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Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Pizza

HISTORY

A dish that resembled pizza was common in Roman times and called "focaccia".

The word ‘pizza’ is over 1000 years old. They were first found in Latin text in Naples, Italy in 997AD. These pizzas were herb and spice covered circles of dough that were cooked in a hot oven. They were served up as a snack or appetizer.

If you choose a looser definition of pizza as flat bread with toppings strewn on it, there is evidence that the Persian army around 500 AD used their shields to cook flat bread in this way out in the field. The soldiers would then cover the bread with things like cheese and dates for a quick meal.

The first pizza restaurant, Antica Pizzeria Port'Alba, opened in Naples in 1830. The oven in which the pizzas at Port 'Alba was cooked was lined with lava from Mount Vesuvius.

Pizzeria Port Alba in Naples
The Neapolitan pizzamaker Raffaele Esposito created the Pizza Margherita on June 11, 1889, to honour the Queen consort of Italy, Margherita of Savoy. The pizza was garnished with tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil, to represent the national colors of Italy as on the Italian flag.

Pizza Margherita, the archetype of Neapolitan pizza

Gennaro Lombardi received a licence for the first pizzeria in North America on November 14, 1905. He opened it at 53½ Spring Street, in Little Italy,  New York City and soon had a loyal clientele, including Italian tenor Enrico Caruso. Others pizzerias quickly following in the Italian communities around the city.

Ike Sewell of Chicago created the Deep Dish Pizza in 1943 by combining traditional Italian pizza recipes with large quantities of the finest meats, spices, vegetables and cheeses. He opened Pizzeria Uno in Chicago as a restaurant specializing in his Deep Dish Pizza and it soon had more customers than he could handle.

Greek-born, Canadian-bred pizza maker Sam Panopoulos came up with the pineapple-topped “Hawaiian Pizza,” in 1962.  Panopoulos arrived in the Ontario town of Chatham with his brothers in 1956 where they opened a diner together. They called their eater the Satellite and attempting to distinguish his fare from his competitors, the brothers served customers pizza with things like anchovies, olives and rice. In 1962 Panopoulos had the idea of putting pineapple and ham on a pizza naming it after the brand of canned pineapple he had taken off the shelf.

Pizza Express opened its first English restaurant at Wardour Street, London in 1965.

CONSUMPTION 

Each man, woman and child in America eats an average of 46 slices (23 pounds) of pizza a year.



About 75 acres of pizza are eaten in America every day.

Americans will buy 12.5 million pizzas on Super Bowl Sunday, with an average order value of $26.45.

The average large pizza from Dominos and Pizza Hut in Japan costs $35. Delivery pizza is considered a luxury.

VARIETIES

Fifty percent of the pizzas sold in the United States have pepperoni on them.

The Hawaiian Pizza was invented in Canada, and is the most popular pizza in Australia, accounting for 15% of pizza sales.

In 2005 the Italian Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, insulted Finnish cuisine and joked that Finns ate “marinated reindeer”. In 2008, Finland won an international pizza contest, beating Italy. The name of the winning pizza was “Pizza Berlusconi” which was made of smoked reindeer.

According to Domino's, some of the more popular international toppings are pickled ginger, minced mutton and tofu in India, squid and Mayou Jaga (mayonnaise, potato and bacon) in Japan, and green peas in Brazil.

RECORDS 

The world's most expensive pizza can be found in The Industry Kitchen restaurant in New York’s South Street Seaport. The pie, topped with 24-karat gold leaves, foie gras, truffles and dollops of caviar costs $2,000 - that’s a hefty $250 a slice.


The most expensive delivery was made in 2001 when Pizza Hut made a delivery to the International Space Station. They paid the Russians $1 million to transport the pizza.

In May 2016, Pizza Hut delivered a pepperoni pizza to the top of Kilimanjaro. This was the world’s highest pizza delivery and celebrated Tanzania becoming the 100th country with a Pizza Hut restaurant.

The world's longest pizza was created by over 100 volunteers at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California on June 18, 2017. They managed to achieve a total length of 1,930.39 m (6,333 ft 3.60 in). The enormous pizza, which was made using 3,632 kg of dough, 1,634 kg of cheese and 2,542 kg of sauce.

FUN PIZZA FACTS

Pizza delivery drivers have more dangerous jobs than firefighters, statistically speaking.


There are approximately 61,269 pizzerias in the United States (as at March 2015).

Approximately two-thirds of all U.S. households have at least one frozen pizza in their freezer.

15% of people prefer eating their pizza cold.

Bill Murray used to work at a Little Caesars pizza shop in Illinois; he says it's the best job he's ever had.

Source Food For Thought by Ed Pearce

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