The Edgar Allan Poe pizza

Fewer people read these days, but that doesn’t stop businesses from trading on authors’ names. Last week I mentioned Thomasville’s Ernest Hemingway Furniture Collection and the Algonquin Hotel’s homage to Dorothy Parker: a $10,000 martini.

News of the Hemingway-inspired chairs and loveseats (“the writer’s legendary passion for diversity, detail and craftmanship infuse every facet of the collection”) elicited this hilarious response from Molly McDonald.

In response to your posting regarding the Ernest Hemingway Collection and its curious disconnect with anything literary:

I recently secured employment waiting tables at a small Midwestern pizza chain, where, in addition to using my degree in English and Creative Writing in a meaningful way, I am Taking Pizza to the Next Level. (Occasionally, I find that I am driven to take Sarcasm to the Next Level, as well. And Mock-Sincerity. And Snarkiness. But that is besides the point; when pressed, you can take just about anything to the Next Level. Last weekend, for instance, after taking Whiskey to the Next Level, I gather from family members that I took Dancing to the Next Level.)

But I digress. One of the specialty pizzas on the menu, nestled between the “X-Pepperoni” and the “Wild Mushroom,” is rather inexplicably called the “Edgar Allan Poe.” It is topped with a tasty combination of roasted garlic, kalamata olives, mushrooms, and goat cheese, but no one has yet given me a satisfactory explanation as to the reasoning behind the name, nor any understanding as to why a singular literary allusion, lacking any context, is burdening an otherwise standard and predictable menu — particularly since the customers often mistakenly refer to it as the “Woody Allen” or the “Ethan Allen.” If you ask me, to avoid such confusion, a pizza named the Edgar Allan Poe should be topped with opium and 14-year-old cousin-brides.

At any rate, it is a puzzle that I enjoy whittling away at while boxing up pieces of doughy crust for carb-shy dieters to “take home to their dogs,” or while rushing to fetch more soda for already hyperactive children. I have yet to arrive at a solid thesis, but right now I am leaning towards a correlation between the vast, pale, pockmarked expanse of Poe’s forehead and the color and texture of goat cheese.

We at eagerly await more tales of unfortunate literary homages. Please email them to maud [at]


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