Pizza Inversion - a Pattern for Efficient Resource Consumption

by Brad Appleton <>
last modified 9/9/97


Object Consumption


Pizza Inversion

Also Known As

Pizza Sandwich


Quickly eat multiple slices of hot pizza without burning the roof of your mouth, and without waiting for the pizza to cool down.


Frequently one needs to quickly eat one or more hot slices of round pizza. This may be due to urgent scheduling concerns or simply to try and consume the greatest amount of pizza in the shortest period of time. The tomato sauce tends to be very hot, however, and the cheese on top of it adds to the problem by forming an insulating layer which keeps the heat in. To make matters worse, cheese contains non-negligible levels of fat and, when melting, forms little pockets of grease which can reach tongue-frying temperatures (a situation which is aggravated by fatty toppings like ground beef, italian sausage, and pepperoni).

When trying to eat pizza quickly, the grease on the cheese and the hot tomato sauce underneath can severely burn the roof of one's mouth. This is not only painful, but can often damage the taste buds in this sensitive region of the mouth, rendering them useless for a short duration (which may sometimes be useful if the pizza tastes awful, but you have to eat it anyway to avoid insulting your host).

Waiting for the pizza to cool down is deemed to be too time consuming. The resultant increase in the scheduling latency between when the pizza arrives and when it has cooled enough for human consumption imposes an unacceptable performance penalty. Even if one did wait for the pizza to cool, simply devouring it in a mad rush is likely to cause a large and unsightly mess which might extend to others within close proximity. The mere mention of such a breach of etiquette might make Miss Manners cringe.

It is desirable to find a method for eating the pizza quickly without burning one's mouth, and without making a cheesy-saucy mess all over one's clothes. At the same time, one still wishes to be able to experience the full taste and smell of the pizza consuming experience.


Use Pizza Inversion in a casual environment when you have multiple slices of hot, tasty pizza and you want to consume them in a hurry without burning your mouth, staining your clothes, or waiting for the pizza to cool.


Take two pieces of pizza of roughly the same size and invert one of the pieces on top of the other piece so that the cheese-sides meet in the middle with the crust-sides becoming the top and bottom.

[ pizza-inversion object diagram ]


Pizza, Cheese, Crust, Hands, Mouth, Digestive Tract, Abdomen


The cheese layers of the two slices are physically co-located together to provide an effective layer of insulation from the hot cheese. In this "sandwich" structure, the two pieces are then consumed by taking a normal bite. The bitten pieces are then chewed, swallowed and digested.



If you have two slices of pizza, flip one piece on top of the other, or (if they are already attached) you can fold them together sideways and then invert the result. This latter technique works really well when the pizza crust is soft or flimsy and/or when a lot of toppings are involved. The technique is most effective using triangular shaped pieces from a round pizza. It also works with square pieces, but if they are very thick, the resulting Pizza Dagwood may prove difficult for one's oral aperture to assimilate. It is not known if this pattern works with predominantly dissimilar-shaped pizza slices.


Singleton slice:

If you have a single slice of pizza you can envision an imaginary line lengthwise down the center of the slice that divides it into two symmetrical halves. Fold one half of the slice over (and on top of) the other half.

Another variation that works with a single slice (assuming you have a round pizza) is to fold the pointed end of the slice of towards the crust. You don't get full slice coverage this way but some have expressed a preference for this particular implementation.

Note that one needs to be extra careful when using only a single slice and/or when the pizza has extra cheese because then excess cheese can easily ooze out the side and burn your mouth. In this case, press the pieces (or halves) together before consuming to squeeze out the extra cheese and detach any oozing portions before inserting into mouth.


A number of adjacent and attached slices may be folded over onto an equivalent number of adjacent slices. Hence one could fold two pieces onto two pieces, and so on. For "individual size" pizzas, simply fold the entire half of the pizza over onto the other half (it helps to inhale deeply before snarfing it down).


This works particularly well for collaborations involving large numbers of consuming objects. Rather than trying to satisfy everyone's favorite combination of toppings, simply get relatively few toppings on each pizza and let each consumer use two slices with different toppings to create the epicurean flavor combination of their choice.

Sample Code

[ a Smalltalk example seems apt here - or perhaps some Java (to help wash down the pizza :-) ]

Known Uses

The historical origins which influenced this variant of pizza consumption may be traced back to the "Pita" and the Earl of Sandwich.

Related Patterns