Pizza. It deserves a sentence all of its own. It’s 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 scrumptious, but it’s also a wonder to look at and delightful to smell. And it’s something you can eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert….or even a midnight snack.
Here at TJ’s Take and Bake Pizza, we’ve combed the web for engaging snippets, fun facts, and some offbeat pizza trivia. From The Guinness Book of World Records for pizza delivery to space, to the number of slices we feast on per year, to the largest collection of unique pizza boxes….brace yourself to add a new wrinkle to your forehead as you learn a few things you didn’t know about pizza.
How Much Pizza Do We Eat?
Worldwide, pizza is a favorite, with people of every culture producing their own distinctive adaptations on this tasty pie. But no country devours more pizza per capita, than (surprisingly) Norway, where the average person consumes 11 pizzas per person each year.
Here in the U.S., we capture second place by eating nearly 350 slices of pizza every second.
Regarding dollars and cents, pizza is a $40 billion industry in the U.S. according to Pizza Today, a foodservice guide for pizzerias. And 93 percent of the population eats pizza, says Thought Catalog (a self-improvement site) with the average American enjoying 46 slices per year.
Celebrating Dates Surrounding Pizza
Time to mark your calendars, pizza lovers! If you want to celebrate your fondness for pizza, we have several days (and an entire month!) set aside each year to proclaim our love for the pie, including these:
- The month of October is National Pizza Month
- February 9: Pizza Day
- April 5: National Deep Dish Pizza Day
- September 5: National Cheese Pizza Day
- September 20: National Pepperoni Pizza Day
- October 11: National Sausage Pizza Day
- November 12: National Pizza with the Works, Except Anchovies Day
Guinness World Records About Pizza
The largest pizza Guiness 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. Five pizza makers collaborated on the huge pizza in honor of the first Roman emperor, Octavian Augustus.
In June 2017, Guiness awarded the record for the longest pizza in Fontana, California, where more than 100 people worked together over a 54-hour period to construct, prepare, and bake the gigantic pie which measured more than 6,300 feet long. Other imposing numbers about this particular pizza include 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 longest pizza invited several local charities to join in eating it.
Image from Guinness World Of Records
Highest Pizza Toss
The highest pizza toss is a fun record. Joe Carlucca earned this one all the way back in April of 2006, when he tossed a pizza 6.52 meters in the air (more than 21.3 feet) at the Mall of America in Minneapolis while filming for Food Network.
Highest Altitude Pizza Delivery
Pizza Hut holds the record for the highest altitude pizza delivery. In May 2016, when celebrating the opening of the first Pizza Hut in Tanzania, the pizza giant delivered a pie to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro at the breathtaking height of 19,347 feet.
Longest Collection of Pizza Boxes
Scot Weiner, 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 boxes in his New York City apartment.
Pizza and Technology Facts
In 2001, Pizza Hut made the first delivery to outer space delivering a 6-inch salami pizza to the International Space Station.
Long before that, in 1947, 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 pizza while in space and help them feel like they have a slice of home while they are a billion light years away.
Quite a bit of slang surrounds this popular dish. Thanks to First We Feast, here are some pizza slang terms that you might want to add to 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 beginnings of the pizza crust
- Doughnut: In the pizza world 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
- Leopard Spotting: Primarily occurring in wood-fired ovens, Leopard 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
- 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 (north) New Jersey to describe a perfect pie
Odd History About Pizza
Plenty of unusual history tidbits exist, including these:
One of the quirkiest pizza facts you’re likely to come across is this: There is a mathematical theorem, the pizza theorem, named after pizza. It goes like this:
If a circular pizza is divided into 8, 12, 16 …. Slices by making cuts at equal angles from an arbitrary point, then the sums of the areas of alternate slices are equal.
Pizza was originally a peasant’s meal with pizzerias opening in the 1830s in Naples. Later, when visiting royalty tried the dish and loved it, it became not only fashionable but a common menu item in restaurants throughout Italy.
Traced to Naples
The rich history of pizza (in its present form) can be traced to Naples in the 1800s. While technically an independent kingdom at the time it had a large population of working poor
The Reason behind Selling Pizza Slices
While pizza’s roots trace back to Italy, you won’t find pizza slices there. In fact, Italian pizza comes as a whole pie (smallish) rather than in slices.
The large round pies found in New York are an American invention, enlarged versions of Neapolitan pizza. Early New York pizza sellers sold whole pies for around five cents. But for those who couldn’t afford a whole pie, the sellers cut them into wedges and sold them for a couple of cents a piece; the New York style slice was born.
According to a recent Huffington Post article, 37 percent of Americans order a plain pizza. However, the top 10 favorite pizza toppings are as follows:
- Extra cheese (it’s a topping too!)
- Black olives
- Green Peppers
The endless variety is part of the wide allure of pizza. Culture around the world can build on the elements of a pizza and add their touches, flavors, and styles to enjoy new creations.
We hope you’ve enjoyed these interesting and fun pizza facts. More importantly, we hope they’ve made you hungry for, you guessed it….pizza!