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Origin of Pizza and Other Fun Facts

Margaret Minnicks is a health-conscious person who researches the health benefits of foods and drinks.

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Pizza lovers do not need a special reason to eat pizza or a particular day to do so. However, National Pizza Day is marked on February 9 every year. Restaurants sell plenty of pizzas on that day, and some even offer free and discounted prices to celebrate the day.

This past year, National Pizza Day happened to fall on a Saturday, which is the most popular day of the week for people to order pizza, anyway.

Origin of the Pizza

People who eat pizza might not be aware of its origin, but the pie has an interesting history. One interesting thing is that many centuries ago in Italy, the pizza was considered to be a peasant's meal.

Back in the mid-1800s, pizzas were not like they are today. They were flatbreads with cheese and herbs on top. They were sold on the street in Naples, Italy, and soon became local treats.

In modern times, pizza is more than just flatbread covered with cheese. It is one of the most popular fast foods in the world that is loved by kids and adults. It still is flat and baked in an oven, but there are many variations. That means a large family does not have to choose just one type. In fact, a pizza could be one kind on one side and another kind on the other half.

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Parts of a Pizza

Crust

The crust is the bottom part of the meal. It could be thin or thick and well as the choice of having it filled with cheese.

Cheese

Mozzarella is the most popular cheese used on the food even though provolone, pecorino romano, ricotta, and scamorza can also be used.

Toppings

Pepperoni is the number one favorite topping in the United States. More toppings include meats such as ground beef, chicken, bacon, ham, and sausage. Vegetables include mushrooms, onions, green peppers, carrots, tomatoes, and spinach. Other things include anchovies, garlic, and olives. A favorite fruit on pizza is pineapple.

Toppings in other countries are added depending on the region as well as personal preference.

  • Brazil: green peas
  • India: pickled ginger, minced mutton, and paneer cheese
  • Japan: mayonnaise, potato, bacon, eel, and squid
  • Russia: red herring

Usually, pizza is cut into slices and eaten while being held in the consumer's hand.

Slice of pepperoni pizza

Slice of pepperoni pizza

Macaroni and cheese pizza from Cicis

Macaroni and cheese pizza from Cicis

Popular U.S. Pizza Chains

The first pizzeria in North America was opened in 1905 by Gennaro Lombardi in New York City's Little Italy. Since then, pizzerias have spread all over the world.

  1. Pizza Hut has 16,796 restaurants worldwide, making it the world's largest pizza chain in terms of locations. It was founded on June 15, 1958, in Wichita, Kansas.
  2. Domino's Pizza is the largest pizza seller with an annual revenue of more than $6 billion. The chain was founded on December 9, 1960, and is based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. It has 13,811 locations. That's fewer locations than Pizza Hut, but the annual revenue is more.
  3. With 5,463 locations, Little Caesars is the third-largest pizza chain in the United States. It was founded on May 8, 1959, in Garden City, Michigan.
  4. Papa John's is the fourth-largest pizza chain with 5,199 locations. It was founded on October 2, 1984, and is based in Jeffersontown, Kentucky.
  5. Cicis is not the fifth largest, but it is included because it is different from the four pizza chains listed above. It was founded in 1985 and specializes in all sorts of different pizzas such as a macaroni-and-cheese one. Cicis is the youngest in the group and has the smallest number of locations with on 442.

Pizza Trivia

There is some interesting trivia that makes for good conversations while people sit around and eat slices of pizza.

  • Pizza is a food that is eaten all over the world. In fact, more than 5 billion of them are sold in every part of the world each year. So, don't think pizza is limited to your country, state, or locality.
  • It has been estimated that at least 100 acres of it are eaten every day in the U.S. That translates to about 3 billion pizzas, 46 slices, or 23 pounds for every person in the country.
  • People in the United States consume at least 350 slices of the dish every second. Pizza with pepperoni topping is American's favorite. That kind is about 36 percent of all the pizzas sold.
  • An experienced pizza maker can make 14 pizzas in 2 minutes and 35 seconds.
  • The world's largest pizza was prepared in Rome in December 2012 and measured 13,570 square feet. It was named "Ottavia" to honor the first Roman emperor Octavian Augustus. The world's longest pizza was made in Fontana, California, in 2017 and measured 6,333.3 feet.
  • According to the Guinness World Records, the world's most expensive pizza cost $130 and was sold at Maze restaurant in London, United Kingdom.
  • Worldwide, pizza is more than a $128 billion business. We must agree that each one of us helps make it so.

© 2019 Margaret Minnicks

Comments

Brad on February 20, 2019:

Margaret Minnicks

"Supreme Pizza, which is one of Pizza Hut's most popular pies. It's topped with a heaping amount of veggies like green peppers and onions, but also has seasoned pork and pepperoni for a well-balanced bite."

As much as I have my favorite pizza, I could go happily with your pick, especially with the cheese in the crust.

Thanks

Margaret Minnicks (author) from Richmond, VA on February 20, 2019:

Brad Masters, I like the Supreme Pizza with cheese in the crust.

There is a Pizza Hut about 5 minutes from where I live in Richmond, VA. I place my order online and my pizza is ready by the time I arrive to pick it up.

I eat some slices for dinner and some leftover slices the next morning for breakfast.

Brad on February 20, 2019:

Margaret

What is your favorite Pizza, and where do you get it.

Virginia is a long way from the "The first documented United States pizzeria was G. (for Gennaro) Lombardi’s on Spring Street in Manhattan, licensed to sell pizza in 1905. (Prior to that, the dish was homemade or purveyed by unlicensed vendors.) Lombardi’s, still in operation today though no longer at its 1905 location"

Margaret Minnicks (author) from Richmond, VA on February 14, 2019:

Brad Masters, thanks so much for your comments about pizza. It was very interesting to read your thoughts about pizza.

Brad on February 14, 2019:

Margaret

My take on pizza comes from growing up in NYC, and Long Island. Like the original Coca Cola the original is the only Pizza. There were only two kinds of pizza one was the round pizza thin fold-able with cheese and some toppings like sausage, peppers, mushrooms, and onions. The other was the square thick Sicilian pizza.

I ate more of the former, and with all the variations in pizza today, the word pizza to me is only applicable to the original. Originally, pizza was really called tomato bread according to the old Italians. So, when people put chicken, pineapple and other ingredients on them, they are not pizza to me, they are a food item but not pizza. That is my opinion.

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on February 09, 2019:

You nailed it when you said some people need no reason to eat pizza It is just so a lovey food because many foods can be used to create this versatile dish Hope you enjoyed the day Angels are on the way today ps