The word “pizza” was first documented in the Italian city of Gaeta in 997 A.D. Most people wouldn’t guess it, but pizza originally started off as a dish for poor people, and it was sold in the streets. However, it gained worldwide popularity because it’s very easy to make and it offers infinite possibility of variation with its crusts, toppings, cheeses and sauces. Take a look below for 30 more fun and interesting facts about pizza.
1. 94% of Americans eat pizza regularly.
2. The Margherita Pizza is named for Margherita of Savoy. She was the Queen consort of Italy from 1878 to 1900 during the reign of her husband, King Umberto I.
3. On average, each person in the United States eats 23 pounds of pizza ever year.
4. 1 in 8 Americans eat pizza on any given day.
5. Almost 4 billion pizzas are sold in the United States each year.
6. October is the National Pizza Month, which is celebrated by people visiting various pizza shops or pizzerias. The Pizza Month was first designated in October 1987 by Gerry Durnell, who was also the founder of Pizza Today Magazine.
7. The outer edge of the pizza is called cornicione, which means the cornice or the molding. It’s not called the crust, as that’s the name for the base that the toppings are added to.
8. The term “pizza” appeared in a Latin text from the southern Italian town of Gaeta in 997 A.D. The text read that a tenant of a certain property had to give the bishop of Gaeta “duodecim pizze,” or 12 pizzas, ever Christmas day, and another 12 on Easter Sunday.
9. Tomatoes weren’t always a crucial component in pizza toppings.
10. In Italy, pizzas are served as one whole. The small Neapolitan pizzas are cut into squares or rectangles from a large tray, called pizza al taglio. The large, round pies you find in New York are an American invention.
11. Italy has a pizza vending machine. For $6, the “Let’s Pizza” machine makes a fresh, not frozen, 10.5 inch pizza of your choice and bakes it in front of you within 3 minutes.
12. In 2005, the Prime Minister of Italy, Silvio Berlusconi, insulted Finnish cuisine. Later, in 2008, a Finnish pizza won an international pizza contest coming first before Italy in second and Australia in third. The name of the first place pizza was “Pizza Berlusconi.”
13. You should always order the bigger pizza. While an 8 inch pizza is roughly 50 square inches, a 16 inch pizza is 200 square inches, which is 4 times bigger but most pizza places charge by radius and don’t consider the overall area of the pizza. An NPR study found that one 20 inch pizza is actually bigger than two 14 inch pizzas, but is also, on average, $9 cheaper.
14. In the first real world transaction with bitcoin, a programmer paid 10,000 bitcoins for 2 large Papa John’s pizzas.
15. The first commercial pizza was created in Italy during the 18th century. These pizzas didn’t actually resemble the pizza of today. They were plain, flat, round breads that were sold to the poor at a cheap price. The vendors in Naples would call these crust breads, “pizza.”
16. After World War II, the pizza gained popularity around the world. Soldiers who fought in Italy gained a taste for the bread, mozzarella combo and brought it back to their home countries.
17. The Hawaiian Pizza was invented in Canada and it’s the most popular pizza in Australia, accounting for 15% of pizza sales.
18. Domino’s sold as many pizzas during OJ Simpson’s car chase as it did on Superbowl Sunday.
19. A convicted murderer named Philip Workman declined a last meal, instead requesting a large vegetarian pizza be given to a homeless person in Nashville. His request was refused, but in response, people all over the state donated pizzas to homeless shelters.
20. Frozen pizza is so popular in Norway that when a popular brand released a new jingle, it reached number 1 on the Norwegian charts.
21. A Detroit style pizza is a style of chewy pizza that’s baked in a square pan, which is often not a pizza pan but instead a tray that was originally made to hold small industrial parts in factories.
22. An airline pilot ordered 30 pizzas for his passengers, after finding out that they would be delayed 2 hours for weather. The pizzas were delivered within 30 minutes by Domino’s and were cleared by security and sent directly to the plane in an official airport vehicle.
23. Little Caesar’s makes only a $0.90 profit on a $5 hot and ready pizza. $3.50 goes to the ingredients and $0.60 for the overhead.
24. In 1995, Boris Yeltsin, the then President of Russia, when visiting Washington D.C., was found drunk in his underwear trying to hail a cab to find pizza.
25. In 1991, Marshall Ledbetter, an American photographer, blockaded himself in the Florida State Capitol building and demanded, among other things, a large Gumby’s pizza, weed, 666 donuts, $100 worth of Chinese food, and a phone call with Ice Cube.
26. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, McDonalds brought in the McPizza as part of their dinner menu. Customers who were used to fast service were irritated by the long wait times for the made to order pizza and it was discontinued. Some franchises were left with pizza ovens that they paid $50,000 for.
27. There is a pizza place in Alaska that delivers pizzas to remote areas by plane, with no charge for delivery.
28. A popular dish in Scotland is a frozen pizza folded in half, dipped in batter and deep fried. It’s usually served with salt and vinegar.
29. A woman who ordered pizza every day for 3 years straight was saved by a delivery woman, named Susan Guy, when she didn’t place an order for 3 days.
30. The first pizzeria, named Lombardi’s Pizza in the United States, opened in 1905 and it still runs to this day. It even offered $0.05 pizza’s for its 100th birthday.