Did you know that there is a day dedicated to pizza? February 9 is National Pizza Day!
Before World War II, pizza was primarily consumed in Italy or by Italian immigrant communities. It was originally a niche cultural meal, but now is a staple in many homes in America as well. I had it weekly growing up and still consume it two to three times per month. Let’s learn about this fun holiday, even though we do not need an excuse to eat this delicious meal.
History of National Pizza Day
The premise of the pizza goes back a long way. Ancient Romans, Egyptians and Greeks all ate flatbreads that they put toppings on. The modern birthplace of the pizza is actually in Italy’s Campania region/Naples. In the 1700s and 1800s, there were many poor people and they needed inexpensive foods that they could eat quickly. Pizza met this need. It featured yummy toppings like cheese, tomatoes, oil and garlic.
Italy unified in 1861 and later on in 1889, King Umberto I and Queen Margherita visited Naples. According to legend, they grew bored of French cuisine during their travels and requested an assortment of pizzas instead. The Queen’s favorite was topped with red tomatoes, white cheese and green basil. This preference is where the Margherita pizza comes from as it features these toppings.
Even though the Queen loved pizza, it was still mostly unknown outside of Naples until the 1940s. Immigrants from Naples who moved to the United States began to replicate their flatbreads and the popularity began to spread.
In 1943, Chicago’s Pizzeria Uno invented the deep dish pizza and in 1958, Pizza the Hut was founded in Wichita, Kansas.
Fun pizza statistics
- 350 slices
Pizza is by far one of the most popular foods in America. About 350 slices are consumed every second.
- Pizzeria popularity.
17 percent of all of the restaurants located in the United States are pizzerias. Over 10 percent of these are in New York City.
- 251.7 million pounds
251.7 millions pounds of pepperoni are consumed by people in the United States each year.
- Two million pizzas!
The Super Bowl is a popular time to order pizza. Two million of them are sold by Pizza Hut during/for the game.
- The first pizzeria.
America’s first pizzeria was Lombardi’s. Its outlet is in New York.
- The most expensive pizza.
Chef Renato Viola in Italy produces the world’s most expensive pizza. It is called “Louis XIII.” It costs $12,000 and takes over 72 hours to make. When you order it, a pizza chef and sommelier arrive at your house along with exclusive limited-edition plates and cutlery. The crust is made 72 hours ahead of time and then they top the pizza with organic buffalo mozzarella, 7 other cheese varieties, three types of caviar, prawns from Cilento, Australian pink salt, lobster and mantis shrimp. You also get a bottle of vintage 1995 Krug Clos du Mesnil champagne and Remy Martin Cognac Louis XII.
Activities for National Pizza Day
- Have a pizza party.
People love pizza. Why not invite over a few friends and have a pizza party? You can make a night of it and have some fun.
- Try different kinds for different meals.
With how many different kinds of pizzas there are out there, you could have something that fits with each meal. You could make a breakfast pizza and begin your National Pizza Day with it!
- Try something completely new.
You probably have a favorite kind of pizza that you regularly buy. Today is a good day to try something new! Maybe you will find something that you like. If you have a certain kind that you have been curious about, today is a good day to give it a try. You can always order your favorite later.
Why pizza is so great
- There are options for everyone.
With so many choices out there, everyone can be sure to find a variety that they like. It can be easily adapted to different preferences, tastes and diets.
- It’s fun and nostalgic.
Pizza reminds us of what it's like to be a kid. Many of us had school pizza parties growing up that were always fun and exciting.
Grab your take-out menus and order some pizza tonight to celebrate National Pizza Day! Enjoy!