I tricked you. This gift guide is more of a reading list. You don’t need me to give you a rundown of weird pizza-related crap you can find online (but you can find one here), this is a list of required reading for the pizza obsessive in your life. Get these books at your local independent bookseller or click the links in each description for online orders.
The New York Pizza Project
by Gabe Zimmer, Nick Johnson, Ian Manheimer, Corey Mintz, and Tim Reitzes
What is it? NYPP is a love letter to the classic New York pizzeria. This is a photo book featuring beautiful shots taken and assembled by five longtime friends who grew up eating at corner slice shops and take-out windows around the city. It captures iconic pizzerias currently going extinct thanks to rising rents and the fungal growth of the $1 slice industry.
Who would like it? Lovers of New York style pizza. People who like to remember the good old days.
Where can you get it? Go right to the source and pick up your copy at the New York Pizza Project website for $29.95. BONUS SLICE: take 25% with the promo code SCOTT when you check out!
The Pizza Bible
by Toni Gemignani
What is it? The name is pretty clear, this is a holy book. Tony G is an 11-time world champion pizza maker whose restaurant Tony’s Pizza Napoletana (San Francisco) offers several different pizza styles from several different ovens. His book lets you take everything he’s learned and apply it to your home kitchen. You’ll get tips and tricks and explanations about everything. It’s exhaustive.
Who would like it? Home pizza makers or people interested in making pizza at home, but afraid they will never achieve the quality of their favorite pizzeria. They will achieve greatness with this book.
by Colin Atrophy Hagendorf
What is it? Colin was pretty directionless until he made what he thought was an empty promise to visit every pizzeria in Manhattan. Then a friend called him out on it and a two year quest began. Along with a rotating cast of punk friends, romantic interests, and even a celebrity or two, he accomplished his goal. This is his memoir about the process.
Who would like it? Your high school aged nephew who doesn’t wake up until noon on the weekends but likes to read smarter books than any of his friends.
Where can you get it? At first I was disappointed that Colin’s website didn’t point me to a gritty used bookstore but he did something even better and didn’t list the book at all. I’ll send you to Indie Bound.
Pizza: A Slice of American History
by Liz Barrett
What is it? Over the course of the 20th century, pizza transformed from frightening ethnic food into classic Americana. This book approaches pizza from a pop culture perspective and presents information about pizza’s rise in a fun and digestible (pun intended) way. Tons of photos and pizza recipes re included.
Who would like it? Anyone who likes pizza and would like a single book to teach them more about it on a cultural level. Just as good for kids as it is for adults, thanks to all the great photos and ease of reading.
Passion for Pizza: A Journey Through Thick and Thin to Find the Pizza Elite
by Craig Whitson, Tore Gjesteland, Mats Widen, Kenneth Hansen
What is it? This book is absolutely gorgeous. The layout makes it easy to follow and the photos are perfect. It’s a collection of interviews, stories, and profiles of pizza pros from around the globe. You’ll read about pizza makers, flour millers, tomato producers, and even a pizza tour guide or two. There’s also a great section about pizza baking, from the equipment to the technique to recipes.
Who would like it? This is a more mature book than some of the others, perfect for the advanced pizza appreciator who is more concerned with pizza passion than history.
Inventing the Pizzeria
by Antonio Mattozzi
What is it? The world of pizza is bursting with tall tales and mythology that has unfortunately infiltrated the realm of common knowledge. This book gives the real scoop on the origins of pizza, pizzerias, and pizzaioli in the dish’s birthplace of Naples, Italy. Antonio Mattozzi, part of a long line of Neapolitan pizzaioli, has conducted meticulous research at the archives of Naples and presents the information in a graduate-level volume. This is not a long book but each page is dense with information and footnotes. The book was edited and translated by Zachary Nowak, a doctoral candidate at Harvard University who penned an incredible paper about the origin story of the Pizza Margherita. This is easily the most well-researched book about the origin of pizza in Naples and I’m currently obsessed with it.
Who would like it? Serious pizza scholars. This book is not about pizza, it’s about the people who made it and the places in which they did so. It’s really intense and not for the casual pizza eater, but for me it is the ultimate resource for early pizza development in Southern Italy.