Pizza! The very word makes your mouth water. The cheesy goodness and almost infinite choice of toppings. While it’s one of the most popular foods on the planet, not many people know about its fascinating history. Are you ready to learn some surprising and delicious pizza facts?
1) More than 23 pounds of pizza are eaten every year by the average American.
2) Historians believe the first pizza was invented in Naples in the 1500s. Lower-income people would put slices of tomatoes on dough with a cheese topping.
3) In 1905 the first pizzeria opened in New York City (Lombardi’s). Although seen as a foreign food at this time, many other pizzerias soon opened in the coming years. It was in the 1940s that pizza became popular.
4) The first use of the word “pizza” is from 997 CE. A manuscript in the small Italian town of Gaeta contains the word, according to food historian Giuseppe Nocca.
5) In the United States about 350 slices of pizza are eaten every second. That’s 21,000 slices in one minute!
6) In New York State there are about 9,000 pizzerias.
7) During the late ‘60s, U.S. Army used fake pizza deliveries to spy on reporters and politicians.
8) The record for the largest pizza in the world is 122 feet and 8 inches in diameter, according to the Guinness World Records.
9) The most popular ethnic food in America is Italian.
10) Some common toppings in Japan are corn, mayo, and squid. In Brazil you can find green peas on pizza. While in China there is a popular crust made with mini hot dogs. If you go to Sweden, you’ll see bananas and curry as toppings. Over in Cambodia there are “happy pizzas” topped with marijuana.
11) Jean-Claude Van Damme got his start delivering pizzas. Stephen Baldwin and Bill Murray both worked at pizza restaurants before becoming famous.
12) Pizza teams from around the world compete in dough-spinning competitions at the World Pizza Championships.
13) For kids aged 3 to 11, pizza is the most popular choice for lunch and dinner.
14) Every year over five billion pizzas are sold worldwide.
15) Drum roll! The most popular pizza topping in the United States is pepperoni. Next are mushrooms, sausage, ham, and green peppers.
"Every pizza is a personal pizza if you try hard and believe in yourself."
— Bill Murray