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Pizza Month 2010

Pizza Month 2010: Complete

Pizza Month 2010: Complete

I’m glad to report that I successfully achieved my Pizza Month goal of eating nothing but pizza for the entire month of April. I already addressed some of the biggest issues early on in the month, but I figured it’d be worth taking a look back to share a few thoughts and answer some of the most common questions I’m asked about the experience. It’s also a good excuse to make some lists.

First of all: no, I’m not sick of pizza. It helps to understand that I eat a lot of pizza anyway; it isn’t uncommon for me to eat pizza everyday for a week at a time. This doesn’t mean that the whole endeavor wasn’t hard though. On the contrary, it was much harder than I expected. Consider, for instance, the following situations (all of which happened to me during the month):

  • You attend a business lunch, but end up having to order nothing and watch every one else eat because the restaurant doesn’t serve pizza. This of course also involves trying not to come across as a total dick while you explain to everyone why you’re not eating with them.
  • It is the warmest, most beautiful day of the year in New York City and you can’t eat an ice cream cone.
  • You are on Martha’s Vineyard for an extended trip and end up needing to scrape the bottom of the local pizzeria barrel in order to fulfill your daily quota for new pizza.
  • While on Martha’s Vineyard, you are staying for a week with your boss, whose wife is the editor of a magazine that focuses on local food. You can’t eat their undoubtedly delicious home-cooked meals or act on recommendations for the best local restaurants (unless they serve pizza).
  • You attend a catered dinner with tons of amazing food that is also free, but you can only eat an undercooked pizza which you picked up beforehand.

I could go on, but you get the general idea.

To only cite difficult situations would be unfair, though. I had many outstanding experiences throughout the month which probably wouldn’t have taken place if I were eating a normal diet. For example:

  • Doing an interview for the local news which would be re-broadcast on stations around North America
  • Appearing in the news in other forms around the country, including interviews for the Chicago Tribune and a conservative fundamentalist right-wing talk radio show in Alabama (?!)
  • Visiting 18 pizzerias that I have never been to before in my life, many of which were a pleasant surprise
  • Hearing or reading feedback from people who thought my plan was entertaining, admirable, stupid, or otherwise thought-provoking
  • Losing 2 pounds (yes, I lost weight)
  • Having an easy conversation topic to fill awkward silences
  • Receiving an e-mail from a girl I’d never met, asking if I wanted to go on a pizza date with her

Since writing about every single slice I ate all month would take forever, I will instead name some superlatives, yearbook style:

  • Pre-gamer – Pizza I ate the night before Pizza Month started to get psyched up: Patsy’s Pizzeria in East Harlem, Manhattan
  • Hidden Gem – Previously unexplored pizza I wished I had known about earlier: Bacci & Abracci in Williamsburg, Brooklyn
  • Letdown – Most disappointing pizza based on the amount I expected to enjoy it and the amount I actually enjoyed it: Pulino’s Bar & Pizzeria in Lower East Side, Manhattan
  • Surprisingly Good – Most impressive pizza based on the amount I expected to enjoy it and the amount I actually enjoyed it: a Vegan Macaroni & Ground “Beef” slice from Vinnie’s Pizzeria in Williamsburg, Brooklyn
  • Healthiest – Pizza which probably provided the most nutrients I was missing out on elsewhere: a Dell’ortolano pie from Acqua Santa in Williamsburg, Brooklyn
  • Worst – Pizza I enjoyed the least: Vox Populi in Back Bay, Boston
  • Best – Pizza I enjoyed the most: a tough call, but I’m gonna go with the Greenpointer pie from Paulie Gee’s in Greenpoint, Brooklyn
  • Out with a fizzle – last pizza I ate during pizza month (also the runner up for pizza I enjoyed the least): Fresh Pasta Shoppe in Edgartown, Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts

On May 1st, after eating nothing but pizza for an entire month, these are the first 3 things I ate (in order):

  • a single sunflower seed
  • a slice of cold leftover pizza
  • a sandwich with cherry tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and olive oil

In conclusion, I’m glad I went through with this year’s Pizza Month challenge, but I’m not sure I’ll do it again next year. I might return to the same challenge from previous years, to eat one slice every day from at least one different pizzeria every day. Another option I’ve considered which might be interesting is to eat from at least one pizzeria I’ve never been to in my life at least once a day. We’ll see…

Subtract 1:32 from my 15 minutes of fame

I like how it says “Pizza lover” under my name for the onscreen graphics.

Reflections on a pizza-only diet after 3 days

Three days in to eating literally nothing but pizza, I can already tell that this year’s Pizza Month challenge is going to be much harder than I originally thought.

First I’ll clarify the specifics of the rules I’ve set out, because many people ask about them. The first part is pretty simple: anything I eat during the month of April will be pizza. This means no snacks, appetizers, desserts, candy… nothing. When I went to Pulino’s for pizza on the first day of the month, and my friend Dan got olives before our pies came, I did not eat any because they were not on a pizza.

Some people I’ve talked to have tried to find loopholes that they would take advantage of, like eating soup, but I’m going to try to keep it as legit as possible: Anything I chew and swallow until midnight of April 30 will be pizza.

On top of that, as with previous Pizza Months, I’m also attempting to eat at a different pizza place (i.e. one that I haven’t been to yet this month) every day.

Despite what you may think, the eating of pizza isn’t the hard part. There are many factors that I hadn’t really considered when deciding to eat only pizza for a month. For instance, pizza is often a social meal; but if I’m hungry and I can’t find anyone to get pizza with – as is often the case in the middle of the day – I have to either wait for someone or go eat alone. It’s fine if you’re just getting a slice, but I’m guessing I’ll probably also end up being that creepy guys alone at a restaurant many times throughout the month. This isn’t made any easier by the fact that I tend to stay up late at night, when many pizzerias are closed and potential dining partners are asleep.

Another thing I hadn’t really realized before is how much of my normal diet consists of food that isn’t the main course of a normal meal. So many foods that I love to munch on between meals are conspicuous in their absence. It’s similarly difficult to walk past all the awesome bagel shops and bakeries in New York without stopping in to grab a small bite. Furthermore, considering my normal diet, life without dessert or candy is going to be brutal. Finally, other than a few places where breakfast pizza is offered, normal breakfast will be greatly missed.

So far, I’ve been drinking a lot of liquids to tide me over between pizzas. I’ll probably put down many cups of orange juice and smoothies before the month is through, and I’m relying on those kinds of things to keep me from getting scurvy.

Because of all this – and contrary to the common assumptions about a pizza-only diet – I’m predicting that I might actually lose weight over the next month. This certainly isn’t my goal, but I’ll be curious to see what the correlation is.

Pizza Month 2010: stepping it up

Back in 2007, I began a personal tradition I call Pizza Month. The specifics of the challenge have evolved over the years, but the general premise is that I eat pizza every day for the entirety of April.

In 2008 and 2009, to make Pizza Month more challenging, a new stipulation was introduced in which I had to get pizza from a new place every day (no repeats). It made the whole endeavor much more exciting than just grabbing a slice from my local pizza spot every day.

For Pizza Month this year, I’ve decided to step things up another notch and eat nothing but pizza for the entire month of April.

While many people think that eating pizza every day would be challenging, the hardest part to me for this new level of pizza dedication will be the elimination of candy and desserts. Luckily, Coca-Cola is basically candy in liquid form and happens to also be the best beverage to complement pizza with.
I’ll try to post updates and notes here throughout the month. Also keep an eye on my Flickr photostream for photographic documentation.

For more info on my previous Pizza Months, see the related wrap-up entries from Pizza Month 2008 and Pizza Month 2009, as well as all my Pizza Month photos on Flickr.