If there is one food that the whole world knows about, it might as well be pizza. All countries in the world have their own variation of the all-time favorite pie. Get insight into its flavorful history and cultural adaptations when you read these pizza facts.
- The first recorded use of the word ‘pizza’ was in a Latin text from Gaeta, Italy in 997 AD.
- Pizza is the Italian term for pie.
- Bakers from Naples were the first people to prepare a dish known as ‘pizza’ back in the 1600s.
- The pizza was nothing more than a peasant meal for most Italians in the 1800s.
- Frozen pizzas tasted like cardboard when it hit the market in 1962 until inventor Rose Totino altered it.
- A 2017 UK survey showed 53% of the population favored pineapple on their pizza while 15% would back a ban.
- In the United States, the most popular pizza topping is pepperoni, then green peppers, ham, mushrooms, and sausage.
- Green peas are popular in Brazilian pizzas.
- French patronizers like having eggs on their pizza.
- Smoked reindeer is a popular topping in the Pizza Berlusconi from Finland.
- In Sweden, bananas and curry powder top the pizzas.
- The Australians’ version of pizza features crocodile, emu, and kangaroo meat.
- China makes pizza with mini hotdogs on the crust.
- Mayo Jinga Japanese pizza, has corn, mayo, pancetta, and potatoes, while squid is a favorite topping in the country.
- The most famous type of pizza all over the world is thin crust pizza.
- America considers Italian pizza as the most popular ethnic food in the country.
- Pizzas sell best on Halloween, Super Bowl Sunday, New Year’s Eve and Day, and the night before Thanksgiving.
- Saturday night is the ‘pizza night’ of the week worldwide.
- Domino’s dominates pizza delivery all over the world, with at least a million deliveries each day.
- Lady Gaga once expressed her love by buying $1000-worth of pizza for fans lined up for her autograph.
Pizza-like food has been present as early as the Neolithic age.
Almost all the regions in the world have flatbreads and oven-baked ones with diverse topping choices.
Pizza compelled contemporary Italian authors to label Neapolitans with ‘disgusting’ eating habits.
As a type of street food, pizza mainly catered to poor Neapolitans. They generally spend time outside their homes and would walk as they eat their slices. Hence, the label.
The first-ever pizzeria in the world is the Port’Alba.
Established in 1830, the store cooked their pies in an oven featuring Mount Vesuvius lava. The active volcano lies on the Bay of Naples.
Pizza only came to America by the late 1800s.
The food has been a staple in Naples for years. However, pizza only got outside the city walls when Italians started migrating to the United States, bringing their flavor preferences along.
Pizza in America started on the East Coast.
The first cities to start commercializing pizza were Boston, Connecticut, New Haven, New Jersey, New York, and Trenton. Also, these cities received the highest influx of immigrants from South Italy by the shift of the century.
The first pizzeria in the United States opened in 1905.
Italian-American Gennaro Lombardi started a mini-pizza business at his street-front shop in Manhattan. While the shop no longer stands in its original location, Lombardi’s are still operating with the same oven it used upon opening.
A returning G.I. invented the gas-fired pizza oven in 1945.
World War II got American soldiers craving pizza from their service in Europe. It inspired G.I. Ira Nevin for his Baker’s Pride invention, allowing an easier and less-expensive way to bake and retail pizza. With the charcoal and wood fuss out of the picture, dining places of all kinds started selling more pies.
Pizzas only sell by the pie, exclusively.
It lasted until 1933 when Patsy Lancieri of Patsy’s Pizzeria, New York initiated the selling-by-slice trend. Other pizzerias were quick to pick up.
The shape of the original Italian pizzas was square.
Today, it is more recognized as the ‘Sicilian cut.’ They also used Romano cheese on the pies at first before switching to modern-day favorite Mozzarella.
The Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana regulates the Neapolitan pizza standards.
In English, the name of the association translates to ‘True Neapolitan Pizza Association.’ They set definite rules on the qualifications of a legitimate Neapolitan pizza and even grants certifications for deserving pizza restaurants.
Italy passed a bill in the protection of their traditional pizza.
The law specified permitted ingredients and processing methods with the exclusion of frozen pizzas. When a pie has been cooked along with these guidelines, only then would it be called a ‘traditional Italian pizza’ in the country.
Pizza could only last two hours when unrefrigerated.
Its usual meat-and-cheese content is prone to foodborne illness. Still, placing your pizza in the fridge within two hours of its prep time can prolong its life for 3-4 days. Any longer than that will only promote bacteria growth, leading to food poisoning.
Pizza chefs use an exclusive pizza lingo.
In their language, ‘skin’ refers to the stretched dough ball ready for its toppings. ‘Screamers’ stand for mushrooms, while ‘flyers’ is the term for pepperoni due to the Frisbee-like manner they get thrown around the kitchen.
Pizza chefs strive to achieve what they call ‘the crumb.’
It refers to the pizza dough’s internal cell structure, which gives the crumb an airy finish with large holes.
There is an official professional sporting event for pizza dough spinning.
The World Pizza Championships gather pizza teams to compete in the match for acrobatic dough spinning.
Regardless of the competition, pizza dough spinning is more than just a show.
This procedure is vital in spreading the dough evenly to produce a uniform crust. It also helps to retain the moisture in the dough.
The worldwide favorite pie has a Pizza Theorem.
This mathematical theorem refers to the equation used in the technique of slicing pizzas.
New York has a so-called ‘Pizza Principle.’
It started in the early 1960s when the price of pizza and the price of a subway ride in the city match uncannily until today. Another name used for the generally accurate ‘economic law’ is ‘Pizza-Subway Connection.’
The U.S. government considered pizza as a vegetable in 2011.
They financed school meals to have a required amount of vegetable content. Since a serving of pizza contains over two tablespoons of tomato sauce, it qualifies for the vegetable provisions. In other words, ketchup is a vegetable as per the Reagan administration.
There is a reason behind the universal square-shaped boxes of the circular pizza.
Retailers find this box shape more affordable and more convenient in terms of production and assembly than the round variety.
Pizza ATMs debuted in the United States in 2016.
Before that, the available machines have already been serving pies in Europe for several years. The first machine stood at Xavier University, Ohio, where it holds 70 stocks in medium size. Customers can place orders on the touchscreen, which will then command the machine to heat then serve the pizza.
The Heaven Scent Pizza is a mini pizza specially made for dogs.
Ingredients include carrots, celery, flour, and parmesan cheese.
The deep-dish pizza originated from Chicago.
Pizzeria Uno invented the delectable dish in 1943.
Pizza Margherita got its name from Italy’s Queen Margherita.
During her visit to the city, the Queen stopped for some pie at Da Pietro Pizzeria or as known today as Pizzeria Brandi. Pizza Chef Raffaele Esposito then whipped up three recipes, but the one with the Italian flag colors caught the Queen’s eyes. Pizza Margherita features green basil, white mozzarella, and red tomato sauce and remains to be a staple in pizzerias to date.
Hawaiian Pizza traces its roots not from Hawaii, but Canada.
Sam Panopoulos, a retired cook, gave a twist to the global craze by simply adding shelf-stocked pineapple in his store. He served the iconic pizza variation at the Satellite Restaurant in Chatham, Ontario.
Pizza in Scotland is known for its nutty texture.
Some of the popular toppings in the country are sheep heart, lungs, and liver. The minced parts would then join the mixture of oatmeal, stock, suet, and other spices.
Pizza has developed healthier versions throughout the years.
The cauliflower crust pizza is an excellent example. By fall 2018, Trader Joe’s introduced the butternut squash as a gluten-free alternative on the crust part.
The Celentano Brothers invented the frozen pizza in 1957.
It was only available in grocery at first until it grew popular within a few years of its debut. Today, frozen pizza has also occupied the shelves in convenience stores, gas stations, and bars.
Since people can’t get enough of their favorite food, they developed more products with pizza flavor.
Through the years, various products like potato chips, ice cream, beer, e-cigarettes, and even condoms have a distinctive flavor resembling that of pizza.
The ‘Gum Line’ is a pizza chef’s nightmare.
It refers to the gooey layer between the toppings of a pie and its base. This product results from either overcooked dough, insufficient yeast, or cheese or sauce that has not reached room temperature yet before being added onto the pizza.
Mozzarella is, proven and tested, the ideal pizza cheese.
Food scientists found scientific evidence in 2014 by studying the baking properties of various kinds of cheeses.
Mozzarella cheese has four main kinds used in making pizza.
The di bufala comes from Italian water buffalo milk and mostly featured in Neapolitan-style pizzas, while the fior di latte is a similar variety but made from cow milk. Third, the burrata is a fresh Italian cheese with a creamy filling. Most American pizzerias use the pizza cheese, a whole-milk, or part-skim type that is less perishable.
Mozzarella is only one of the most popular pizza toppings around the world.
The list of popular gourmet toppings includes artichoke hearts, cajun shrimp, chicken, crayfish, dandelions, eggplant, oysters, sprouts, and tuna.
Pizza Chefs consult with the ‘Dough Doctor’ named Tom Lehmann.
Lehmann, a pizza expert, lived in Manhattan, Kansas, and started cooperating with the American Institute of Baking beginning in 1967. Among the most challenging tasks he faced is the request for low-carb dough in light of the diet craze in Atkins.
Pizza Man remains to be the sole superhero movie with pizza as its theme.
In the 2011 film, Frankie Muniz stars as a pizza delivery guy. He happened to acquire his superpowers by accidentally eating a genetically-modified tomato.
Many celebrities today once worked in the pizza industry.
Actors Bill Murray and Stephen Baldwin used to work in pizza restaurants pre-stardom. Meanwhile, Jean-Claude Van Damme was an ex-pizza delivery guy.
Pizza inspired Macaulay Culkin to form a band.
The former child star’s band is a Velvet Underground cover band named Pizza Underground. Some of their hits are entitled ‘All the Pizza Parties’ and ‘I’m Waiting for the Delivery Man.’
The world record for pizza eating goes to Christian Dumitru from Romania.
Dumitru consumed more than 200 pounds. However, the ex-record holder disagrees, claiming that the cheese-sauce ratio in Dumitru’s record was too low in pizza standards.
The largest tip given for a single pizza delivery cost more than $1,268.
James Gilpin, a delivery driver for Domino’s, delivered $12.50-worth of pizza to the Wesleyan University. Education CEO Keith Newman and around 3,000 students greeted him with the cash tip, $70 worth of gift cards, and handwritten inspirational notes from the students.
The domain Pizza.com was only worth $20 back in 1994.
Chris Clark bought it cheap, but he surely won when the domain sold for $2.6 million in an auction.
A man from Maryland stuck to a pizza diet for more than 25 years.
In 2014, Dan Janssen stuck to a pizza diet, only eating slices for almost every meal.
Samuel Morse labeled pizza as a 'nauseating cake.'
As the man who invented the telegraph, his statement was rather noteworthy. He also said that pizza looks like ‘a piece of bread that had been taken reeking out of a sewer.
There is a Pizza Brain Museum of Pizza Culture in Philadelphia.
The place is half restaurant and half museum. Being the first pizza-themed museum, Pizza Brain displays pizza-related advertisements, books, toys, and other artifacts.
The largest pizza-only trade show in the world is the Pizza Expo.
Held annually in Las Vegas, Nevada, the event gathers thousands of people from the pizza industry.
Among the U.S. States, West Virginia is home to the most pizzerias per capita.
It beats the popularity of the pizza styles in New York and Illinois. Meanwhile, Hawaii has the fewest number of pizza shops.
In 2015, Manchester Metropolitan University offered courses for a 'degree in pizza.'
The U.K. Uni paired with Pizza Hut to execute apprenticeships. Enrolled students have the opportunity to learn the pizza-making art in preparation for a career in the hospitality industry.
Airport Pizza, as the name suggests, uses planes for pizza delivery.
This restaurant is located in Alaska.
Some Cambodian pizzerias have 'happy pizzas' on their menu.
These pizzas have high-grade marijuana as toppings.
Sweet pizzas are a timeless trend in Brazil as well.
Brazilian dessert pizzas have chocolate, ice cream, and coconut as topping varieties.
Pizza had an exclusive art show dedicated to it in 2013.
New York’s Marlborough Broome Street Gallery launched an exhibit named ‘Pizza Time!’ Over 25 pizza-themed artworks took part in the show. One of them featured a caveman wearing sunglasses surfing on a giant pizza slice. Its title was ‘Caveman on Pizza.’
The United States celebrates pizza month in October.
More than 60,000 pizzerias serve people in the country.
A single cheese pizza slice contains around 272 calories.
It also has fiber at 1.8 grams, protein at 12.7 grams, while fat is at 9.8 grams. Adding vegetables won’t erase these pizza nutritional facts, but it would increase its nutritional value.
Pizza can reduce esophageal cancer risks by 59%.
The lycopene content of tomato sauce functions as an antioxidant for diminishing cancer risks. However, it would only work when the pie joins a healthy diet and lifestyle. Other benefits are reduced colon cancer risk by 25% and pharyngeal cancer and oral cavity risk by 34%.
Blotting a slice before eating it could reduce the calorie content of the pizza.
Food Detectives of The Food Network found that up to 35 calories per slice could come off with blotting.
Pizza ranks second in the leading calorie source of American children's diet.
It comes right below grain desserts, which includes cookies and other treats that are heavy on the carbs.
Pizza Hut made history as the first pizza chain to send a pizza delivery to space.
The U.S. pizza chain sent a 6-inch salami pizza via a Russian rocket to the International Space Station. Russian cosmonaut Yuri Usachov munched on the treat and even took a photo for marketing purposes.
The record for the biggest pizza in the world has a diameter of 131 feet.
Made in 2012, the colossal pizza tipped the scale at 51,257 pounds. The ingredients included 19,800 lbs gluten-free flour, 220 lbs lettuce, 1,488 lbs margarine, 8,800 lbs mozzarella cheese, 551 lbs rock salt, 10,000 lbs tomato sauce, and 55 lbs vinegar.
Moontower Pizza Bar makes the largest pizza made to order.
Located in Texas, USA, the bar charges $299.95 plus tax for the menu dish called ‘The Bus.’ Its rectangular shape has a total area of 21 sq ft or 1.98 sq m. An order requires at least 48 hours notice, available for delivery within a specified area, and includes one topping.
Despite its size, The Bus can finish baking after 30 minutes.
The pizza chef makes use of homemade sauce and boasts of dough made from scratch. Then, baking takes place inside a rotating oven before the pie gets inside the custom-made box.
Moose's Tooth Pub and Pizzeria sells about $6 million per year.
Located in Anchorage, Alaska, it holds the record for the highest-earning single-unit independent pizzeria in the country.
The first pizza order via computer was made in 1974.
Researchers from The Artificial Language Laboratory, Michigan State were testing their new speaking computer. Hence, they decided to order a ham, mushroom, pepperoni, and sausage pizza from a pizza store downtown.
In 2013, a pizza 3D printer was invented.
Equipped with NASA funds, a group of scientists developed the printer over a decade after the computer order was made. It can cook pizza within 70 seconds, complete with the sprayed flavor, smell, and even the micronutrients.
The most expensive pizza costs $2,745.00.
Domenico Crolla, a restaurateur, created what is now known as the Valentine Pizza. Toppings he used include champagne-soaked caviar, edible gold, lobster marinated in fine cognac, medallions of venison, Scottish smoked salmon, and sunblush tomato sauce.
The label of Most Extravagant Pizza goes to the aptly named 'Luxury Pizza.'
Nino’s Bellissima Restaurant in New York tops the pie with chives, creme fraiche, fresh lobster, and six types of caviar. As a finished product, the Luxury Pizza measures 12 inches and costs $1,000.00 a whole or $125.00 a slice.
Thanksgiving is the least popular day for pizza.
This date projects the average lowest sales in a year. Most likely, the culprit is the recent indulgence from the holidays.
The National Cheese Pizza Day is every 5th of September.
National Sausage Pizza Day is recognized every 11th of October. Meanwhile, National Pizza with the Works Except Anchovies Day is every 12th of November.
The longest-running criminal jury trial in American history is the Pizza Connection Trial.
It ran from 1985 up to 1987. The case involved mafia members who trafficked drugs with pizza restaurants as their front.
In 2008, pizza saved a delivery man from harm.
He was on duty in Florida when robbers confronted him. His instincts made him throw the hot pizza over to the assaulters and ran away.
In 2010, pizza helped the police incriminate a serial killer.
An undercover officer was able to acquire a DNA sample of the ‘Grim Sleeper’ from a slice of pizza at a birthday party.
In 2014, pizza kept a woman safe while reporting a burglary.
Considering that the burglar was still inside her home, the woman called 911 to ‘order a pizza.’ The agent caught signs from the call and immediately dispatched respondents to the site.
Philip Workman, an inmate on death row, requested vegetarian pizzas as his final meal.
But instead for him, he wanted the food sent to homeless people dwelling near the maximum-security prison. Officials refused to fulfill Workman’s request. That did not stop a woman and her friends from granting the pizza deliveries, spending $1,200 in the process.
Pizza also served in spying techniques.
The 113th Military Intelligence Unit of the 60s U.S. Army aimed to spy on reporters and politicians. Their weapon of choice? Fake pizza deliveries.
In Amherst, Massachusetts, a man posed as a backstage crew for Bob Dylan and executed a pizza prank order.
He ordered 148 pizzas worth about $4,000. However, he never returned for the pickup nor the payment of the pizzas.
Vinnie's Pizzeria made a pizza box out of real pizza.
Located in Brookly, New York, the pizzeria found an environment-friendly alternative to thrown-out cardboard pizza boxes. The Pizza Box Pizza costs $45 per order and is also available for delivery.
Crazy Pedro's made a Cadbury Creme Egg Pizza.
The British pizzeria turned dreams into reality in 2016. Joining the chocolate egg topping are brownies, chocolate sauce, and marshmallows.
Domino's founder Tom Monaghan has a degree in pizza-ology.
After starting the pizza chain in 1960, Monaghan initiated a business management program called Domino’s College of Pizza-ology in the 1980s. It made him one of the only three people in the world to hold such a degree.
In 1993, Domino’s ‘30 Minutes or Less’ slogan was subject to a series of lawsuits.
People sued the pizza chain for allegedly ‘promoting unsafe driving,’ forcing Domino’s to drop the guarantee. Still, the slogan remains great for businesses in other countries like Turkey.
In 2017, Domino’s opened up for wedding registry.
Along with the baby registry, this option allowed pizza-lover couples and parents to register for their favorite pizza flavors.
Pizza Hut once aimed to engrave their logo on the moon by using lasers.
What changed their mind was the astronomers’ estimate that the image would have to be as big as Texas for it to be visible on Earth.
In 2012, Pizza Hut Canada released a limited-edition pizza perfume.
A press release defined the scent as ‘freshly baked, hand-tossed dough.’