The Fascinating History Behind Illinois Ditching the Triangle Pizza Slice
Pizza is a beloved and ubiquitous food around the world, and each region has its own unique style and traditions. In Illinois, one of the most notable quirks is that pizzas are typically cut into square slices, rather than the more common triangular shape.
But why is this the case?
How this pizza-slicing way of life isn't clear on an exact moment or location of when it began. There are a few different explanations dating back to the Great Depression in Chicago. Many claim orphanages would cut their pizzas into squares to give more kids a piece. When the Depression ended, the practice stuck around.
Another reason square slices may have gained popularity in Illinois is that they are easier to cut and serve than triangular slices. Because the slices are equal in size and shape, it is simpler to portion out the pizza and ensure that each person gets an equal share. This is particularly useful in a restaurant setting, where speed and efficiency are important.
Could There Be More Than Equal Portions?
Another advantage of square slices is that they hold their shape better than triangular slices, which can be prone to drooping and falling apart. This is especially true for pizzas with a lot of toppings, as the weight of the toppings can cause triangular slices to sag and become difficult to eat. Square slices, on the other hand, are able to support the weight of the toppings more effectively, making for a tidier and more enjoyable eating experience.
Square slices also have a more rustic and artisanal look, which has likely contributed to their popularity in Illinois. Many people associate triangular slices with mass-produced, factory-made pizzas, while square slices are often seen as being more handcrafted and authentic. This perception may have helped to give square slices a "cool factor" that has helped to cement their place in Illinois' pizza culture.
See More: What is Wisconsin-Style Pizza?
Despite their popularity in Illinois, square slices are not the norm everywhere. In many other parts of the United States, as well as in other countries, pizzas are typically cut into triangular slices. This can make it somewhat confusing for outsiders to understand why Illinois has such a strong tradition of square slices. But to residents of the state, it is simply a matter of tradition and preference - one that has become deeply ingrained in the local food culture.
The square slice has become a beloved and iconic part of Illinois' pizza tradition. Its ease of cutting and serving, ability to hold its shape with heavy toppings, and rustic appearance have all contributed to its popularity. While triangular slices may be the norm in other parts of the world, in Illinois, the square slice reigns supreme.