None Pizza with Left Beef

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None Pizza with Left Beef was a pizza delivery experiment by Steven Molaro in October 2007. After testing the accuracy of Domino's' then-new online ordering system, the humorous results were posted on his blog, The Sneeze, after which it evolved into an internet meme.

Background

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Molaro's order and the pizza received

On October 18, 2007, Steven Molaro was experimenting with Domino's' pizza-ordering website, specifically testing the accuracy of ordering pizza toppings on the "left" versus "right", as seen when opening the box.[1] Using the site's radio buttons, he ordered two pizzas.[2]

The first, with pepperoni on the left and mushrooms on the right, arrived correctly partitioned, though reversed from the specific left–right orientation he had ordered. The second was a six-inch (150 mm) pizza[1] with no sauce, no cheese, and beef only on the left side of the pizza; while correctly absent of the typical base elements, Molaro said, "the whole pizza was so small and light it must have shifted during delivery. And the little beef pellets didn't have any sauce or cheese to hang on to, so a few lost their footing from the left half."[2]

Molaro described the second pizza itself as "tasteless bread with salty meat pellets",[3] though his wife did eat it,[4] an act he supposed testified to some level of quality and edibleness.[3] On October 19, he published a comedic post about the experiment on his blog, The Sneeze, where he named his beefy flatbread, "NONE Pizza with Left Beef".[1]

In trying to explain his rationale many years later, Molaro compared it to "when kids get a toy, they play with it for awhile and then start messing around with it in other weird ways." Ordering pizza online was a novel experience, and he sought to push the limits of what it would allow.[5]

Analysis

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Molaro's post, "The Great Pizza Orientation Test", rapidly became very popular. Most readers enjoyed his post, but Molaro later recalled pedantic negative feedback about the relativity of pizzas' halves—something he even addressed in the original post.[3]

On the ten-year anniversary of Molaro's original post, Gizmodo reflected on how None Pizza with Left Beef was a vanguard for many humorous restaurant orders to come, and its evolution into an internet meme: continuing to resonate within internet culture, commerce, and beyond after ten years with a photo "that won our hearts—even if it wasn’t exactly delivered to spec."[2] It was the source of the later "special delivery" meme, where online orders "were forcing the likes of Domino's and Pizza Hut to draw pictures inside the box, cut pizzas like pentagrams, and hopefully bring consumers and pizza parlor employees that much closer."[3]

One of Molaro's original impetuses for ordering the pizzas was the appeal of foregoing interaction with the human Domino's order-taker. New York took the ten-year anniversary as an opportunity to lightheartedly reflect on human–automation interaction, as well as the legacy of None Pizza with Left Beef; the magazine argued that the lack of a human intermediary is required for placing such humorous and viral food orders: when ordering a McDonald's cheeseburger, whether removing all ingredients except the cheese, or paying GB£0.99 (respectively equivalent to £1.32 in 2023 and US$1.69 in 2023) after eschewing literally all the ingredients, these experiments in compliance would not be successful with a restaurant employee.[4]

Tamsyn Muir's Locked Tomb series of novels are suffused with references to internet memes, including None Pizza with Left Beef. When asked about the reference by Vox in 2021, the Catholic Muir defended the contemporary references by comparing herself to authors who commonly reference classic works like the Iliad: "It's not because I set about to make the book particularly memey, it's just because I've got a shit sense of humor. I think of John 3:16 the same way I think about none pizza with left beef."[6]

In a 2021 Esquire article about pizza toppings and terminology, the magazine called None Pizza with Left Beef "a corporate (yet hilarious!) monstrosity".[7] In April 2022, Domino's Tweeted the company's first acknowledgement of the meme: "If you remember None Pizza Left Beef [sic], it's time for an eye cream."[5]

By the 15th anniversary in 2022, choosing to remove pizza sauce or cheese from an online Domino's order would prompt a warning for the user. The original meme had since been immortalized as a custom emoji, embroidery, jewelry, stickers, and t-shirts. Molaro himself was unsure why it still resonated with people, but related how—for some commenters—it harkens back to an ostensibly-better time on the internet. When he ordered a duplicate pizza for the 15th anniversary occasion, it came looking much like it did in 2007, including the misalignment of the beef.[5]

References

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  1. ^ a b c Molaro, Steven (October 19, 2007). "The Great Pizza Orientation Test". The Sneeze. Archived from the original on October 20, 2023. Retrieved October 20, 2023.
  2. ^ a b c Mandelbaum, Ryan F. (October 19, 2017). "Reflections on the 10th Anniversary of None Pizza With Left Beef". Gizmodo. Archived from the original on June 4, 2023. Retrieved October 20, 2023.
  3. ^ a b c d Siese, April (May 25, 2021) [2016-10-31]. "The eternal legacy of 'none pizza with left beef'". The Daily Dot. Archived from the original on March 25, 2023. Retrieved October 21, 2023. Domino's orders will never be the same.
  4. ^ a b Feldman, Brian (October 19, 2017). "'None Pizza With Left Beef,' 10 Years Later". New York. ISSN 0028-7369. Archived from the original on October 20, 2023. Retrieved October 21, 2023.
  5. ^ a b c Klee, Miles (October 23, 2023). "15 Years Later, the Creator of the 'None Pizza With Left Beef' Meme Goes Back for Seconds". Rolling Stone. ISSN 0035-791X. Archived from the original on September 23, 2023. Retrieved October 21, 2023. Steve Molaro, the TV producer who designed the meme-worthy order from Domino's in 2007, never even got a bite of the original pie
  6. ^ Grady, Constance (February 5, 2021). "How Gideon the Ninth author Tamsyn Muir queers the space opera". Vox. Archived from the original on June 3, 2023. Retrieved October 20, 2023. Locked Tomb author Tamsyn Muir to angry girls who read her books: 'It's for you. Go nuts.'
  7. ^ Sintumuang, Kevin (September 8, 2021). "So What Do You Call a Pizza With No Toppings?". Esquire. ISSN 0194-9535. OCLC 824603960. Archived from the original on March 24, 2023. Retrieved October 20, 2023. Plain? Cheese? Plain cheese? Regular? We asked the experts.

Further reading

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