{{show_title_date || "2016 debate: Forks or hands? The right way to eat pizza, 4/18/16, 3:13 PM ET"}}

The true New York test? How 2016 candidates eat pizza


Say what you will about his policies, but Donald Trump took a stand on a crucial issue close to many hearts — and stomachs — decades before his bid for the presidency: The proper method to eat pizza.

In a 1995 campaign for Pizza Hut, Trump, along with ex-wife Ivana Trump, appeared in an ad for the chain’s stuffed-crust pizza and boldly championed eating pizza “the wrong way,” crust first. He also made headlines in 2011 in what was dubbed the a “pizza summit” with Sarah Palin, during which both were photographed eating slices with forks and knives.

As the 2016 election season has ramped up toward Tuesday’s primary in New York, many candidates have been caught on camera eating the beloved staple. And with three candidates claiming hometown roots in New York City — where how you eat your slice is a perennial subject for debate — the issue is once again in the spotlight.

RELATED: How New Yorkers really feel about the candidates

Ohio Gov. John Kasich recently made news in New York tabloids for eating his slice with a fork and knife. It led him to joke that he took chose the much-pilloried method as a plea for more media attention.

MTP Daily, 3/31/16, 5:46 PM ET

John Kasich's Pizza Problem

After taping a town hall for MSNBC with Chuck Todd in Queens, New York, GOP presidential candidate John Kasich stops for pizza and draws the ire of locals for…using a fork.

For his part, Brooklyn-born Bernie Sanders attempted to show his New York street cred by folding up a slice and chomping down during an appearance on “The View.” He even incredulously exclaimed “a fork?! No, no, no” when told Mayor Bill de Blasio had been photographed taking up utensils before digging in.

Meanwhile, one candidate who has possibly the most at stake in the presidential pizza wars is Hillary Clinton, who claims both Chicago and New York as hometowns. While NBC News campaign embed Monica Alba notes she has yet to personally witness the former New York senator and Illinois native eat pizza on the trail, the inside word is that Clinton prefers New York style pizza.

Seems like a strategic decision to make this week at least — right before a primary that highlights many of the candidates’ “New York values.”

Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, John Kasich and New York

The true New York test? How 2016 candidates eat pizza