It’s National Pizza Day!
Fun Pizza Day Facts
- Did you know pizza has been around since the 6th century BC! Persian soldiers would bake flatbread on their shields and cover them with cheese.
- The 18th century was when pizza as we know it today came into existence. Pizza was initially looked at as food for the “lazzarone,” or poor people, and was often sold on the streets. Italians were first introduced to tomatoes in the 16th century by Peruvians. Many Europeans believed tomatoes were poisonous, so only the poor people ate them, and they were a common topping for pizzas.
- Raffaele Esposito is credited with being the “father of modern pizza.” He owned a tavern in Naples named Pizzeria di Pietro e Basta Cosi.When King Umberto I and Queen Margherita came to Naples for a visit, Raffaele knew he had to make special pizza to please the royal palate. He came up with three different pizzas, and one in particular caught the queen’s eye. Raffaele had created a pizza to be representative of the Italian flag, and color-coordinated his toppings to match–tomato for red, mozzarella for white, and basil for green. The queen loved the pizza so much, that he named it after her–Pizza Margherita.
- Queen Margherita had her head of table services write a letter to Esposito praising the dish. Because of this, pizza became very popular and was a favorite amongst tourists.
- In 1905 the first pizzeria came to America–Manhattan, New York, to be exact. The restaurant was called Lombardi’s and was started by Italian immigrants. Lombardi’s is still in existence today.
- The pizza was not a popular food until after WW2–soldiers who were stationed in Italy had gotten used to eating pizza all the time.
- Americans eat 23 pounds of pizza each year per person, which is 4 billion pizzas a year!
- There are over 14 thousand books sold on Amazon on the topic of pizza