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A Look at an American Fast Food Staple Pizza

Right up there with baseball and apple pie, pizza has become an American icon, no longer just reserved for college students on a budget Ė but a family favorite across the country. Whether itís piled high with pepperoni and mozzarella or loaded with pineapples and ham, pizza is one of the most popular foods in the United States. Americans gobble up around 350 slices of pizza per second, which amounts to around one-hundred acres of pizza each day. In fact, the average man, woman, and child in the U.S. each eats an amazing 23 pounds of the round pie every year.

History. While many folks believe pizza to be a strictly Italian food, unleavened bread seasoned with olive oil and topped with native spices was being eaten thousands of years ago in ancient Egypt, Rome and Greece. The familiar pizza that is served up at your local pizzeria or out of your own freezer is akin to the pies that were first baked up in Naples, Italy in the latter part of the 19th century by baker Raffaele Esposito who concocted the dish for royal guests. The ingredients for Espositoís original pizza pie were inspired by the red, white and green colors of the Italian flag and are represented through the colors of the tomatoes, mozzarella and basil. It was Italian monarch King Umberto and his Queen Margherita that were the honored dinner guests; the two royals were so thoroughly impressed by the dish that they went on to spread the word about it to others, and thus a food phenomenon was born. It didnít take long for pizza to make its way across the ocean as immigrants from Italy settled in Chicago and New York and opened up small cafes and eateries that served the dish in the early 1900s. Soldiers returning from WWII who had served in Italy and developed a taste for the beloved pie helped to spur on the popularity of pizza in the U.S. That popularity begun to grow throughout the 20th century, and now 94% of all Americans eat pizza regularly.

Toppings. What goes on top of the pizza may very well be its biggest attraction or selling point. In the United States, pepperoni is considered to be the most popular topping, accounting for around 1/3rd of all pizza orders at restaurants that serve pizza; in fact, over ¼ of a million pounds of pepperoni is used on pizza in our country each year. Other toppings of choice include Italian sausage, Canadian bacon, mushrooms, green pepper, onion, ham, pineapple and of course, extra cheese. And while the majority of folks prefer meat on their pizzas, around 1/3rd of all pizzas are ordered with vegetarian only toppings. For those with a taste for the more exotic, everything from oysters to Cajun shrimp has also been offered up for pizza toppings in gourmet pizzerias around the country. Pizza toppings vary widely around the globe; for example, squid and eel are enjoyed in Japan while Brazilians top their pizza with green peas. Costa Ricans like to top their pizza with coconut while Russians prefer sardines and onions .

Staying Power. Regardless of how you slice it, pizza as a beloved food has staying power; in fact pizza is so popular that the month of October has been dubbed as National Pizza Month in the United States since 1987. Pizza is a thirty billion dollar a year industry with around 69,000 pizza restaurants operating in our country that sell around three billion pizzas annually. This represents nearly 1/5th of all restaurants in the country and accounts for around ten percent of all food service sales.
About Author Brenda Walker :

Brenda Walker, designer and staff writer for <a href="" target="_blank"></a>, recommends issaquah pizza delivery from <a href="" target="_blank"></a>.

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Article Added on Wednesday, April 21, 2010
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