How to Eat a Slice, aka 'The Fold Hold'

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If your tip sags like a face without botox or your crust skews soggy or you've just gotta gulp down your meal as fast as possible, don't worry. We New Yorkers have our own special way of holding a slice. It's a technique that a former colleague of mine dubbed The Fold Hold.

At its most basic, it's as simple as folding your slice in half lengthwise. You can see the results of this technique above. Not only does this method double the amount of pizza you can eat with one bite, it helps avoid the mess associated with an overloaded slice. The Fold Hold traps loose toppings, gooey cheese, and oozing sauce within the confines of the crust. It also obviates the need for a knife and fork. In New York City, utensils are a big no-no; pizza is a handfood here.

The fold shown here, known at Slice HQ as the "Full Fold," will work for almost any slice you encounter but is best with the run-of-the-mill lukewarm cheese-blanketed slices available at 90 percent of the city's pizzerias.

Until Slice researchers began studying the issue, pizza theorists believed there was only one way to implement the Fold Hold. This is not the case. There are at least three folds that we have identified; which one you use depends on the type of pizza you're eating.

Though the Full Fold works on most slices, it does have its drawbacks. It can do more harm than good, as in the case of an oversauced slice, which can end up spilling its tomatoey guts under the increased pressure of fold and bite. Sometimes the Full Fold does the slice itself injustice—especially with the city's best pies—denying you the immediate taste and texture of creamy cheese and tangy sauce in favor of a double helping of crust. In these situations and others, you'll want to employ fold variations.

The Half Fold

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The variation you'll likely use most is the one shown above. It allows you to fold the slice but still get a properly balanced bite.

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Simply grasp the outer edges of the slice's end crust (aka the cornicione) between your thumb and forefinger, and apply pressure. Use your middle finger to support the tip of the resulting V shape that the end crust takes on. If executed properly, this method creates an arc at the back of the slice and a pointy, flat tip that runs parallel to the plate below.

A Fold So Rare We Don't Have a Photo of It

There is a third fold that we have identified but is sadly all too rare. It is a fold only possible with some of New York's most delicate, crisp-crust pies. This fold requires only two fingers on either side of the end crust. No need to support the bottom of the V or U with a third, as the slice's crispness takes care of the rest. Just apply a little pressure with thumb and forefinger or middle finger until the crust bows concavely from end crust to tip. We're not architects or engineers, but we think this gentle arc works on the same principle that arches do, where the inherent strength of the arch itself holds up the rest of the slice.

Bonus: The Fold Hold Drains Off Grease

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Each of these techniques lends a slice artificial rigidity, but there is one more benefit: They create a channel that allows for the controlled evacuation of grease (yes, New York pies and slices are often greasy; visitors with high cholesterol or heart conditions should probably avoid our tasty fare). You can increase the trickle of grease by lightly touching the tip of the slice to the paper plate or cardboard box, the absorbency of either serves as a wick. When younger, our friend who coined the term Fold Hold used to draw smiley faces with the grease. At your age, we don't recommend this.

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