Pizza / Pizza boxes

And meanwhile I’m stuck wondering why they don’t make pizzas square, to fit the box…

…or why if they put a round pizza in a square box, why is the little plastic table thingy in the middle of the pizza round and not square? I tell you, geniuses figure this stuff out…

In the very hot oven, the corners of a rectangular pizza are not enough cooled by the wet topping, the dough in the corners would become coal.

Better a round box; for a downward delivery, the pizza could roll itself to destination.

Your ordering from the wrong pizza joint. Square pizza originated in Sicily and was originally called “Sicilian Pizza”. It was an alternative to the “party pizzas” that were round.

Square boxes are cheaper to make.

And to stow flat. Unfolding them gives the staff something to do in slow moments.

The ancient Greek mathematician Eratosthenes theorized that the little round plastic-table-thingy on top of the pizza, when rotated around the periphery of the pie, made 11-1/4 epicycles around the perimeter. This gave the ancient Greek mariner his “pontiesis”, which later became the Anglo-Saxon mariner’s “points", and which today the landlubber calls a “slice”.

The trouble was that the plastic-table-thingy’s epicycles were not a perfect 11-1/4 rotations around the perimeter of the pizza. They could be 11 or 11-1/2, and this meant the points, or slices, were never the same size. Since the ancient Greeks used their slices of pizza as a crude but delicious astrolabe to determine their latitude, and the olives they preferred as a topping as a log to reckon mileage, this meant their navigation could be off by as many as four or five olives a day.

In the original version of the Odyssey, at the end of the Trojan War, the goddess Hera cursed the Greeks, by having the boy delivering the pizzas to the victory party drop the all boxes. Then the slices were all bent and lame, and all the olives fell off. Without proper navigation equipment, Ulysses and his men were lost for ten years on the ‘wine dark sea’. When they passed the beautiful Sirens, luring sailors onto the reefs with their hypnotic songs, there were no olives for Ulysses’s men to stuff in their ears, so they used mozzarella (Greek for, “ear plugs would have been better”). All except Ulysses, who instructed his men to lash him to the mast, so he could listen. Which gave us his immortal words: “I know Beyonce. You’re no Beyonce.”

The 'Antikythera mechanism’ discovered in an ancient Greek shipwreck in 1902, has been determined to be a computer for dividing up a pizza into perfect slices, and also determine how much each diner had to chip-in to pay for it, as well as the tip (tipiesis). The mechanism could also keep track of who didn’t pay, and determine if the malefactor was to be burned at the stake, or dragged behind a chariot. A very advanced mechanism for its time.

When the Romans become the dominant seagoing power in the Mediterranean in 176 BC and were confronted with the pizza slice navigation problem they solved it by sailing to Naples, destroying the city, and selling the pizza bakers (luigis) into slavery. The Romans were wings guys. Lo-carb all the way, and if you ever tasted their lame bread in the 1960’s you’d know why.

It was Copernicus in the Renaissance that deduced that if the plastic-table-thingy made epicycles around the inside of the pizza box rather than the perimeter of the pie, there would be 360 epicycles, and that if the box was divided from corner to corner into arcs of 90 degrees, and a breadstick were hinged to the corner, they could be used as astrolabes for navigation. “Astrolabe" from the Latin labius, or mouth; tro, or through; and asius, for ass, as in idiot. “I’m an idiot to think something I could put in my mouth would be good for navigation”.


The Romans sailed to Naples to set fire on the Vesuvius, to destroy Naples; unfortunately, the winds destroyed Pompei and not Naples.
The Romans were not real sailors, they ignored the first maritime rule “never piss against the wind”.

You will not make friends among the Americans of Italian origins. The homeland of their ancestors is not based on some bearded fathers, but on the pizza. Italy became a country because of the pizza.
The Greeks would have become a prosperous country too, as Italy, if they had the pizza…

Burning/ blackening at the corners does not occur when the ventilator is switched on. This ensures an even heat distribution in the oven.

Yes, your ‘cake’ looks nice and is probably good.

I was thinking about a real Italian pizza with a very thin dough and less topping.
Cooked in a stone oven, possibly wood heated, at >400°C for less than 90 seconds.


It’s really difficult to toss/spin a blob of pizza dough on your fists and have it come down as a square.


So what’s the ishoo?

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A Pizza shop owner I’ve known once told me some interesting stories about the evolution of the pizza business… The early take out packaging he recounted were heavy white floppy paper boxes only suited to smaller pizzas. Large carryout was a bad choice for a customer and delivery service was nearly impossible. The inside top of the box was always sticking to the pizza…

But by the 1960’s the industry shifted to the use of die cut corrugated box board for the packaging. The table thingy had been around earlier but with the more rigid boxes it was reserved for extra large sizes.

Box board could be printed efficiently for advertising, held up to the steam from the pizza, and could be stacked.(the early paper boxes couldn’t) This really opened the market to take out where before maybe 3% of sales were carry out now 2/3 of the business was carry out and delivery.

As for the round pizza in a square box, some pizza shop owners have realized there are four small corners for value added features and taken advantage of it. Side toppings, seasoning packets, etc.
Still, a round pizza in a square box will make contact at 4 points and stay in it’s place fairly well.

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