The Reason So Many Pizza Chains Sell Chicken Wings

iStock/rudisill
iStock/rudisill

It’s become exceedingly rare to find a pizzeria that doesn’t offer its customers a side order of sauce-slathered buffalo chicken wings. Most of the major national chains—Domino’s, Pizza Hut, and Papa John’s among them—traffic in poultry. So how did the pairing come about?

According to a recent Thrillist history by Kat Thompson, the marriage of pizza and wings can be traced to La Nova Pizza, a pizza parlor in Buffalo, New York. Fittingly, La Nova was located in the home city of the buffalo chicken wing, where the Anchor Bar and Restaurant first served the wings—formerly regarded as undesirable scraps—in the 1960s. La Nova began adding wings to its menu in the 1970s and then offered them as a side dish to delivery orders in the 1990s.

The bigger chains took notice of its success: Both Pizza Hut and Domino’s introduced wings nationally in early 1995. Their support created such demand for the product that the price of wholesale wings went from 47 cents a pound to 82 cents a pound. Pizza Hut was selling 2 million wings a day.

For operators, the addition made a lot of logistical sense. Wings could be baked in ovens that the shops already had; dipping sauces complemented pizza crusts nicely. Pizza is largely a carbohydrate and wings are a protein. It seemed to resonate with the palates of consumers. To open a new pizzeria usually required no special equipment besides a freezer and some deep fryers. Most importantly, they were a messy finger food, and pizza fans were already comfortable with hand-based eating.

But wings won't work on every menu. In 2013, McDonald’s tried offering chicken wings, which it dubbed Mighty Wings, for a limited time, but the idea fizzled. People didn’t care for a hamburger and wing combo. Of the 50 million pounds of wings McDonald’s hoped to sell, 10 million were left uneaten. It might have gone better with a McPizza.

[h/t Thrillist]

Keep Your Cat Busy With a Board Game That Doubles as a Scratch Pad

Cheerble
Cheerble

No matter how much you love playing with your cat, waving a feather toy in front of its face can get monotonous after a while (for the both of you). To shake up playtime, the Cheerble three-in-one board game looks to provide your feline housemate with hours of hands-free entertainment.

Cheerble's board game, which is currently raising money on Kickstarter, is designed to keep even the most restless cats stimulated. The first component of the game is the electronic Cheerble ball, which rolls on its own when your cat touches it with their paw or nose—no remote control required. And on days when your cat is especially energetic, you can adjust the ball's settings to roll and bounce in a way that matches their stamina.

Cheerable cat toy on Kickstarter.
Cheerble

The Cheerble balls are meant to pair with the Cheerble game board, which consists of a box that has plenty of room for balls to roll around. The board is also covered on one side with a platform that has holes big enough for your cat to fit their paws through, so they can hunt the balls like a game of Whack-a-Mole. And if your cat ever loses interest in chasing the ball, the board also includes a built-in scratch pad and fluffy wand toy to slap around. A simplified version of the board game includes the scratch pad without the wand or hole maze, so you can tailor your purchase for your cat's interests.

Cheerble cat board game.
Cheerble

Since launching its campaign on Kickstarter on April 23, Cheerble has raised over $128,000, already blowing past its initial goal of $6416. You can back the Kickstarter today to claim a Cheerble product, with $32 getting you a ball and $58 getting you the board game. You can make your pledge here, with shipping estimated for July 2020.

At Mental Floss, we only write about the products we love and want to share with our readers, so all products are chosen independently by our editors. Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a percentage of any sale made from the links on this page. Prices and availability are accurate as of the time of publication.

The Long, Fascinating History of Chocolate

Wikimedia Commons//Public Domain
Wikimedia Commons//Public Domain

Walk into just about any grocery or convenience store today and you're sure to find row upon row of chocolate in every imaginable form. While we have come to associate this sweet treat with companies like Hershey, chocolate has been a delicacy for centuries.

All chocolate comes from the cacao tree, which is native to the Americas, but is now grown around the world. Inside the tree’s fruits, or pods, you’ll find the cacao beans, which—once roasted and fermented—give chocolate its signature rich and complex flavor. While we don't know who first decided to turn cacao beans into chocolate, we certainly owe them an enormous debt of gratitude.

In this episode of Food History, we're digging into the history of chocolate—from its origins to the chocolate-fueled feud between J.S. Fry & Sons and Cadbury and much, much more. You can watch the full episode below.

For more episodes like this one, be sure to subscribe here!