| Treeo |

Top This!

Crispy crustSpicy sauce.  Gooey cheese oozing over the sides in long, melty strings.  Do you think that theres nothing like the first bite of a fresh, hot slice of pizzaYoure not alone!

Approximately three billion pizzas are sold in the United States each year. In the few seconds its taken you to read this far, more than 1,000 pieces of pizza have been devoured around the countrythats 350 slices per second! Convenient and delicious, eaten for breakfast, lunch, and supper, pizza is Americas favorite food. Lets bite into pizzas past, and learn more about this crusty concoction.

Bread with toppings? Not exactly a new concept.

Ancient Egyptians, Romans, and Greeks enjoyed early “pizza” (minus tomato sauce— tomatoes didn’t make it to Europe until the 1600s!). In a famous book by a Roman poet, written over 2,000 years ago, the characters talk about the earliest form of pizza, otherwise known as a “bread plate.” What does that mean? Poor people who couldn’t afford plates would pile their food onto a flat circle of bread. Then, they would either throw the “plate” away, or eat it. In the case of the poor characters in the book, after they finished eating, one character said, “Look! We’ve even eaten our plates!” Pizza as poetry and platter!

Naples, Italy

Fast-forward a couple thousand years to the 17-1800s, in Naples, Italy. The city was famous for crowds of poor workers who needed cheap food, fast. The solution? Flatbreads with tomatoes, cheese, oil, fish, and garlic, sold by street vendors. Snobby rich folks called this concoction “disgusting.”

Their uppity attitude changed when King Umberto I and Queen Margherita visited Naples in 1889. A well-known story tells how chef Raffaele Esposito created a special pie for the queen, topped with white cheese, red tomato sauce, and green basil — the colors of the Italian flag. The queen enjoyed the pizza so much, it was named Pizza Margherita in her honor.

Pizza crossed the Atlantic with Italian immigrants in the early 1900s, but its popularity exploded a few decades later, when American soldiers returning from Italy after World War II craved authentic Italian pizza.

Today, pizza is an American symbol. We have Pizza Month (October), Pizza Day (February 9), and a whopping 93% of us eat pizza every month. If you stacked up the slices of pizza you eat per year, they would weigh around 23 pounds, or almost as much as the average two-year-old.

Any way you slice it, pizza’s the top pie!

Pizza Party: Gets Political!

It might sound cheesy, but Josh Freeman of Massachusetts decided to create a political party: the Pizza Party. In 2011, he traveled from restaurant to restaurant, drumming up interest and convincing people to sign up. With 120 people on board, the Pizza Party was ready to deliver!

While the Republican Party and the Democratic Party take up most of the political pie in the United States, Freeman didn’t find either one to his taste.

“The United States didn’t start with political parties,” he said. “They should all be abolished.” Today, there are about 476 registered Pizza Party members, united in their passion for pizza.

Ridiculous Records
  • The largest pizza was nearly 14,000 square feet, about the size of an Olympic swimming pool! It included 13,653 pounds of dough, 4,948 pounds of sauce, and over 8,800 pounds of cheese. It was assembled and baked at the Los Angeles Convention Center in 2023.
  • South Africa claimed the heaviest pizza title in 1990. The pizza weighed 26,883 pounds and was 122 feet in diameter.
  • The highest altitude for a pizza delivery on land was to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, at 19,341 feet! It took four days and professional hikers to accomplish the feat. Now that’s dedicated service.
  • In 2001, Pizza Hut was the first pizza store to deliver to outer space — a six-inch pizza for Russian cosmonaut Yuri Usachov. It took $1 million to deliver!
  • Pat Bertoletti managed to eat 47 slices of pizza in 10 minutes in 2008. Fast fressing!
Priceless Pizza

If you want to order a pizza from famed chef Renato Viola, first check your bank account. A Louis XIII pizza costs a mindboggling $12,000 — for one eight-inch pie.

The most expensive pizza is made of dough from organic Arabian flour dusted with pink salt. It takes 72 hours of preparation to let the ingredients “rest” before cooking. And the toppings? Three rare types of caviar, Norwegian lobster, and seven cheeses. The pizza is served with champagne, brandy, and Louis XIII cognac.

It’s also prepared and served at your house. I’ll stick to regular pizza deliveries!


(Originally featured in Treeo, Issue 1009)

Oops! We could not locate your form.