scoffer
What’s the reverse of The Reverser? You might think that it’s The Conformer, who we’ve already covered. But there’s another kind of pizza-eater who consumes slices cheese-to-crust, but with a twist. A person who falls into The Inside-Out Scoffer category won’t eat the pizza’s crunchy edge of dough: they stop after they finish the cheesy part, ditch their crust and grab another slice.
An Inside-Out Scoffer will probably be someone who’s “charismatic” and “spontaneous,” Hemmings said. Because they have no problem speeding up the pizza-eating process by ditching their crust, the consumer psychologist joked, this type of person will “want to ‘cheese’ the day.” And they tend to make spur-of-the-moment decisions, right down to the wacky toppings they choose for their pies.
If you’re trying to convince an Inside-Out Scoffer to stick with a more traditional topping – or even a more normal life path – well, good luck with that. Hemmings concluded, “The ‘Inside Out’ personality is quite independent as they are focused and like to venture off to seek new experiences, making them fun to be around.” So, embrace their ways, right down to the wacky way they eat pizza.
The Neat Freak
You might think we’ve already covered The Neat Freak – how does it get cleaner than eating a pizza with a knife and fork? Well, you could try folding your slice in half and biting into it. The doubled-over method makes it easier to sink your gnashers into a large piece of pizza, and it prevents oils and melty toppings from spilling everywhere.
As you might’ve expected, The Neat Freak likes to keep things clean in their day-to-day life, too. Hemmings explained, “They don’t like mess of any sort, but may not let you know if your tidiness habits annoy them, as they are often self-controlled, yet not necessarily assertive.” So, if you live with a Neat Freak-style eater, try and keep your clutter under control.
Now, Neat Freaks are “inner perfectionists” who are “happy being sociable, but also enjoy their own company,” Hemmings said. But they don’t let their standards get in the way of living their lives. She said that a folded pizza eater will want to “get the most out of life; typically they have a purpose behind everything they do.”
The Bottoms-Up Biter
Finally – and perhaps the strangest of all – are those who ditch pizza physics as we know them. Before eating their pizzas, the Bottoms Up crowd will flip the pie upside-down. Yes, there are people out there who prefer their pizzas cheese-down, and this method says quite a lot about who they are.
According to those in the know, a Bottoms-Up Biter is someone who is creative and daring – they’re not afraid of adventure. Hemming said, “Favoring to be a leader rather than a follower, they are often self-confident, over-achievers who like to do things their own way.” You’d have to be if you had the guts to flip a pizza cheese-side-down before eating it.
But The Bottoms-Up Biter isn’t just dedicated to his or her own creative pursuits and adventurousness, Hemmings claimed: apparently such types tend to be wonderful companions, too. The body language expert went on to say, “They care about their friends a lot, encouraging them to step their game up when they are not pushing themselves enough and relish when others want to be involved with their own adventures and plans.”
So, what does your pizza-eating style say about you? No matter how you slice it, one thing’s for sure – there’s more to this Italian classic than its toppings or its crust or how many types of cheese it carries. How you eat it can say a lot about who you are, too.