Pizza: A Slice From Above

By PEARLYNE CORIZ

Living in the United States, you will have eaten around 6,000 slices of pizza over your lifetime, according to nydailynews.com.

What is it about pizza that makes it an American favorite? How much do we really know about pizza?

Pizza was first introduced in America in the early 1900’s, however, one needed a license in order to make and sell pizza in the United States. Gennaro Lombardi was the first to apply for that license in 1905.

Pizza wasn’t popular until 1943 after World War II when returning soldiers who were stationed in Italy wanted the comfort of pizza. Before then, pizza was only made and sold to the poor, which was a dish that was taught and learned from earlier generations.

Between the years 1945 and 1960 pizzerias began popping up everywhere in the country.

Photo by Pearlyne Coriz

 Fun Facts About Pizza

  • The average pizzeria uses roughly 55 pizza boxes per day.  
  • Americans consume around 251,770,00 pounds of pepperonis every year.  
  • Americans eat approximately 100 acres of pizza a day or about 350 slices per second.
  • The most expensive pizza created was made by the restauranteur Domenico Crolla who created a $2,745 Valentine pizza, which included toppings such as sunblush-tomato sauce, Scottish smoked salmon, medallions of venison, edible gold, lobster marinated in the finest cognac and champagne-soaked caviar.
  • About $3 billion worth of pizzas are sold annually in the US.
  • The longest pizza delivery was from Cape Town, South Africa, to Sydney, Australia.

For the Love of Pizza

Why are they so good? Why do we love pizza? Well, there may be a scientific explanation.

Pizza is addictive and we have never understood why. Is it the toppings? Is it the sauce?

Shundina Spencer, a junior at the Institute of American Indian Arts, says,” It’s the sauce.”

Joseph Newman, another of IAIA’s juniors, says, “It is the flavor.”

Processed foods high in fats and carbohydrates are what give pizzas addictive properties. The high doses trigger the reward-related areas in the brain that go into overdrive.

This stimulates our neurological circuits much like addictive drugs. The sugars and fats change our dopamine systems releasing the reward and pleasure feelings making us crave more.

In a study conducted by the University of Michigan    published on the website, US National Library of Medicine, a sample of 504 students were asked to see which foods caused people to show addictive tendencies. They found that pizza came out number one.

Pizza in College

From the ages of 5-12, the favorite food among kids is pizza. It sticks with them into their adult years””especially in college.

When asked how many pizzas they eat a month, the common answer at IAIA is “not very often.” Pizza, for students living in the dorms, is not as accessible, especially if one doesn’t have transportation.

“Transportation is a big issue,” junior Zachariah Castiano concedes,” but ordering pizza can be accessible because of the delivery factor.”

Zachariah Castiano (Photo by Pearlyne Coriz)

However, even if you are a student living off campus in rural communities,transportation is important when you get a hankering for pizza.

“It’s not very accessible for me because the closest location is Bernalillo,” says Hailey Suina, an off-campus student who has to drive 30 minutes away in order to get pizza.

Despite the issues of transportation, many students still find a way to enjoy this delicious food.

The Most Important Quality

What is the most important quality about pizza you consider when ordering?

Crust, or “bread,” was the most popular answer for different reasons.

For Shundina, it’s the bread, “because you can’t have pizza without the bread.”

“The crust is most important because I don’t like a doughy crust,” Joseph says.

Thomas Worcester says, “For me, the crust, because pizza is expensive, so the bigger the crust I’m cool with that. The thinner the crust is worse for me because I won’t get full on a thin crust.”

What would you say is the most important aspect of a pizza? The crust, the sauce, the cheese, or the toppings? We leave that to your pallet.

Interestingly, of the students interviewed, those born before 1990 eat their pizza hot or cold; however, those born after cannot eat their pizza unless it is hot.

Whether you like your pizza, “one day old and cold,” as Joseph says, or “definitely hot” like Hailey likes it, pizza still remains the favorite for all Americans.

 

Featured photo by Pearlyne Coriz

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