Throughout history, celebrated philosophers have never been fainthearted to ask thorny questions. Metaphysical pondering has long been sustenance for discourse and growth, such as: “To be or not to be?” or “If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?” Even deeper perplexing puzzlements include: “Should a vegetarian eat animal crackers?” or “If wool shrinks when it gets wet, why don’t sheep shrink in the rain?”
Amid all this existential funk I ran across something totally confounding.
Sir Patrick Stewart, aka Captain Jean-Luc Piccard, tweeted, “Have you actually eaten pizza if you don’t eat the crust?” It turned the Twitter world upside down and shook every university philosophy program to its core.
Now, this was surely a thought provoking question forcing a person to think deeply. It’s one that actually becomes more difficult to answer the more you think about it. That question, in a nutshell, embodies our eternal quest for the truth.
My mind spiraled out of control, more philosophical pizza questions arose. Were they also unknowable? Was this like a koan that monks in Zen Buddhism use to bring enlightenment. Like a paradoxical koan, was logical thinking inadequate to answer these questions?
- Why is one slice never enough?
- Why does pizza taste better at 1a.m.?
- When ordering pizza what is the best deal?
- Slices or Whole pies?
I had to get a grip so I went for a calming walk when another conundrum arose to disturb my serenity. Another head scratcher:
- Why can’t people be honest beforehand at pizza parties so we don’t run out?
That situation is always an emotionally charged quagmire. If you know you can eat half a pizza don’t tell me you’re not hungry and that you “may eat only one slice.”
My mind, cluttered with all these entanglements, forced me to reflect. It was not like I could call Socrates. I would simply (though not so easily with eternal questions) seek enlightenment by contemplating one question at a time. How could I help the most?
I decided my first quest would be to seek the truth for a baffling question that affects so many people, namely: How many pizzas to buy for a pizza party? Wanting to take a holistic approach, I would also seek the path to hosting the perfect pizza party. Well, my journey had its ebbs and flows, its trials and errors. But I did reach the promised land and I hope you will benefit from my arduous pilgrimage and never run out of pizza at your pizza party. And I hope that your guests will realize that they have never attended such a well hosted pizza party before.
And, no, I will not leave you adrift. In the future I will ceaselessly seek answers to the other mysteries.
I trust that I am on firm ground when I say that you can’t go wrong by choosing a pizza party whether you are hosting a kid’s birthday party, a graduation celebration, or an informal get together with friends. The tips contained here will help you throw the perfect party.
What about a Pizza Bar
Now that you have an idea about how many pizzas you should order, don’t stress over toppings. I have found great success by ordering all plain cheese pies and then offering my guests a variety of toppings so they can create their own classic slices. Have a toaster oven at the end of the pizza bar table so your guests can heat up their slices if they choose. Some topping selections might include:
- Green, Yellow or Red pepper slices
- Feta Cheese
- Goat Cheese
- Garlic Slices
- Sliced Tomatoes
The Pizza Bar is obviously more work on the front end for you. But I still don’t want you stressing over toppings. When serving a crowd you can keep in mind that lots of different people like lots of different things and a selection of various pies with diverse toppings will probably hit the spot for everyone in the crowd.
If you want the warmest, freshest pizza ask if your pizza provider offers delivery and then coordinate with them to have the pizzas delivered right when guests will start eating. If that is not an option then consider using a delivery app such as uber eats or doordash.
Of course you can pick them up yourself, but bring along several thick blankets to keep the pizza temperatures at their max during the drive. And then, of course, you’ll need to leave the party at some point, which isn’t always ideal.
Also, some pizza vendors offer a take and bake option. This is a freshly made pizza that you pop in the oven at home. While this is always the freshest and hottest option, this might not be practical due to insufficient oven capacity if you are having a large party.
I found that contacting your pizza place 24 hours in advance guarantees timely production and eliminates delays.
So everything is ready to go. Your pizzas are hot and your guests are ready to eat. How do you keep them warm?
If you choose to have pizzas with toppings then label or tent cards for each type of pizza. Pizzas will stay warmer if their boxes aren’t opened too often. If a box is labeled “Pepperoni” guests that don’t want pepperoni pizza won’t be peeking inside.
Stack similar types of pizza. If you order for example 4 sausage, 4 pepperoni, and 4 cheese pizzas, stack the pizza boxes so that only one box of each kind at the top is opened. This will keep the pizza warmer because the boxes will help each other retain heat.
Have a pizza slicer and serving tongs on hand. Sometimes pizza slices don’t separate as nicely as they should. With a pizza slicer on standby, a guest can quickly get their slice out of the box without creating a mess or absconding with the cheese from someone else’s slice. Tongs help to pick up their slices without needing to touch the rest of the pizza.
To give your guests more of a pizzeria feeling, you might also want to include some additional pizza toppings (Pizza Bar or No Pizza Bar). All are optional, but you may want to think about:
- Red pepper flakes – a little bit of dry heat works every time
- Dried Oregano – all about proportion. Shake some in your hand and sprinkle
- Black Pepper – but only freshly ground
- Parmesan Cheese – everyone loves extra cheese
- Garlic Salt – a little sprinkle can never hurt
One More Party Consideration – Drinks
Anything you want. For a pizza party you should have some options: beer, a juicy light-bodied red wine, soda, seltzer. But if you want the Pièce de Résistance, then you need Lambrusco – fizzy, sweet and light-bodied, Red with bubbles. If you take one thing from this article, let it be to drink Lambrusco with your next pie.
There you have it. It was hard work, but the journey continues. As you will see next time, the journey is full of surprises.