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Monday, August 2, 2010

Pizza facts: A useful tool for an activity idea

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• In 1994, total pizza sales in the United States exceeded $20 billion.¹
• The 1995 Guiness Book of World Records lists the largest baked pizza on record was 37.4 meters in diameter (12,159 sq.ft.), in Norwood, South Africa December 8th 1990. Another notable pizza by size was a 10,000 sq.ft. pizza cooked by Lorenzo Amato, owner of Cafe di Lorenzo in Tallahassee Florida in 1991.¹
• The first known pizza shop, Port 'Alba in Naples, opened in 1830 and is still open today.²
• The first pizzeria in North America was opened in 1905 by Gennaro Lombardi at 53 1/3 Spring Street in New York City.³
• The first pizza delivery was in 1889, by Raffaele Esposito owner of the famous pizzeria Pietro il Pizzaiolo (Naples). The recipients were visiting King Umberto I and Queen Margherita. Refusing to go to the likes of a pizzeria, the queen ordered in, being anxious to try this food she heard so much about.²
• The first commercial pizza-pie mix was "Roman Pizza Mix", produced in 1948 in Worcester, Massachusetts by Frank A. Fiorello.¹
• The mozzarella originally used in Italy for pizza, was made from the milk of the water buffalo.²
• The tomato arrived in Naples, Italy around 1522 originating from seeds first arriving in Spain from Peru. Initially grown only as an ornamental plant, the 'golden apple', so called because they were small and yellow, were thought to be poisonous until around 1750, when it began to be used in cooking.³
• The origins of focaccia, one of the oldest styles of pizza (without the tomato) can be traced back to about 1000 B.C.E., when the Etruscans arrived in northern and central parts of Italy from Asia Minor.³
• Pizza is the number 2 entree in foodservice, outpacing the growth rate of all other food items. It represents more than 10% of all food sales and is expected to exceed the hamburger 1996.4
• Tuna is one of the most popular toppings in Europe.4
• North Americans eat more pizza than anyone else in the world, yet most are acquainted with little beyond the basic tomato and cheese style.³
• There are three major regional styles of pizza in the US. In the East, pizza is the traditional Neapolitan type with a light, thin crust, tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese and a vegetable or meat topping. It is more commonly known as New York-style. On the West Coast, pizza takes on a sophisticated look. Individual pizzettes with light, chewy crusts and toppings ranging from sundried tomatoes to asparagus to boccocini cheese are the norm. The Midwestern states prefer the deep-dish Chicago style, a thick creation heaped with toppings requiring up to 45 minutes to bake.³
• Cookbooks specializing in Italian recipes have no reference to pizza prior to the 1950's.¹
• In non-Italian communities in the eastern states, pizza can be heard to be referred to as "tomato pie".¹

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