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Things You Didn’t Know About Pizza

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Pizza. It deserves a sentence all of its own. It’s also a food almost everyone loves. What’s not to love, after all? With all its gooey, bubbling cheese, fabulous sauce and tasty toppings, it’s an amazing food standing the test of time. It’s surprising it hasn’t become a stand-alone food group.

Not only is it delicious, but it’s also a marvel to look at and heavenly to smell. And it’s a pie you can eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert — or even a midnight snack.

Here at Giordano’s, we’ve scoured the web looking for interesting tidbits, fun facts and some more obscure pizza trivia. From Guinness world records of pizza delivery to space to the number of slices we consume per year to the largest collection of unique pizza boxes, get ready to add a new wrinkle to your forehead as you learn a few things you didn’t know about pizza.

And, the next time you enjoy pizza with family and friends, you can organize a pizza trivia night or show off by sharing some of these impressive factoids.

How Much Pizza Do We Eat?

Worldwide, pizza is a fan favorite, with populations of every culture introducing their unique interpretations on this delectable pie. But no country consumes more pizza per capita than Norway, where the average person consumes 11 pizzas per person each year.

Here in the U.S., we capture second place by consuming nearly 350 slices of pizza every second.

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Regarding dollars and cents, pizza is a $38 billion industry in the U.S. annually, according to Pizza Today, a foodservice guide for pizzerias. And 93 percent of the population eats pizza, says Thought Catalog, with the average American enjoying 46 slices per year.

In a 2014 Zagat poll, respondents revealed they eat pizza four times per month, with an average of 3.1 slices per meal. Apparently, most people just can’t avoid the temptation of taking a bite out of that fourth slice.

Also, 46 percent of the respondents said they eat their pizza flat, 36 percent eat it rolled up and 14 percent eat it with a fork and knife.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports these pizza consumption facts:

  1. One in every eight Americans consumes pizza on any given day.

  2. One in four males in America between the ages of 6 and 19 consume pizza daily.

  3. Nearly 4 percent of children and 2 percent of adults in America eat pizza for breakfast.

  4. Children tend to eat pizza slightly more for lunch than dinner — 44 percent for lunch and 42 percent for dinner — while adults are more likely to consume pizza for dinner than lunch — 59 percent compared to 28 percent.

  5. Nearly 13 percent of the U.S. population over the age of 2 will consume pizza on any given day, with children showing even higher concentrations of pizza consumption.

How Much Pizza Do Americans Eat on Super Bowl Sunday?

One of the more interesting fun facts about pizza consumption in America comes from Forbes, which reports on Super Bowl Sunday, Americans will collectively eat 12.5 million pizzas.

Fox Sports reports the number of slices of pizza sold for the Super Bowl jumps by 350 percent.

Celebratory Dates Surrounding Pizza

Time to mark your calendars, pizza lovers. If you want to celebrate your affection for pizza, we have several days, and an entire month, set aside each year to proclaim our passion for the pie, including these.

We Americans love our pizza as much as the next country, except, perhaps Norway — and we certainly make a point of showing our appreciation of this delightful food with these days to celebrate all its goodness each year.

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In fact, the entire month of October is National Pizza Month, with the first-month long celebration of the delights of pizza taking place in 1984.

Pizza and Technology Factoids

In 2001, Pizza Hut made the first delivery to outer space, delivering a six-inch salami pizza to the International Space Station.

Long before that, in 1974, the Artificial Language Laboratory at Michigan State University completed a successful test of a speaking computer by using it to order a pizza from a local pizza restaurant, making it the first pizza a computer had ever ordered.

Pizza is in such high demand, NASA funded a 3D-food printing system to allow astronauts to make a pizza while in space — and to help them feel like they have a slice of home while they are a billion lightyears away.

In more recent times, technology and pizza have developed a special relationship, including in the development of:

  • Pizza delivery apps

  • GPS tracking of pizza deliveries

  • Pizza vending machines

  • Drone and robotic delivery of pizza

All these tools make it easier for you to get your piping hot pizza whenever you want it.

Lastly, taking Instagram photos of your pizza has become a trend. One Instagram pizza photo sharing account has more than 650,000 followers.

Guinness World Records About Pizza

Guinness World Records judges have been very busy when it comes to the state of pizzas for the record books. And pizza enthusiasts have been just as busy making those records.

Largest pizza: For instance, the largest pizza Guinness judges ever recorded occurred in December 2012 in Rome. The pizza occupied a total surface area of more than 1,261 square meters, or more than 13,573 square feet. It was 100 percent gluten-free and named Ottavia. Dovillo Nardi, Matteo Nardi, Andrea Mannocchi, Marco Nardi and Matteo Giannotte prepared the mammoth pizza in homage to the first Roman emperor, Octavian Augustus.

Longest pizza: In June 2017, Guinness awarded the record for the longest pizza in Fontana, Calif., where more than 100 people worked together over a 54-hour period to construct, prepare and bake the monstrous pie, which measured more than 6,300 feet long. Other impressive numbers about this particular pizza include the fact that it took 3,900 pounds of mozzarella cheese, 17,700 pounds of dough and 5,000 pounds of tomato sauce to make.

After earning their way into the record books, the team behind the world’s largest pizza invited several local charities to partake in eating it. American businesses participating in the making of this pizza and Italy-based Italforni also joined in the history-making endeavor.

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Highest pizza toss: The highest pizza toss is a fun record. Joe Carlucci earned this one all the way back in April 2006, when he tossed a pizza 6.52 meters into the air, or more than 21.3 feet, at the Mall of America in Minneapolis while filming for Food Network.

Highest-altitude pizza delivery: Pizza Hut has held the record for the highest-altitude pizza delivery since May 5-8, 2016, when, in celebration of opening the first Pizza Hut restaurant in Tanzania, the pizza giant delivered a pie to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro — at the breathtaking height of 19,347 feet. Pizza Hut also delivered a pizza to the International Space Station earlier, in 2001.

Longest collection of pizza boxes: Scott Wiener, who claims to eat about 700 to 750 slices of pizza a year by himself, holds the record for the largest collection of pizza boxes. As of October 2013, he had 595 different pizza boxes in his New York City stack.

Check out our Pizza World Records blog post for even more pizza records, like the heaviest pizza and fastest time to eat a 12-inch pizza.

Pizza Slang

Quite a bit of slang surrounds this popular dish around the world. First We Feast shares some pizza slang terms you might want to incorporate into your vocabulary.

  • Avalanche: The term to describe the tragedy of when all the toppings slide right off the crust.

  • Bones: Refers to the discarded crust leftovers on your plate.

  • Coastline: The line of exposed sauce marking the end of the toppings and the beginning of the pizza crust.

  • Doughnut: In the world of pizza, this refers to holes in the dough — which is not a good thing, unlike the sugary fried dough concoction that otherwise comes to mind.

  • Fly pie: Restaurant terminology to reference a pizza that needs to happen in a hurry because the kitchen made a mistake on the first attempt, or it met some other disastrous demise.

  • Leonard spotting: Primarily occurring in wood-fired ovens, Leonard spots are the burned bubbles along the rim of a pizza that add flavor to a perfectly baked crust.

  • Lo-mo: Indicates low-moisture mozzarella.

  • Mutz: Shorthand for mozzarella.

  • Party cut: Mostly used in St. Louis-style pizza to refer to a circular pizza cut into squares.

  • On deck: A term to describe pizzas waiting to go into ovens.

  • Pie: Refers to an entire pizza.

  • Pizza palate: A term used to describe a burn to the roof of the mouth from eating too-hot pizza.

  • Plain: This term means different things in various locations. In New Haven, for instance, it means no cheese on the pizza. In many other locations, it means a pizza with cheese and sauce only.

  • Roadie: Refers to a to-go slice.

  • Roller: Another name for the pizza slicing wheel.

  • Sinatra: Used primarily in Newark to describe a perfect pie.

  • Wet Mutz: Describes fresh mozzarella.

Now that you’ve brushed up on the parlance, you can order your next pizza like a pro.

Odd History About Pizza

Plenty of bizarre history tidbits about pizza exist, including these.

  • Pizza theorem: One of the strangest pizza facts you’re likely to come across is this: There is a mathematical theorem, the pizza theorem, named after pizza.

  • Peasant’s meal: Pizza was originally a peasant’s meal, with the first pizzerias opening in 1830 on the Bay of Naples. Later, when visiting royalty tried the dish and loved it, it became not only fashionable, but a staple in restaurants throughout Italy.

  • Traced to Naples: The lengthy and rich history of pizza goes back to Naples in the 1700s. While technically an independent kingdom at the time, it was infamous for being home to a large population of working poor.

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  • The reasoning of selling pizza slices: One of the first things you might not know about pizza is while the roots trace back to Italy, you won’t find pizza slices there. In fact, Italian pizza comes as a whole pie, rather than in slices. The pizzas most Americans are familiar with are large and round, and selling by the slice began as a means of selling individual pieces to people who couldn’t afford the entire pie.

  • Origins of flatbread pizza: The original pizzas were flatbread concoctions available from street vendors for peasants to eat on the go when they needed to return to work immediately. Initially, the Neapolitan nobility disdained the food. However, it became a hit among the upper crust of society — no pun intended — when King Umberto I and Queen Margherita found the creation completely enjoyable during a visit to Naples.

  • The first pizza restaurant in the U.S.: Pizza didn’t arrive on American soil until 1905, when Gennaro Lombardi opened Lombardi’s Pizzeria Napoletana in New York City. The oldest continuously operating pizzeria in the U.S., according to The Daily Meal, is Papa’s Tomato Pies in Trenton, N.J. While Lombardi’s was the first, it closed in 1984 and remained closed for the following decade. Papa’s has continuously operated since opening in 1912.

  • Deep-dish pizza: While no one can trace the exact history of deep-dish pizza by a verifiable paper trail, the prevailing belief is that the first restaurant to serve the concoction was called Pizzeria, which Ric Riccardo and Ike Sewell opened in Chicago in 1943. The restaurant set out to serve an Americanized version of pizza that was unique to Chicago. To accomplish this, they created a cake-like pizza using cheese and sausage in the center and placed the sauce on top. In 1955, the restaurant changed its name to Pizzeria Uno.

Our Personal Pizza Preferences

MobileCusine.com tells us the most popular pizza among consumers is thin crust, accounting for 61 percent of the vote. Deep-dish or thick-crust pizza comes in second after thin crust, with 14 percent of the vote.

According to a recent Huffington Post article, 37 percent of Americans order a plain cheese pizza. However, the top 10 other favorite pizza toppings noted were:

  1. Pepperoni

  2. Mushrooms

  3. Onions

  4. Sausage

  5. Bacon

  6. Extra cheese — it’s a topping, too!

  7. Black olives

  8. Green peppers

  9. Pineapple

  10. Spinach

The endless variety is part of the broad appeal of pizza. Cultures around the world can build on the fundamentals of a pizza and add their touches, flavors and styles to enjoy an entirely new creation.

It’s brilliant and delicious — and whatever your favorite style happens to be, there are always other ways to eat and prepare a pizza.

Get Your Pizza Fix Fulfilled at Giordano’s

We hope you’ve enjoyed these exciting and enlightening pizza fun facts. More importantly, we hope they’ve made you hungry for — you guessed it — pizza!

If we’ve whetted your appetite with all these mouthwatering pizza facts and trivia, we’ve accomplished our goal. Now, give us a call or stop by for a deep-dish pizza. Chicago-style pizza’s always on our menu, and we deliver and ship pizza too!