Dietribes: A Big Pizza Pie, That's Amore


• Pizza is one food that will likely never go out of style. Since Gennaro Lombardi of Naples, Italy, opened the first licensed pizzeria in the United States (in Little Italy, Manhattan of course) in 1905, Americans haven't looked back. A market research group claims that in 2007, Americans ordered more than 5.5 billion pizzas (not to mention how many we probably bought frozen or made at home!)

• Of course, the history of pizza goes back further than that - according to the History Channel, near the end of the 19th century, Italy's queen Margherita wished to taste the "vulgar" dish that so delighted the lower orders. Of the three dishes prepared for her (pork fat, cheese and basil; tomato, garlic and olivie oil; and an "Italian flag" design with mozzarella, tomatoes and basil leaves) can you guess which one was her favorite? (By the way, Pizza-as-art is still going strong).

• According to Webster's, the word "pizza" comes from the Greek "pitta" for cake (so calling it a pizza pie is not far wrong!)

• Pizza is typically a fairly cost-efficient option, but if you have money to burn you may consider treating yourself to a luxury pizza for $1000. For those on the other side of the pond, Gordon Ramsey's Maze restaurant in London has been known to offer a pizza garnished with fresh shavings of a rare Italian white truffle for around £100.

• Other extravagant pizza orders might include the longest delivery, in which pizza from Madrid, Spain was delivered to Wellington, New Zealand at a distance of 12,346.6 miles. I'm sure by the time it got there it was free. But airborne deliver does not end there - a British army pilot was disciplined after using a $5.5 million helicopter to deliver pizza to his girlfriend. She must have been hungry. (It cost British taxpayers $18,500.00).

• Meanwhile, the largest pizza delivery was courtesy of Papa John's, who delivered 13,500 pizzas to the NASSCO shipyard in San Diego in 2006. But who wins the award for most expensive pizza purchase ever? It would have to be a man named Jon Seale, who charged a slice of pizza and a Coke to his Visa card, which later showed the transaction total to be $23,148,855,308,184,500.

• Lace up your pizza shoes and head on over to the Giant Pizza Playground where "kids can climb all over a colorful, rubber-surfaced pizza, crawl through a giant olive, move huge mushroom slices, and hide behind a tomato."

• Is anyone else hungry? Hungry enough to eat 47 slices of pizza (in 10 minutes?). Nah, I didn't think so. But that will not disqualify you from being part of the U.S. Pizza team. And if you still need more, you can attend to Pizza Expo in Las Vegas.

• Ok Flossers, how do you consume your pizza? Do you get delivery or frozen? Do you make your own? Do you eat it in a cone? What are your favorite ingredients? What can't you stand? Ahh pizza, so many permutations of your greatness. I could eat pizza every day and never tire of it, personally!

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‘Dietribes’ appears every other Wednesday. Food photos taken by Johanna Beyenbach. You might remember that name from our post about her colorful diet.