Pizza pie
Posted: 18 April 2012 04:26 AM   [ Ignore ]
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On a 1958 episode of What’s My Line a contestant was introduced as a pizza pie maker. As far as I could tell pizza pie was simply pizza. Was pizza pie the normal designation for pizza in 50s USA? Or are we talking about two separate dishes here?

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Posted: 18 April 2012 05:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Yes, pizza pie is simply pizza. It used to be more common, but has gotten rarer over the decades, although you’ll still hear it, and the standalone pie is very common as the unit of pizza.

The OED records pizza pie from 1939, which is also the first citation of pizza in a non-Italian (i.e., American) context.

There’s also tomato pie, which is another old name for a pizza, once common to New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania, and which DARE records from 1942. I recall a sign for “Maruca’s Tomato Pies” when I worked on the Seaside Heights, New Jersey boardwalk in the 1980s, but no one ever actually called them tomato pies.

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Posted: 18 April 2012 07:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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I’m astonished it hasn’t been found before 1939, given that the great Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana (New Haven’s, and therefore the U.S.’s, best) opened in 1925, and was surely mentioned in the local papers.

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Posted: 18 April 2012 08:02 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Several earlier citings (pun intended) were discussed in this old thread.

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Posted: 18 April 2012 08:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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and the standalone pie is very common as the unit of pizza.

Not on the West Coast. Adding “pie” in any form to pizza marks you as an Easterner.

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Posted: 18 April 2012 08:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Not on the West Coast. Adding “pie” in any form to pizza marks you as an Easterner

Agreed. I associate it almost exclusively with New York City, but that may be due to TV shows.  The foregoing applies to 21st century usage, but in rural 1960s Texas pizza was a new and exotic food for many of us and the full pizza-pie was used by many in those days. I grew to love those Eye-talian pizza-pies.

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Posted: 18 April 2012 09:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Dr. Techie - 18 April 2012 08:02 AM

Several earlier citings (pun intended) were discussed in this old thread.

Excellent thread. Almost a decade back! Eheu! fugaces labuntur anni, or my! how the time goes by! I’ll give myself a pass for not recalling it but I should have checked the archive first. Doc’s post was timely, I was just about to bring up Dino again!

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Posted: 18 April 2012 03:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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My own experience (which is in the western half of the US), is that “pizza” is the most common term, both when describing the dish and as a unit.  I would say, “let’s get two pizzas”, not “lets get two pizza pies”, “let’s get two pies”, or “let’s get pizza.  How about two pies?”

I occasionally hear “pizza pie”, but this is very rare.  “pie”, as a standalone, I have never heard “in person”, but have seen (once) on tv.

Specifically, I saw a stand-up comic on tv many years ago.  I believe the comedian was a New Yorker, and he talked about an experience in college when his new roommate (who I believe was a Bostonian, or perhaps from New Jersey: it was a long time ago) suggested that the two of them “split a pie” for dinner.  The New Yorker was baffled, imagining that his roommate had a sudden hankering for, say, an apple pie.  He agreed, though, no wanting to get off on the wrong foot.  His new roommate later showed up with a pepperoni pizza, and (of course) he then realized pie meant pizza.

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Posted: 18 April 2012 07:12 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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aldiboronti - 18 April 2012 09:09 AM

Excellent thread. Almost a decade back! Eheu! fugaces labuntur anni, or my! how the time goes by! I’ll give myself a pass for not recalling it but I should have checked the archive first. Doc’s post was timely, I was just about to bring up Dino again!

The geek was mightily well-behaved back then… Where’s SamClem these days? He used to write/edit for StraightDope.

edit: just joined the StraightDope board and he is still a moderator there.

[ Edited: 18 April 2012 07:21 PM by Oecolampadius ]
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Posted: 19 April 2012 05:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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The geek was mightily well-behaved back then

That was my reaction until I got to “Aren’t too many cases where I’d label NYers ‘country hicks’, but this is one of them,” whereupon I realized he was the same old troll.

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Posted: 19 April 2012 11:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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"When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie . . . “ (1952)

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Posted: 19 April 2012 03:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Reverend Lovejoy of the Simpsons used the term, but it was in a homily that contained several anachronisms and served to indicate how out of touch he was.

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Posted: 19 April 2012 11:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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FWIW, I don’t think I’ve ever heard ‘pizza pie’ here in Rightpondia, and we would find it very strange if anyone used the word ‘pie’ to refer to a pizza. For us, a pie is something with either pastry or a mashed potato topping (as in shepherd’s/cottage/fish pie).

We encounter references to ‘pizza pie’ in material of Leftpondian origin of course; speaking for myself, I had always vaguely assumed that in the USA ‘pizza’ was one thing and ‘pizza pie’ was something else - a calzone, perhaps. I had no idea they were synonymous.

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