CT House declares pizza the 'state food'

Photo of Ken Dixon

In a few minutes of legislative fun during the lingering pandemic, the state House of Representatives on Wednesday approved a bill that would proclaim pizza the “State Food.”

The appetizing legislation would place the popular lunch or dinner — or cold breakfast — in the State Register & Manual along side the State Bird (American Robin), the State Mammal (sperm whale), the State Insect (Praying Mantis), the State Hero (Nathan Hale) and the State Heroine (Prudence Crandall).

“In light of the difficult year the state has suffered and experienced, this bill can hopefully bring some levity to all of our lives and residents of this great state where pizza has played such a great role,” said Rep. Dan Fox, D-Stamford, co-chairman of the Government Administration & Elections Committee. After introducing the bill, Fox touted his local pizzerias, including the landmark Colony and Nino’s Pizza in Darien.

“Pizza serves as a source of pride, appreciation and can be a source of economic promotion,” Fox said, stressing their plethora of independently owned pizzerias throughout the state. “It has brought us many good times and good food.”

After a brief 15-minute debate, in which Rep. Tim Ackert, R-Coventry briefly suggested another state favorite, from the briny deep, is a high-profile treat in southeastern Connecticut.

“Not that I’m a fan of pizza, I think that as a matter of fact, lobster roll was actually brought, that it was made, it was actually invented, so to say, if you want to call invented in Connecticut,” Ackert said. “I thought Coventry was going to be the pizza capital of Connecticut, because we’ve got five pizza joints in the tiny town of Coventry.

“Let’s not fool ourselves here, New Haven is the capital of pizza,” said Rep. Kurt Vail, R-Stafford. “New Haven is the pizza capital of the world, and thus I think this is a good bill.”

Veteran state Rep. Pat Dillon, from New Haven, the cradle of the state’s pizza civilization celebrated on Wooster Street, said she and state Sen. Gary Winfield filed the legislation to highlight the food in what has been a tough COVID pandemic.

“You cannot go wrong with Connecticut pizza,” she said. “To be honest I was partly interested because we have had such a difficult year and sometimes we take the good things for granted. Connecticut’s good at pizza. You cannot go wrong with Connecticut pizza and this celebrates not just the food, but people who can create joy by making things with their hands, and also a food that generally, I think, you should not eat alone. It’s something that celebrates community. We can eat pizza in good times and in sad times.”

Other lawmakers gushed over their pizzerias in Milford, Ellington, New Canaan, Norwalk, and even upstate Willington, Ashford and Tolland.

“I see we need a field trip to try all the great pizzas we have in this state,” said the culinary embracing state Rep. Michelle Cook, D-Torrington, who was acting as House speaker for the debate. “And the speaker has never had a slice of cold pizza, for the record.”

The bill passed 131-9 and was immediately transmitted to the Senate for action as early as Wednesday night, possible after a dinner of take-out pizza.

kdixon@ctpost.com Twitter: @KenDixonCT