It’s a fact, folks, pizza is America’s numero uno fast food. 93% of all Americans eat pizza at least once a month. That includes the littlies and those in retirement homes. The celebrated delicious disc has become their most loved food, thereby dethroning the beloved hamburger—quite a thought.
There is even an entire magazine dedicated to this cheesy, delicious tomatoey delight – Pizza Today, which was established in 1984. And October is pizza month – it’s actually a thing! So, how did this happen? In the early 1900’s an Italian by the name of Guiseppe Papa opened what is now the longest-running pizza restaurant in the US, in New Jersey. It is called Papa’s Tomato Pies, if you’re keen on bragging rights and find yourself in that part of the world one day …
The first pizzas in New York City were baked in the domed oven of a restaurant called Lombardi’s in Little Italy in 1905. A pizza cost 5c back then. And in 1964, a family with the surname “Pizza” (not joking) started to produce and sell the first frozen pizzas. Because frozen pizzas are so delicious and convenient, they have just about become the staple diet in the US. After the Allied troops returned from World War II, having been exposed to Italy’s premier export product, pizza became an exotic novelty, associated with foreign lands. And soon it became synonymous with that handsome, somewhat rebellious young man sporting the crew cut, a tight white T-shirt and a pair of fitted, faded blue jeans. Imagine him cradling his pizza box between his arms on a Vespa scooter. A girl can only dream!
Not surprisingly then, alongside Thomas Jefferson’s desk and George Washington’s mesh kit, the Smithsonian Institute in Washington DC features a proud display of the history of pizza. Talk about having taken ownership of Italy’s pride and joy!
It is estimated that in the USA, 350 slices of pizza are sold every second. And at a mere $12 000, the most expensive pizza in the world is served in Salerno, Italy, in a restaurant called Luis XIII. The topping includes lobster and various types of caviar. The largest? The Guinness World Book of Records has recorded a pizza covering an area of 4 500 sq m. Speaking about books, Amazon lists more than 25 000 books on pizza.
Considering that many an aspiring (and maybe now-famous) actor has made a living off delivering our favourite food (Jean Claude van Damme was a piiza delivery boy!) we have many things for which to thank this flavourful, go-to meal. What would movie night be without a delicious Ital Pizza?
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