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There’s no denying that pizza tastes, smells and looks delicious. It may even be your favorite food! This meal has become a world phenomenon ever since its inception. If you want to wow your next pizza night crowd, you can tell them some fun facts.
Here are a few pizza-centric talking points.
1. The First Pizzas Were Flatbreads
Did you know that ancient Greeks, Egyptians and Romans ate pizza long before its modern alternative came to fruition? They commonly consumed salted flatbread slathered with oils and herbs that resemble today’s focaccia. This food was usually accompanied by other items like meat, vegetables and cheese.
The appeal behind flatbread was accessibility and cost. A flatbread could be enjoyed rather quickly at a fair price. The food became even more convenient when people started to open bakeries in the late B.C. era.
2. Naples Invented Pizza in the 1800s
Here’s a quick lesson for anyone who thinks pizza comes from America. The meal was created in the 1800s in Naples, Italy. Like ancient citizens, Neapolitans required cheap, simple food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. That’s because many were working class, or “lazzaroni.”
As a necessity, Neapolitans took traditional flatbreads to another level. They added toppings like tomatoes, anchovies and cheese — and effectively turned flatbread into pizza. These pizzas were sold by vendors and restaurants that were basically fast-food spots.
3. American-Style Pizza Differs From All Others
The world eats pizza differently. A lot has changed since Naples circa the late 1800s. These days, you can find hundreds of crust styles, topping variations and more. The U.S. is a place where people often discover both whacky and delicious combinations.
For instance, Chicago, Illinois is famous for its deep-dish crust to a point where people from distant countries visit in order to try an authentic slice. Options like cheeseburger pizza and Hawaiian pizza are also uniquely American.
You won’t find those choices in Italy!
4. Pepperoni Is Most People’s Favorite Topping
This fact may not be a surprise. It turns out that pepperoni is the most popular topping in the U.S. This option is followed by sausage, mushroom and bacon. The most unpopular picks include anchovies, eggplant, pineapple and artichokes.
What’s your favorite pizza topping?
5. Pizza Margherita Has a Queen as Its Namesake
If you’ve ever had pizza Margherita, you know it’s simple yet tasty. It’s made with red sauce, mozzarella cheese and basil leaves. Yum! This pizza style also has an interesting background story — and it has nothing to do with margaritas.
In 1889, Margherita of Savoy traveled to Naples with her husband, King Umberto I. The couple had recently been to France, and the queen consort was looking for better food than she’d eaten on her journey. To satisfy her appetite, Margherita asked Raffaele Esposito, Italy’s most famous pizza maker, if he’d make her a pizza.
When all was said and done, Margherita decided that the one she liked best had that same sauce, cheese and basil. This type of pizza adopted her first name as its namesake. This story does have a few disputes, but it’s the most widely held theory of how pizza Margherita got its name.
6. Tokyo’s Pizza Selection Reaches Far and Wide
If you really want to wow your guests with your pizza knowledge, you should learn about Japan’s relationship with the cheesy flatbread. It may not seem like a country famous for its sushi and ramen would be the one to create world-renowned pizza, but that’s where you’d be wrong.
In the past 20 years, Tokyo specifically has evolved into a hot spot for pizza lovers. The city’s chefs make their own version of the classic Neapolitan pie, which features that traditional thin crust. It’s said that these pizzas rival even New York’s best. Who knew?
7. Pizza First Came to America in the 1900s
It didn’t take too long for pizza to make its way to America. Gennaro Lombardi opened the country’s first pizzeria in New York City in 1905. As Italians came in droves to settle in neighbors on the East Coast, they brought their favorite foods with them.
The meal’s popularity didn’t explode until after World War II — and it’d only be a few years after that that frozen pizza hit grocery store shelves. Then, pizza restaurants like Pizza Hut began to open up across America. And that’s the evolution of pizza in America!
8. One in Eight Americans Eat on Any Given Day
There’s no denying that Americans eat a lot of pizza. But do you know how much? It turns out that one in eight Americans are eating pizza on any given day. That’s 13% of the U.S. population. It’s not exactly the healthiest food, but you can best believe that Americans adore it despite that fact.
Wow Your Fellow Pizza Lovers With This Knowledge
From ancient civilizations’ eating habits to Japan’s famous pizza scene, there’s a lot to learn about one of the world’s most favorite foods. Share these facts and stories with your next pizza night crew to start a conversation.