In a clear example of suffering for art, I gained four pounds prepping for this article.
Fortunately, the topic is pizza, so the gain was worth the pain. Somebody pass the Lipitor.
Like the selection of toppings at your favorite parlor, there are a variety of pizza styles found across the U.S. In fact, one food-focused website says there are at least 24 varieties from which to choose.
While pizza is among my favorite foods, I'm admittedly somewhat of a neophyte when it comes to discerning the different styles. So here's a quick breakdown of just a handful of the styles and a few great places to find them in Missouri.
New York Style - Noted for its generous, triangular cut and thin crust, this style is generally folded in half - almost to the shape of a taco shell - while eaten. A slice or two usually fills you up. Try a slice of sausage and green pepper at Brooklyn Pizza in Fulton.
St. Louis Style - Thanks to the cracker-like thin crust, square slices and the laboratory concoction that is Provel cheese, this style has plenty of loyalists ... and detractors. Popularized by the Imo's chain, order up a hamburger and bacon from the Fourth Street location in downtown St. Louis.
Deep Dish - Often referred to as Chicago style, deep dish offers a thick crust and abundant toppings. One slice may not fill you up, but you'll be questioning whether or not you need a second. Get The Delmar, which includes Pappy's barbecue sauce, at Pi Pizzeria in St. Louis' Central West End.
Greek - Baked in a pan, Greek-style pizza generally has a thin crust, a light layer of sauce and cheese and a boatload of toppings. The folks at Arris' Pizza Palace have been serving pizza-hungry Jefferson Citians and visitors since the 1960s. If you're protein starved, order The Hercules: ground beef, Canadian bacon, pepperoni, Greek sausage and breakfast bacon.
Neapolitan - One of the most specialized pizzas due its traditions, this style must be cooked at a very high temperature in a wood-fired oven and use San Marzano tomatoes grown in Italy. You'll be hard pressed to find a more traditional pizza than the Margherita (mozzarella cheese, basil, olive oil and sea salt) at Il Lazzarone Pizza in St. Joseph.