No Matter How You Slice It - National Pizza Day Is Worth Celebrating
by M. C. Millman
What better time than National Pizza Day, celebrated on February 9, to learn some fun facts about this centuries-old favorite food - presently holding first place as the world's favorite fast food with over three billion pizzas sold each year in the U.S. alone?
This means Americans eat an average of 46 slices or 23 pounds of pizza over a year.
Pizza had a hard time rising to first place as it was associated with poor people. Pizzas were sold to laborers who needed food that was quick and cheap. Street vendors met that need by cutting slices sized according to the customer's budget. Samuel Morse, the inventor of the telegraph, described pizza in 1831 as a 'species of the most nauseating cake … covered over with slices of pomodoro or tomatoes, and sprinkled with little fish and black pepper and I know not what other ingredients, it all together looks like a piece of bread that has been taken reeking out of the sewer'.
Today pizza has risen from the sewer and is no longer looked down on. Studies show that one out of every eight Americans eats pizza, with men more likely than women to consume it.
Although the most popular day for digging into pizza is statistically Sunday, in the Jewish world - Thursday seems to be the top choice. And Super Bowl Sunday is the most popular day of the year for eating pizza.
According to a study that used the Yale Food Addiction Scale, pizza is ranked as the food most associated with addictive eating behaviors, which explains why pizza sales account for more than $45 billion in annual sales, which includes the $6 billion of frozen pizza purchased annually as two out of every three homes eat frozen pizza regularly.
New York is second only to California when it comes to the number of pizza stores in the state.
To put a more modern twist on the ancient pizza, scientists have taught an AI system how to make a pizza using a picture to figure out the recipe.
Until that becomes a popular feature available in gourmet pizza ovens and sold with pizza stones, we will have to celebrate National Pizza Day, the old-fashioned day, and just buy a slice or pull one out of the freezer.