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It’s Believed Ancient Romans First Offered Up A Fermented Fish Topping Known As Garum For Their Flatbreads

Hold the fishes! National Pizza with the Works Except Anchovies Day is observed on November 12.  Anchovy lovers move over. All the other pizza lovers get their due and pile on their toppings on this annual pizza holiday.  Olives, pepperoni, sausage, peppers and onions? Allowed. Mushrooms, bacon or pineapple approved! Just no fishy business on this national day, or no pizza for you!

  • Classified as an oily fish, Anchovies are a family of small, common salt-water forage fish. There are 144 species found in the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans.  Anchovies are small, green fish that have blue reflections caused by the silver longitudinal stripe which begins at the base of the caudal fin.
  • Traditionally, anchovies are processed in a salt brine and then packed in oil or salt resulting in a strong, characteristic flavor.  Optionally they may be pickled in vinegar giving the anchovies a milder taste.
  • Anchovies are preyed upon by almost every predatory fish in their environments.
  • Anchovies have teeth, described as “small and sharp,” in both the upper and lower jaws. Their diet consists of plankton and small fry of other fish.
  • Let’s ask one question first, though, where the heck did this crazy idea of putting anchovies on a pizza come from, to begin with? It certainly doesn’t seem like anything a sane person would do to their pizza, so where is patient zero for this insanity? Near as we can tell it came from the Ancient Romans who first offered up a fermented fish topping known as Garum for their flatbreads.
  • In ancient Greece, the Greeks covered their bread with oils, herbs, and cheese which some believe is the beginning of the pizza.
  • In Byzantine Greek, the word was spelled “πίτα”, pita, meaning pie. 
  • A sheet of dough topped with cheese and honey, then flavored with bay leaves was developed by the Romans.
  • The modern pizza had its beginning in Italy as the Neapolitan flatbread.
  • The original pizza used only mozzarella cheese, mainly the highest quality buffalo mozzarella variant which was produced in the surroundings of Naples.
  • It was estimated that the annual production of pizza cheese in the United States in 1997 was 2 billion pounds.
  • The first United States pizza establishment opened in 1905 and was in New York’s Little Italy.
  • Pizza has become one of America’s favorite meals.
  • Anchovies are one of the least popular pizza toppings. In a recent poll, Slice learned that 24% of pizza eaters are feeling the fish, but 76% want nothing to do with them.
  • 0.003% of Americans select anchovies as a topping of their choice on a pizza.
  • 94 percent of Americans eat pizza regularly.
  • 93 percent of Americans have eaten pizza in the last month.
  • Pizza is America’s fourth most-craved food, behind cheese, chocolate and ice cream.
  • Saturday night is the most popular night to eat pizza.
  • 36% of Americans believe that pizza is a breakfast meal
  • In Latin languages, such as Italian, the equivalent word for “anchovy” is used to describe a particularly thin person who is all skin and bones.
  • In 1830 pizza truly began with the opening of the world’s first pizzeria. Named Port’Alba, the pizzas were cooked in an oven lined with lava from Mount Vesuvius, a volcano located on the Bay of Naples.
  • In the 1800s, most Italians thought of pizza as a peasant meal. That changed when a baker named Raffaele Esposito created a margarita pizza for visiting royalty. The king and queen were impressed by the colors of the Italian flag represented by the pizza’s white mozzarella cheese, red tomato sauce, and green basil. Pizza became fashionable overnight and was soon a staple in restaurants all across the country.
  • Americans eat approximately 350 slices of pizza per second?
  • There are approximately 75,243 pizzerias in the United States.
  • In 1905, Gennaro Lombardi opened the first licensed American pizzeria, Lombardi’s Pizzeria Napoletana, at 53-1/2 Spring Street in New York City.
  • According to a recent Gallup Poll, kids between the ages of 3 to 11 prefer pizza over all other food groups for lunch and dinner.
  • Each year, thousands of people involved in the pizza industry attend Pizza Expo, the world’s largest pizza-only trade show. Pizza Expo is held each year in Las Vegas, Nevada.
  • Regular thin pizza crust is still the most popular crust, preferred by 61 percent of the population. Thick crust and deep dish tied for second, at 14%. Only 11 percent of the population prefers extra thin.
  • Can you imagine a world without pizza? Prior to 997 A.D., there is no known record of the word pizza or any dish resembling it. The first mention of pizza was in Latin text, which stated that residents of a specific property were to provide twelve pizzas to the bishop of Gaeta on Christmas Day and Easter each year.
  • In 1889, Italy’s King Umberto and Queen Margherita traveled to Naples. Tired of the traditional French haute diet, the Queen asked to be served a variety of pizzas. She particularly enjoyed one called pizza mozzarella, which was topped with red tomato sauce, fresh white mozzarella and green basil leaves–just like the colors on the Italian flag. In fact, Queen Margherita loved the pizza so much that many began calling it pizza Margherita, and the name stuck!
  • Frozen pizzas that could be purchased in grocery stores were first introduced in the United States in 1957 and soon became the most popular of all frozen food.
  • Did you know there is a technical term for “crust”? It’s called cornicione or the “end crust”.
  • Papa’s Tomato Pies is America’s Oldest Continuously Operating Pizzeria
    founded by Giuseppe Papa in 1912 on South Clinton Avenue in Trenton, New Jersey, this family owned pizzeria has operated continuously since opening day and still remains operated by the Papa family.
  • The U.S. Military Lab recently invented a ready-to-eat pizza. This handy pizza can last for up to three years. Intended for soldiers abroad who just have to have a slice. Making its grand entrance in 2017 soldiers can open MRE #37 and enjoy their treat!
  • There are 26,484 books on Amazon about pizza. If you go to Amazon and search for “Pizza Books” you will be bombarded will 26,484 results.


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