February 9 is National Pizza Day, and there might still be a few things you don’t know about America’s favorite food. Pizza is the most eaten food on Super Bowl Sunday…In 2022, an estimated 12.5 million pizzas were sold in the U.S. on Super Bowl game day, according to the American Pizza Community organization. And it’s expected to do the same this year, as well.
Pizza was first invented in Naples, Italy, where a slice was considered a fast, affordable meal on the go for working class Neapolitans. Italians that immigrated to the United States brought the idea along with them, with the first documented pizzeria Lombardi’s opening in New York in 1905. But the national pizza craze didn’t really start until after World War II. Soldiers returning from Italy shared their new love of the meal, as did immigrants both coming over and already living here. The world loved all things American after the war, and before long pizza was an international hit.
As a matter of fact, a recent Gallup poll reported that American children ages 3 to 11 prefer pizza over every other food! Adults are no different. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, about 13% of Americans eat pizza on any given day. Americans order 350 slices of pizza every second, amounting to almost 100 acres of pizza each day! Pepperoni is the most popular topping here in the US. Each year, we consume an average of around 250 million pounds of pepperoni.
But toppings vary by region and around the world. A common topping on pizza in Australia is eggs, and pizzas with the topping are referred to as “Aussie pizza.” Aussies usually include bacon as well. Instead of baking their pizzas, Scottish pizzerias offer slices to be deep-fried. In Japan, Mayo haga is a popular pizza, topped with onion, corn, potato, pancetta, paprika, and mayonnaise. Few people are neutral when it comes to the ever controversial Pineapple on pizza. But love it or hate it, pineapple is a popular ingredient on a Hawaiian pizza, typically paired with ham. The most popular pizza toppings in India are paneer (like cottage cheese), capsicum, mushroom, onion, corn, pepperoni, extra cheese, sausage, black olives, green pepper, and fresh garlic.
Pizza has gotten a bad rap as an unhealthy junk food, but when made right, it can be an amazing nutritional source. Lycopene is an antioxidant that may help prevent cancer and heart disease, and is prevalent in tomatoes (thus tomato sauce). The USDA also noted that a two-slice serving of pizza accounts for 37% of your daily recommended calcium consumption. And we eat a lot of cheese with our pizzas. In roughly a 25-year span, cheese consumption doubled due to the increase in pizza-eating in the US.
Here’s another interesting pizza math fact: When it comes to ordering pizzas, size matters! An 18-inch pizza offers more bites than two 12-inches. And as weird as it sounds, a 16-inch pizza is four times the size of the 8-inch pizza. The area of a circle increases with the diameter, so the larger the diameter of the pizza, the more pizza you get per slice.
Stop by a local restaurant today and celebrate, or check out this easy recipe to make your own at home!