Connecticut Wants Pizza to Be Its Official State Food, But New Jersey Isn't Having It
And, of course, New York got involved.
The number of states that have selected an official appetizer, bread, cobbler, fruit, pie, or snack food is kind of amazing. Like, Natchitoches meat pie is the State Meat Pie of Louisiana, while gumbo is the State Cuisine. The State Pie of Vermont is apple pie, and legislators stipulated that anyone serving a slice should make a "good faith effort" to include either a glass of milk, a ½ ounce slice of cheddar cheese, or a scoop of vanilla ice cream. And Oklahoma went all the way in, designating a State Meal of chicken-fried steak, barbecued pork, fried okra, squash, cornbread, grits, corn, sausage, biscuits and gravy, black-eyed peas, strawberries, and pecan pie.
Connecticut doesn't have so much as a single state berry listed on its books, but state Rep. Patricia Dillon (D-New Haven) and Sen. Gary Winfield (D-New Haven) have proposed a bill to make pizza the official State Food. Proposed House Bill 5656 would amend an existing state statute to "recognize the contribution of pizza to the state's cuisine and economy."
"For one thing, our pizza is great," Dillon told the Hartford Courant. "For another, when you go to some states, you can get pizza in chain restaurants, but the pizza in Connecticut tends to be family-founding, family-owned, they have their own identity, their own following and they're small businesses that really have a big footprint in their communities."
And Winfield, who is originally from New York, said that he's since learned that his new state's pizza offerings are legit. "When I got to New Haven, I said, 'I think I have to admit that this pizza's really good,'" he told the Courant of the city's pies (sometimes referred to locally as "apizza"). "New Haven in particular is amazing, it really is. [This bill] is really kind of a fun thing. I'm from New York and I live in New Haven. Pizza is a big part of my life."
But some non-Connecticuters aren't exactly convinced that The Constitution State is what comes to mind when people think "Yay, pizza!" The official @NJGov Twitter account simply responded "no" to a news article about the proposed legislation. "New Jersey is the pizza capital of the world. Period," Governor Phil Murphy's social media manager told the New York Post. "It simply doesn't make sense for a state that does not produce the world's best pizza to make pizza their official state food."
But the back-and-forth didn't stop there. "Don't worry, we'll send you a slice," Connecticut Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz responded to @NJGov. "In the meantime, stick to the pork rolls."
"Call it pork roll or Taylor ham—just don't call pizza Connecticut's official state food. Stick to the grinders," New Jersey Lieutenant Governor Sheila Oliver fired back. And then, of course, New York had to get involved, through the keyboard of Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. "As a former [pizza] cook and someone who has visited many pizza joints across New York State - I can confidently declare that New York IS the pizza capital of the world," she wrote.
Surely there's a way to work this out—and if it involves a tri-state pizza competition, we'll volunteer to be a judge.