Who can we thank for our something-for-everyone, have-it-your-way slice? The word “pizza” itself goes back to 997 CE, first mentioned in a Latin text written in southern Italy. Alexandre Dumas, author of The Three Musketeers, noted in 1835 that the Naples, Italy-based poor ate nothing but pizza in the winter. Some historical accounts date it back to 1889, when it came onto the scene further in Naples for Italian King Umberto I and Queen Margherita (a possible ode to margherita-style pizza) during their travels. The first pizza parlor in the United States is Lombardi’s in New York City. That opened in 1905 (thank you Italian immigrants).
When it comes to pizza, there’s no such thing as standard. There truly is something for everyone baked within the deep dish, thin, stuffed crusts of our beloved pizza pies, and the long-standing history of pizza isn’t without its quirks, fun facts and wild ingredients. The LloydPans team shouts our praises to National Pizza Month with our top five oddities we love about pizza.
- Pizza is one of the few foods primed for any time of day. Craving something savory for breakfast? There’s a pizza for that. Need the perfect leftover for a quick lunch or dinner? Yep, pizza serves that purpose. Want something quick for the kids before soccer practice that will bring the family together? You guessed it — pizza. Pizza’s versatility, whether it’s piping hot straight out of the oven or a refrigerated midnight snack craving, makes it a very special meal into itself.
- Pizza’s toppings are, shall we say, unlimited. Pizza Today unveiled its top toppings list at the beginning of the year, and it’s an eclectic bunch. The list trails off into just about everything: fried chicken, duck, sauerkraut, Memphis brisket and tater tots. Favorite toppings, according to a YouGov survey, vary from region to region and age range — for instance, people in the West love that controversial pineapple, but those 55 or older didn’t favor it nearly as much. Anchovies, strawberries and Peeps (yes, the Easter candy) also made that list.
- Americans are pizza crazed! We know Americans love their ‘za, but the numbers are quite astounding. Pizza.com reports about 3 billion pizzas are sold annually in the U.S.; 94% of Americans report eating pizza regularly and 93% say they have eaten pizza in the last month. The largest pizza ever made was 122 ft. 8 in. in diameter. The pizza needed 9,920 lbs. of flour, 198 lbs. of salt, 3968 lbs. of cheese and 1,984 lbs. of tomato puree.
- The most expensive pizza created held a price tag of $2,754. The Valentine pizza was created by restaurateur Domenico Crolla and included toppings such as sun blush-tomato sauce, Scottish smoked salmon, medallions of venison, edible gold, lobster marinated in cognac and champagne-soaked caviar. Not to be outdone by “the world’s most extravagant pizza,” New York’s Nino’s Bellissima restaurant’s “Luxury Pizza” retails at $1,000 (or $125 a slice). The 12-incher is topped with six varieties of caviar, chives, fresh lobster and creme fraiche.
- Pizza boxes became tattooed for charity. In conjunction with fashion designer and tattoo artist Ed Hardy, Tony Gemignani of San Francisco-based Pizza Napoletana created 10,000 custom pizza boxes adorned with collectible Ed Hardy artwork. Three dollars from the Naples-style pizza box sale went toward three charities: Harqua Foundation, Basketball City (New York) and St. Anthony’s Kitchen. All three charities benefit children’s organizations, food banks and shelters. The vegetarian pizza retailed for $21 (collectors box included).
Don’t forget LloydPans for all of your pizza pan and pizza accessory needs throughout National Pizza Month and beyond! If you’re particularly excited about your latest concoction, don’t forget to snap a pic or video (who doesn’t like to see piping hot steam in action?), share and use #NationalPizzaMonth to post on social media. Because after all, pizza does rank among the most posted food of all time on Instagram. Who can argue with the pizza-loving masses?