10 Interesting Historical Facts About Pizza

Pizza is a staple in most people’s homes. The cheesy goodness of the best pizza you’ve ever had lingers in your mouth forever. There’s lots of history to the slices so let’s dive in and get ten interesting facts about the pies of life.

1. The Insane Beginnings of Pizza

Pizza probably wasn’t the main dish in your great grandparents’ home. It wasn’t actually popular in the US until World War II. Many American GIs tried it over in Italy when they were serving in the war. They were so impressed that they had to have it once they got back into the states.

It was probably hard to recreate the best pizza they’d ever had, the only pizza they’d ever had, but their families began copying the tastes of the pizza in Italy. It quickly spread across the states to become the popular food it is today. This doesn’t mean pizza hasn’t been around since the beginning of time.

Similar items that just weren’t called pizza have been around since the Neolithic age. History shows they made flatbreads and other bread with different sorts of toppings. True pizza showed up in Naples, Italy in the 1600s. Bakers made it on the street and sold it to the poor people. They would eat it as they walked around the streets.

2. The Little Guys Rule

Those big pizza chains don’t rule the world of pizzerias. The little guys actually make up about 65 percent of pizza places. Independent owners provide that personal touch often with a special twist on their own pizzas.

This means they’re passionate about pizza, and truly care about your dining experience. Some have roots that stem back to Italy where it all started. The perfect crust, the perfect combination of toppings and a special sauce are just some of the specialties when it comes to the little guy.

Places like Green Lantern Pizza have been around for decades serving up something special, extra love in their pizza pies. Many of the big guys actually turn to a little guy for all of their questions. The best pizza recipes may stem from one man.

There’s a guy with the name, “Dough Doctor,” Tom Lehmann in Kansas. He’s a world-renowned pizza expert whom chefs consult about their recipes. He’s been working with the American Institute of Baking since the 1960s. Pretty much any pizza-related question you can think of, people ask the “Dough Doctor.”

3. Crazy Pizza Times

Flattery is the best form of art. New York’s Marlborough Gallery set up an art show in 2013 to prove just that. “Pizza Time!” featured more than 20 works of art all about pizza. 3-D pizzas, drawings of pizza, actual physical pizza you could eat, even a caveman surfing on a pizza, you could find everything pie related in one place for a few months. Pizza doesn’t usually cost an arm and a leg unless it actually does.

There’s a $12,000 pie baked by chef Renato Viola called Pizza Louis XIII. Meat lovers of pizza can get excited because it isn’t just about everyday meats. Though it’s only 12″ in diameter, comes with red prawns, different types of caviar, lobster and sea cicadas. Who doesn’t want cicadas on their pizza? That’s not all, it also comes with Champagne Krug Clos du Mesnil and Remy Martin Cognac. Another crazy fact is that in 2006 Cristian Dumitru ate a world record-setting 200 pounds of pizza in one week.

4. Highest selling Pizza day

A survey was conducted in America and it was found that around 93% of the people of America order pizza at least once a month and on the day of Super Bowl Sunday around 58% of the American people order pizza making it the highest selling pizza as compared to the other day of the year.

5. The Pizza Food Pyramid

Pizza could actually be on the food pyramid if you really wanted it to be. Meat, cheese, vegetables, and bread are all parts of the pyramid. In fact, the government says school meals must contain a certain amount of veggies. Thank goodness that in 2011 pizza hit that chart.

If a pizza has at least two tablespoons of tomato sauce, it can be served at school. These days there are countless options of pizzas. From gluten-free to low carb, you can basically make any kind of pizza imaginable. Meat lovers of pizza can cover theirs in any type of meat, even crab and elk meat if they so choose.

Anchovies aren’t the most popular topping, but many love the extra salty boost. Pizza is often served once a week at school making many students think they’ve cheated the system for at least a day.

6. Coming To America

We’ve already explained that American GIs brought back the idea of pizza to the masses. In the late 19th century, Italian immigrants brought the idea over to Ellis Island in the states before the GIs made it popular. In the Northeast and down to places like Chicago and Boston, news of the new food spread slowly.

The first actual pizzeria opened in 1905 in New York. It was Lombardi’s set up by Gennaro Lombardi. In five years another few pizza places opened in New Jersey. Slowly, but surely, the pizza word began spreading. The crazy thing is that it wasn’t until 1939 that the wildfire spread to the west coast when the D’Amore family opened a pizzeria. Pizza chains became the “it” thing when Pizza Hut opened its doors in 1958. Selling the best pizzas to the masses of people was very popular. Nowadays over three billion pies are sold each year in the US.

7. A New Pizza In Town

Back in 1889 King Umberto I and Queen Margherita were visiting Italy. They were tired of boring French cuisine and the Queen saw a peasant eating a pizza pie. She enjoyed the taste so she asked local bakers to make her a few different kinds. the baker, Raffaele Esposito, then known for his pizzeria, Da Pietro decided to make her a special kind.

He made it with the basics of tomato sauce and white mozzarella cheese then topped it with green basil. She loved this kind and it became known as the pizza Margherita. The King and Queen loved their pizza, but it was still considered low class for many years. People didn’t understand its mighty class until celebrities began raving about it in the 1950s.

8. Deliver My Pizza

Pizza deliveries are as simple as a click of an app on the phone today. The first pizza deliveries were back in the 1960s when fast food became popular. A computer actually ordered a pizza in 1974. It was a speaking computer and the people in charge needed to try it out. They ordered a pizza pie with lots of toppings from a local place. Boom, computers could order pizza!

These days over three billion pies are sold a year. In the early 1990s when the internet became popular, there was even such a thing as PizzaNet. People ordered pizzas online through this service in California.

In fact, it was the first thing you could truly buy online. It didn’t last long as it was just a test to see if this thing called the Internet would stick around. Now mobile apps offer deliveries from big chains and tiny places. Even calling to order a pizza these days is a bit crazy to some. Online orders through computers and phones make up the billions of orders today.

9. Pizza Taste Test

Toppings on pizza can go crazy. There are actually some big debates regarding the toppings and trends of pizza. One thing people hate is goo. Pizza chefs don’t enjoy a “gum line.” You know, if you eat a soggy slice of pizza with a gooey layer between the paste and toppings? It happens when the dough is undercooked with too little yeast. Food scientists actually figured out beyond the “gum line” what people actually love.

They tried all sorts of cheeses and found that mozzarella is actually the best tasting when paired with tomato sauce and traditional toppings. Many people argue if pineapple is even considered a real topping. Some people forego all toppings and go with a simple cheese pizza.

Then the crust comes into consideration. New York is famous for thin-crust while Chicago is famous for that deep dish full of dough. Most people agree on the real taste for pizza is all about the sauce, a rich tomato sauce is often the answer, but pizzas are made with cheese and dessert bases as well. It seems there’s no ceiling when it comes to pizza toppings and crust.

10. World Pizza Championship

Meat lovers of pizza meet with veggie lovers of pizza at the World Pizza Championship all across Italy. The pizza makers await to be crowned at this event. Almost 50 nations were represented in the past, running since 1991. It happens over an entire weekend with over 700 participants. Judges and sponsors flock to the event. There are all sorts of contests including classic pizza, largest pizza, pizza team and just pizza for two.

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