pizzaA friend once told me that if a zombie apocalypse were to occur and he could only eat one thing for the rest of his life, pizza would be his choice. His logic was that the average pizza includes all the major food groups: the crust is carb-heavy bread, the tomato sauce and toppings are nutritious veggies, and if the pizza has Canadian bacon, sausage, or pepperoni, well then protein is covered as well. Very logical.

My takeaway from this ridiculous drunken rant was the fervent adoration we all have for the great pizza pie. Sure, pizza is the comfort food of my post-apocalyptic friend, but it’s also a meal defined by versatility and synonymous with both dingy college dining and gourmet opulence.

When Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael and Michelangelo shared a pizza after doing battle with the Shredder, it became apparent to me at a young age that pizza is a meal for heroes. If only the Italian pioneers of this endearing creation could know how many American hearts jump at the site of the blessed pizza box and the waft of melted cheese and pepperoni on a fresh baked crust.

For anyone who has ever delivered pizza, the experience is sheer joy. This must be what delivering flowers on Valentine’s Day is like, except an excellent pizza tastes better than flowers. Pizza delivery drivers are like epic transient warriors with precious cargo and a divine mission to carry out, there it is.

But perhaps what’s most defining of the beloved pizza is that a good tomato pie is meant to be shared. Friendship is indeed a warm slice, even if all your buddy does is rant about the end of the world.