OPINION: At the front of the tri-state pizza wars

OPINION: At the front of the tri-state pizza wars



Tired of politics? Fed up with hearing about red vs. blue and the former president and the impeachment trial and all that stuff?

Well, let’s take a break and talk about the Pizza War. No, not the one between Domino’s and Pizza Hut; this one is much more important. I’m talking about the Great Tri-State Pizza War that’s being waged right now by Connecticut, New Jersey and New York. True, only in New Jersey has the governor actually declared war, and New York has been uncharacteristically quiet. But, off the front pages, hostilities are underway.

On one front, Connecticut fired the first shot, you could say, when Rep. Patricia Dillon and Sen. Gary Winfield, both Democrats representing New Haven in the General Assembly, introduced HB 5656, which would make pizza the official food of this state, presumably to take its place in the State Register and Manual along with the praying mantis (the state bug); the Eastern oyster (the state shellfish); the state tartan (yes, we have one, with a thin white stripe representing snow); a dinosaur called eubrontes (the state fossil); Charles Ives (the state composer); Prudence Crandall (the state heroine); and a bunch of other official things.

On the broader front, though — which is TV — our state is not doing all that well. And you know your cause is in trouble when those effete snobs and nattering nabobs of negativism in the media get involved. Enter Stephen Colbert, host of “The Late Show,” who poked fun at the bill and the state with a smart-alecky remark that pizza “would replace the current state food, which is anything on the country club menu that you can eat through clenched teeth.”

To make matters worse, as reported by Hearst Connecticut Media, he asked if we were “trying to steal pizza” as our official food because we have “one town that makes good pizza.”

Even legendary journalist Dan Rather questioned the proposed bill, opining that we would come in third in this conflict.

Not to take these insults lying down, 3rd District U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-New Haven) came back on Twitter with this: “Hold my drink. I need to bring @DanRather the best pizza on earth.”

So far, however, Gov. Ned Lamont (D-Gold Coast) has been reticent on this matter.

And — speaking of the Gold Coast — what is particularly annoying about Colbert’s comment is that he buys into a stereotype of this state that’s all too trite: that we all went to prep school, wear boat shoes, live in mansions with a view of Long Island Sound, own horses, and sit around our swimming pools all day sipping white wine. Maybe that’s true in Cos Cob and Darien, but not in places like Meriden, New Britain and Hartford, places I’d say constitute the real Connecticut. 

Which is to say “Connecticut” isn’t just a place to which you “drive out to the country” if you’re in New York and you’re Bette Davis in “All About Eve.” That was back in 1950.

Sure, I used to know someone who could see the Twin Towers in New York from her front lawn in Westport, but that was back when there were still the Twin Towers.

Anyway, now you’ve had five minutes of not thinking about politics. You’re welcome.

Reach Glenn Richter at grichter@record-journal.com.


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