First month in a year of personal pizza stats

In the past month, I've eaten 93 slices of pizza – an average of 3 slices per day.

Having completed some kind of Pizza Month challenge in the month of April for the past few years, I’ve always considered how I would approach the concept of a Pizza Year. Now, with the help of some new technology, I’m starting a project which might qualify for such a title.

At the end of last year, my friend Nicholas Felton released an iPhone app for his personal data collection website, Daytum. When I found out about it, I decided it was a good excuse to start collecting my personal pizza stats. I don’t think I’ll get as crazy as Nicholas does with his Feltron personal annual reports, but after the first month I’ve decided to stick with it, hopefully until at least the end of 2011.

In order to ensure I actually keep up with my data collection, I wanted to keep the process as simple as possible. Daytum is good in this sense, since it imposes a relatively stripped down approach to everything. As such, my pizza consumption will be measured in units of slices. While the most accurate approach would probably be based on weight, I’m not about to carry a scale around with me at all times just in case I happen to get a slice. Obviously slice sizes can vary quite a bit depending on where they come from, but I’ve found that in the end it generally evens out; for every skimpy slice I eat, there’s usually an extra-large one from somewhere else to balance things out.

I’ve only run in to one situation so far where measuring by the slice wasn’t relevant: at Flatbread Company, where they cut their pizzas in square slices. If the pieces had been thick sicilian squares, I probably would have just counted each one as a slice, but since their pizza is relatively thin, it didn’t seem quite right. So, instead of counting each square as a slice, I made an approximation of how many slices I would have eaten if the pie had been cut in normal triangular slices. Obviously it’s not a perfect system, but it gets the general idea across about how much pizza I eat, and how often.

In addition to the number of slices, I’ll also be keeping track of where each slice comes from. This is one of the most interesting parts of the project to me. I considered keeping track of other things like toppings or who I’m with when I eat, but in the end opted to keep it simple. I have added some parenthetical notes about some of the pizza sources (like which location it was if it’s part of a multi-location franchise, or if it was a delivery order), but I haven’t settled on a system for that yet.

So far this year, I’ve eaten 93 slices, which averages out to 3 slices per day. The breakdown as is seems fairly typical for me, with a concentration on pizzerias that are near my apartment. I don’t know if I’ll keep this kind of volume up for the entire year, but if you want to keep an eye on my progress, you can see the live stats on my Daytum page. Otherwise, I’ll be posting occasional updates on the project here and on the new @Pizza_Rules Twitter account. Hopefully I’ll do a detailed run-down at the end of the year too. If you have any suggestions or questions, feel free to leave them in the comments.

In closing, I’d like to thank Nicholas Felton for developing the Daytum service, since I probably wouldn’t be taking on this project without it.

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