Pizza is a big and tasty business in America; luscious and lip-smacking. In 2015, $38.5 billion worth of pizza was sold nationwide, according to Pizza magazine.
The story of America’s love relationship with pizza began in 1905 in New York City—not Italy. Drum roll, please. Put your hands together for Gennaro Lombardi—then say a thank-you prayer. Lombardi opened America’s first pizza parlor. His sidekick, Antonio Pero, is credited with being the pizzaiolo or pizza maker. More applause warranted. Granted, both men made a different type of pizza in Naples before heading to the USA. Kudos to the original pizza makers in Italy as well.
The word pizza is Italian for pie, according to dictionary.com/e/whats-the-origin-of-pizza/.
However, others recognize Giovanni and Gennaro Bruno, brothers from Naples who arrived in America in 1903, and introduced the Neapolitan pizza. In 1943, Chicago deep dish pizza was born. And the rest is pizza history.
Go back far enough into history and you may find that Eve and Adam created the first veggie pizza—baked on a flat rock in the sunshine.
And yes, there is a publication called Pizza magazine. You don’t eat it—you read it.
More and more consumers in the USA desire healthier pizza pies. Technomic’s Pizza Consumer Trend Report found that 43 percent like their preferred pizza restaurant because it uses high-quality, fresh ingredients, and 64 percent want more pizzerias to offer premium ingredients.
Modern-day taste buds are interested in the tantalizing taste and type of the crusted concoctions customized with a list of myriad ingredients. And the freshness and amounts of toppings. And the cost.
Americans love their pizza. Takeout or dine-in pizza. Cold leftover pizza slices or warmed up in microwave pizza slices. Frozen, fresh, gourmet, homemade, from a box—pizza freaks munch and crunch their pies.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, those four courageous amphibious crime-fighters in masks, loved pizza. Probably part of their adolescent DNA.
Sing the Krusty Krab pizza song along with SpongeBob. Go pizza wild!
Americans are emotionally invested in this food of plenty. Happy flows from head to toes when we gobble the gooey goodness. Get your pizza mood on!
Pizza is also a popular route for would-be Guinness World Record holders and record breakers. In 2018, a super cheesy pizza with 111 different types of cheese was a record breaker in Germany. Shazam! I didn’t know the world had that many types of cheese.
Our brains have stored up lots of pizza memories: pizza served at birthday parties, slumber parties, graduation parties.
And don’t forget how we love to chew pizza while watching Super Bowl games and Ohio State Buckeye games.
Saturday, Feb. 9, 2019 is National Pizza Pie Day in the United States of America. That’s how much we commemorate and celebrate pizza. A whole day (24 happy hours) to honor the mouthwatering grub. #NationalPizzaDay. How could Americans ever live without the crusty-saucy-cheesy combination of yum?
What’s for dinner tonight? Pizza. Thin crust, well-done with pepperoni, black olives, and pineapple.
Melissa Martin, Ph.D., is an author, columnist, and educator. She lives in Ohio. melissamartinchildrensauthor.com.