The Great Pizza Debate

If you eat pizza with a knife and fork, you’re doing it wrong.


moorea atkins

which way is the best way to eat pizza?

I was lucky enough to go to England a couple years ago to visit some family. While I was there, I witnessed a horrible sight: my cousins ate pizza with a knife and fork. 

I remember that night my aunt decided to order pizza in order to give my brother and I a sense of familiarity, something we had not had after being in England for a week. Pizza is not nearly as popular as it is in America, so we decided to have some good old American junk food. 

My cousins sat down to eat and very carefully cut up their slices of pizza in nice little bite size squares. My brother and I on the other hand, used our hands to devour our slices and reached for a second when our cousins weren’t even halfway done with their first. 

We must have looked like savage animals. Our cousins watched us eat with horrified eyes, what had we become? We were so quiet and well behaved before, but now our American culture and tendencies were coming out in a way they’d never seen before. 

We finished our dinner in silence, my brother and I happy and content, and my aunt and cousins terrified. With hushed tones my mom and aunt discussed something serious, my aunt looking determined and angry, and my mom annoyed. My mom asked to take it into the next room. 

I would later find out that my aunt was absolutely horrified that my brother and I didn’t eat with a knife and fork. She tore into my mom, telling her that she was not raising good English children who eat like that. My mom rolled her eyes and replied: “My kids aren’t British. They’re American.” 

Whoever thought pizza could cause such a strong debate? In England, it’s perfectly normal to eat pizza with a knife and fork. Here in America it’s a weird thing to do. In fact, we don’t use both a knife and fork to eat most foods. 

But pizza though, it just doesn’t make sense! Pizza is supposed to be eaten fast! You have to use your hands to get the full experience. Sure, you look crazy while you eat it. Isn’t that the point? Here in America you’re allowed to eat like a madman. 

I’m not sure I’ll ever understand why my cousins eat pizza with a knife and fork, and vice versa. I do know this: just because they’re different from me doesn’t mean they’re wrong or weird. 

Manners are important, I’ll admit. Even though I’m American and Americans do tend to be rude sometimes, manners have their place in society. Saying hello to others, shaking hands (but not during coronavirus), and eating with a knife and fork every once in a while do give others a good impression. Since they’re products of tradition and culture, the British in general are overall very behaved people to be around. Maybe us Americans could learn a thing or two from them.

Even though it was almost six years ago, I still think about the Great Pizza Debate often. My mom and I still laugh about how upset my aunt was about the importance of eating with a knife and fork.  I love my family in England, don’t get me wrong, but eating pizza with a knife and fork? That’s just not right.