Just hearing the word "pizza" brings a smile to the face of just about every American. Whatever style or variety -- from thick, Chicago-style deep-dish pizza stuffed with gobs of cheese, sausage, and pepperoni to a thin-as-a-cracker crust topped with veggies -- pizza invariably makes it to the top of "favorite food" lists.
Here, we've compiled a list of fun and interesting facts about this American food icon. See how many you knew!
1. Since 1987, October has been officially designated National Pizza Month in the United States.
2. Approximately three billion pizzas are sold in the United States every year, plus an additional one billion frozen pizzas.
3. Pizza is a $30 billion industry in the United States.
4. Pizzerias represent 17 percent of all U.S. restaurants.
5. Ninety-three percent of Americans eat pizza at least once a month.
6. Women are twice as likely as men to order vegetarian toppings on their pizza.
7. About 36 percent of all pizzas contain pepperoni, making it the most popular topping in the United States.
8. The first known pizzeria, Antica Pizzeria, opened in Naples, Italy, in 1738.
9. More pizza is consumed during the week of the Super Bowl than any other time of the year.
10. On average, each person in the United States eats around 23 pounds of pizza every year.
11. The first pizzeria in the United States was opened by Gennaro Lombardi in 1895 in New York City.
12. The record for the world's largest pizza depends on how you slice it. According to Guinness World Records, the record for the world's largest circular pizza was set at Norwood Hypermarket in South Africa in 1990. The gigantic pie measured 122 feet 8 inches across, weighed 26,883 pounds, and contained 9,920 pounds of flour, 3,968 pounds of cheese, and 1,984 pounds of sauce. In 2005, the record for the world's largest rectangular pizza was set in Iowa Falls, Iowa. Pizza restaurant owner Bill Bahr and a team of 200 helpers created the 129 X 98.6-foot pizza from 4,000 pounds of cheese, 700 pounds of sauce, and 9,500 sections of crust. The enormous pie was enough to feed the town's 5,200 residents ten slices of pizza each.CONTRIBUTING WRITERS:
Helen Davies, Marjorie Dorfman, Mary Fons, Deborah Hawkins, Martin Hintz, Linnea Lundgren, David Priess, Julia Clark Robinson, Paul Seaburn, Heidi Stevens, and Steve Theunissen