Pizza has a rich history, dating back centuries and dotted around the world. Here are some fun facts about pizza that you might not know.
Let’s start with breaking down how much pizza we all eat – it’s a lot. Did you know that the average American eats 6000 slices of pizza in their lifetime? 40 percent of Americans eat pizza at least once a week. In fact, Americans consume about 350 slices of pizza a second. And pizzerias represent about 17% of all restaurants in the United States. But what about Italians, the originators or pizza? Well, 1.6 billion pizzas are eaten in Italy each year, but we have to assume a significant percentage of that number comes from tourists making their pizza pilgrimages.
To Everything There is a Season
Even pizza! It turns out, pizza sales are the highest on Halloween, New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day, Super Bowl Sunday, and the day before Thanksgiving (cementing the day’s status as the day no one wants to cook). In the US, October is national pizza month.
Where does the word pizza come from? It first instance of use was in a Latin text from the year 997. It was added to English dictionaries in 1935. Opinions differ about the origin of the word, but it has similarities to the Latin word for “to pound” and a Medieval Greek word for cake or pie. And, in Old High German, the word pizzo meant bite or morsel.
Frozen Pizza Fun Facts
The first frozen pizza was introduced in 1962, but the dinner-saving staple we all know and love wasn’t perfected until Rose Totino (yes, that Totino) tried her hand at it. Frozen pizza quickly became a sensation, and by 1975 Totino’s Fine Foods had sold to Pillsbury for more than $20 million.
The E in Chuck E. Cheese stands for entertainment. This isn’t strictly about pizza, but it is hilarious.
In 2001, Pizza Hut delivered a pizza to the International Space Station. We’re pretty sure it wasn’t still hot when it got there. Slice doesn’t deliver to space – yet.
The World Pizza Championships began in 1991. They were organized to test the world’s best pizza makers, but they also include events like fastest pizza maker, freestyle acrobatics, and largest dough stretch. They are held annually in Parma, Italy. So get to practicing – maybe you, too, can be a pizza champion.
Hero or Villain?
The Hawaiian pizza was not, in fact, invented in Hawaii. It was invented by Sam Panopoulos in 1962 in, wait for it, CANADA.