Nearly everyone loves pizza. Whether it’s your kids clamoring for slices on a Saturday night or your coworkers adding just one more to their plates at an office luncheon, pizza’s a winner. But did you ever stop to wonder about the origins of this delicious staple? With these pizza facts, we’ll take you beyond “it’s Italian, duh” so you can have an intelligent debate while dividing up your next pie.
It IS Italian
Phew, anything else would have been a bad surprise. What you might not know is that pizza was probably originally just toppings layered on top of focaccia bread. The food is truly ancient. In fact, it’s said that the word “pizza” dates back to 997 AD.
Residents of Naples added tomato during the 18th century and presto! What most of us think of as pizza was born.
Pizza has always been a global food
Pizza isn’t only Italian. At least if you think of it as a flatbread with a topping. You’ll find similar concepts around the world in places like Greece, Lebanon, India and elsewhere. It’s the addition of tomato or tomato sauce that really makes pizza pizza. Especially when you consider that the Japanese put squid on theirs and, in Poland, people once used ketchup instead of tomato sauce.
It used to be sweet
Sure, we have dessert pizza options these days, but did you know that pizza used to be sweet by default? True story. Something changed in the late 19th century, though, and our salty side was suddenly satisfied.
Royalty popularized pizza in Italy
While pizza was already popular among Italian peasants, the upper class wouldn’t touch it until Raffaele Esposito cooked up a pie for Queen Margherita (and she liked it). The Pizza Margherita (in the colors of the Italian flag, of course) was born.
Some pizza is still priced for royalty
Though Queen Margherita’s pizza was likely free, she probably would have been among the select few who could afford today’s luxury pizzas on a regular basis. In 2017 New York’s Industry Kitchen crafted a pizza that sells for $2,000. Coated with 24-karat gold and caviar, you could get a slice for $250. If you think that’s a bargain, you should check out the Louis XIII. Created by Renato Viola in Salerno, this $12,000 pie features lobster and three different kinds of caviar.
Pizza has been sold in the US since 1905
A grocery store called Lombardi’s is credited as the first place to sell pizza in the US. Interestingly, it didn’t really catch on among the masses. The food was mostly enjoyed by Italian immigrants until…
World War II popularized pizza in the US
When American soldiers returned from Europe after the war, they brought a taste for pizza with them. Thank goodness.
Online pizza orders started in 1994
Of course, back then you could only order from one place. And considering the lag on a dial-up connection, you might have starved to death before you even finished the order. Thankfully, these days you can select from scores of pizza places on Uber Eats.
Italy holds the Guinness World Record for the biggest pizza in the world
Back in 2012 in Rome, a team led by Dovilio Nardi broke the record for the world’s biggest pizza with their pie measuring 13,580.28 sq. ft. This impressive feat called for 5,000 batches of dough to be baked over 48 hours. What dedication!
2/5 Americans eat pizza once a week
According to a 2014 study by Technomic, our nation eats 350 slices per second. Sounds delicious, but at that rate it’s hard to remember to chew before swallowing.
Super Bowl Sunday should be called Pizza Day
Ready for more pizza trivia? Super Bowl Sunday is the single most popular day of the year for pizza delivery. Remember that next time you think your guests will be satisfied with chips and dip. It makes sense to have something like Uber Eats pre-loaded on your phone before the big game, so you can satisfy your houseful of hungry fans with the tap of an app (and not miss any important plays in the process).
Gluten-free pizza is widely available
If we’re honest, the last of our fun pizza facts is more of something to celebrate. Even a few years ago being gluten-free meant pizza was off the menu for you. But these days major pizza chains have gluten-free options. Not to mention the specialty pizza parlors in your neighborhood. Hooray!
Mouth watering after all those awesome facts about pizza? Open Uber Eats and check out who’s cooking what you’re craving right now.