Fork- eddaboudit: Pizza meant to be eaten with hands

January 21, 2014, 4:52 PM GMT+0

A vast majority of Americans eat pizza with their hands rather than a knife and fork, and flat-crusted New York-style pizza is preferred to deep dish Chicago-style.

Bill de Blasio, the newly elected New York City mayor, received heat last week for eating a piece of pizza with a knife and fork at a Staten Island restaurant. Many New Yorkers eat their New York-style pizza with their hands, (often folded) and take pride in doing so. This is not the first time pizza culture has affected the standing of a public figure. Back in 2011, Donald Trump also unassumingly ate his pizza with a fork and knife and was subsequently featured on a Daily Show segment, and chastised. De Blasio seems to be taking the lighthearted 'Forkgate' controversy in stride, however, as the offending fork he used to eat the pizza is now being auctioned for charity.

Eating with style

According to the latest YouGov research, de Blasio and Trump are very much in the minority: nearly three-quarters (73%) of Americans eat pizza flat in their hands. Another fifth (19%) fold their pizza. But only about one in ten (9%) eat it with a fork and knife, in the style de Blasio attributed to his Italian heritage.

Styles of pizza-eating do differ depending on where you live, however. Over a third of people from the Northeast (37%) fold their pizza, while people from the West (14%) are nearly twice as likely as any other region to eat their pizza with a fork and knife.

Battle of the pizzas

Another pizza controversy is rooted in a rivalry between two different types of pizza that originate from two of the United States' largest cities: the deep-dish 'Chicago-style' pizza and the thin-crusted 'New York-style' pizza.

But American preferences are decisive here, too: fully half of Americans prefer thin-crusted pizzza, while just under one-third prefer a thick crust. But only 19% prefer the deep dish.

And strikingly, though the region is Chicago's home people from the Midwest (56%) are more likely to prefer thin crust pizza than people from other regions. People from the South are more likely to prefer deep dish pizzas (22%) than folks in the Midwest (20%). People from the Northeast, though still partial to thin crust (47%), are the most likely to like thick crust the most (40%). Thin crust pizza is the most popular style of pizza overall (50%) when presented alongside thick crust and deep dish options.

65% of Americans enjoy pizza at least once a month. Northeasterners eat pizza more often than people in any other region, with a majority (51%) eating pizza at least a few times a month. People from the West eat pizza the least often, with nearly half (42%) only eating it once to a few times a year.

Full poll results can be found here.

Image: Getty

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