National Pizza week affords the ideal opportunity to indulge in one of America’s favorite comfort foods (as if we needed an excuse).
That New Year’s resolution to diet and eat better will be sorely tested this week: It’s National Pizza week.
While Super Bowl Sunday ranks as America’s No. 1 day for pizza (it is estimated that pizza delivery drivers log roughly four-million days that day alone), National Pizza week affords the ideal opportunity to indulge in one of America’s favorite comfort foods (as if we needed an excuse).
It may be impolitic to bring up health matters during National Pizza Week. But a report last year released by the Department of Agriculture (whose writers, I’ll wager, ordered in for pizza while working on the study) found that on a typical pizza pie-eating day, pizza accounts for 39 percent of our saturated fat and 744 calories (a McDonald’s double quarter-pounder with cheese has 750).
But neither fat, nor salt, nor carbs can keep Americans from their appointed pizza rounds. The Pizza Joint in Stowe, Vermont, winner of something called the Healthy Pizza Competition in Montreal (but don’t hold that against it) has served up some tantalizing pizza facts that attest to America’s pizza love:
- Pizza is a $30 billion per year industry
- Three are approximately 61,269 pizzerias in the U.S.
- Americans eat approximately 350 slices of pizza per second
- Each man, woman and child in America eats an average of 23 pounds (or 46 slices) of pizza a year.
- Pizza sales comprise more than 10 percent of all food service sales.
- A 1990 Gallup poll found that children anointed pizza as their No. 1 meal choice.
- America’s favorite pizza topping: Pepperoni (almost four-in-ten of all pizza orders)
- America’s least favorite pizza topping: Anchovies
- Toppings around the world: In Japan, eel and squid are favorites. Pakistanis go for curry, whle Russians top their pizza with red herring.
The story of pizza is ages-old. Its origins date back to prehistoric times. But pizza as we know it is said to have originated in about 1889, when Queen Margherita, accompanied by husband Umberto 1, became enamored with a peasant food that consisted of toppings on a large flat bread. She charged a local chef to create a version of this pizza bread for her. Inspired by the red, white and green colors of the Italian flag, he created a pizza topped with tomatoes, Mozzarella and fresh basil. The rest is culinary history.
Enjoy your week, pizza. We know we will.
Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.
A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.