If you were asked to connect foods or drinks with Star Trek, there are plenty of munch-worthy, thirst-quenching options available. You might opt for coffee, found in nebulas and on promenades across the galaxy. It could be Neelix’s Pendrashian cheese, it could be Deanna Troi’s chocolate sundae. It could even be Scotty’s favorite whiskey, but you could be forgiven for not choosing one of the most delicious and satisfying foods of them all… pizza.
You might not be aware that today is National Pizza Day. On 21st-century earth, pizza is a food eaten and celebrated around the world, at home, in restaurants and national chains, from street vendors by the slice or whole. And much like with the factions of Star Trek, it can cause division. Just as the Klingons battled the Romulans and the Borg attempted to assimilate the Federation, so pizza lovers argue over the merits of deep dish versus thin crust, whether calzone and stromboli are really pizzas, or if pineapple has any business being anywhere near a pizza (writer’s note: Yes, it does; editor’s note: No, it does not).
All very interesting, but we’re not here to ponder the merits of a dish that’s been around since the 10th century in Naples, Italy, when a simple flatbread lathered with sauce and topped with cheese was first cooked up. We’re here to talk Star Trek. Thirteen percent of the American population eat pizza on any given day, and a look through the history of pizza and Trek shows that the galaxy of the future is quite possibly eating a similar amount.
When Admiral Kirk, Spock and the displaced Enterprise crew of the H.M.S Bounty traveled to 1986 on a desperate mission to take two humpback whales back to 2286 in order to save life as we know it, Kirk ate a pizza with mushroom, pepperoni and extra onions pizza, the same as his 20th-century guide, Cetacean biologist Gillian Taylor. And while sitting in an Italian restaurant in San Francisco, no less. Perhaps Dr. Taylor brought her love of pizza to the 23rd century when she leaped forward in time with Kirk? She might have had 300 years to catch up on, but her presence in the future could have changed the culinary course of the universe. Stranger things have happened….
Maybe that restaurant was Fiorella’s, an Italian restaurant on Fountain Street in San Francisco, where U.S.S. Enterprise NX-01 crew member Hoshi Sato would often visit to eat? Good to know that the earth of the 22nd century will still be eating freshly baked pizza and Italian food in high enough quantities to warrant a restaurant that bakes, prepares and cooks food by hand instead of solely using a replicator.
By the 2360’s and the era of Star Trek: The Next Generation, pizza had truly gone galactic. The episode “Man of the People” told us that on the planet Rekag-Seronia, in the coastal city of Darthen, there was a Federation consulate with a pizza parlor, meaning we now have pizza in the 23rd and 24th century. The Federation outpost Deep Space 9 filled its promenade with Klingon restaurants and Ferengi bars, so it’s clear to see that earth delicacies like pizza were treated with equal respect.
Who can forget Weyoun 6 sampling pizza... with chopsticks, in "Treachery, Faith and the Great River"? With pizza being infinitely versatile in terms of what toppings are laid on it, you could imagine other species and races concocting their own versions. What would a Klingon warrior make of a messy pizza? Throw on a handful of live gagh, some sliced heart of targ and a few prunes, and you’d have the pizza of Kahless (definitely a deep-dish pizza).
Step forward a few more years to 2372 and the Star Trek: Voyager episode “Threshold,” yes, the one where Tom Paris and Captain Janeway turn into lizards and mate. During Tom’s hyper-evolutionary transformation, we see him hankering for Kavarian olives on… a pepperoni pizza. The episode saw the helmsman and his captain evolve, most notably Tom after breaking through the warp 10 threshold and into transwarp, where he was at all points in the universe at once. No wonder he wanted a slice of pizza after eating all those bugs.
In a galaxy fraught with danger and peril, a few more slices of pizza might take off the edge. Wash it down with a soda, or perhaps a flagon of prune juice ("a warrior's drink!") and the galaxy would be a far safer place. Then again, there’s always that eternal argument between deep crust, thin, pineapple or not. Not to worry, if war broke out with the Klingons over this, we’d return to the table for another round of the Khitomer Pizza-cords.
Mark Newbold has been an avid Trek fan since the 1970's, when TOS was shown on UK TV, but it was the original cast movie series and TNG era that sealed the deal. Mark is a writer for Star Trek The Official Magazine, is editor-in-Chief of Star Trek: The Neutral Zone and was a stage host at Destination Star Trek Germany in 2018. At heart, he's a Niner. Follow him on Twitter.