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  • Writer's pictureMatt Swieton

Slinger's Ball: A Pizza Blog

Updated: Aug 28, 2022

I was born and raised in Connecticut. This may have been the reason for why I think Connecticut has the best pizza in the world but I’m also not the only person that has this belief. In fact, lots of other people from around the world have acknowledged New Haven style as the best.

On the other hand, pizza is an artwork that is enjoyed subjectively–not unlike any other form of art. This means that even New Haven style is confronted with its criticisms: Charring versus burning, it seems like the verb you use is the best indication of your position in regard to New Haven style-cook.

I’m an archaeologist by training–having earned my Masters in the UK and started a PhD in New Zealand. From a pizza perspective, both life experiences were atrocious; being away from the pizza I had grown up with was deteriorating the fibers of my being. (Turning down the drama now.)

I reached a point where feeling sad and sorry for not having pizza became intolerable; it eventually came time to learn how to make the slice I was dreaming about! I started making pizza in New Zealand out of repetition. The rejects were eaten in their entirety and I would literally internalize my pizza mistakes.

BBQ Chicken pizza
Sometimes I think these things should be on display at the MoMA.

It’s been nearly five years since I started this beautiful pizza making journey. Since starting this endeavor I have worked in two pizzerias in Central Connecticut and continued documenting elements of the process over time.

In 2021 I was working for my pizza-mentor, Nick Romano, when he approached me with a unique offer: He wanted me to be his head pizzaiolo and he wanted to me to redesign his specialty pie menu. I don’t regret not taking him up on this opportunity but shortly afterward he passed away.

Pizza man
Nick's username on the forums was gabaghoul. RIP, you gabaghoul! We miss you!

The specialty pizzas featured in my new pizza book, The Pizza Book You Can’t Bring Home to Mama, is dedicated to Nick Romano. It’s also dedicated to all of the folks in my life that I have wronged. Many of the specialty pies in the book were designed with Nick’s offer in mind, these are pies I wanted to make for him and the patrons of the restaurant. I think he would’ve loved this book! (I also have strong suspicions about where he’d disagree!)

Pizza is one of many keys that we can use to unlock each others biases, get past our differences, to talk about something that is as artistic and scientific as it delicious and spiritual. I love pizza. In fact, pizza as an idea is so powerful to me that it has made me question what love is. Exploring pizza, practically and intellectually, has forced me to learn about myself; forced me to be honest with myself; and has shown me the value in sharing with and loving those around me.

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