Pizza is one of those foods that is hard to screw up. Bread, sauce, cheese and toppings is simply a winning combination so even if it’s not great its usually good enough to eat. But there’s still some untold truths about pizza out there that you should know about.
10. The Meaning Of PI-zza
What’s better than Pizza? The answer seems to be pizza in paradise. Sasha and Tara Bouis are the creators of Pizza Pi – a company you’re going to wish you had thought of first. As is often said: Necessity is the mother of invention and the Bouis’s are a great example of this. One evening while sitting in their boat they got hungry for pizza and realized there could be a big opportunity for them to fill a delicious niche. Mr. and Mrs. Bouis decided to cash in their land jobs and move to the Caribbean to start their own pizza business. But this isn’t just any pizza business this is one the couple launched from their small boat. Pizza Pi’s speciality is gluten free, made from scratch pies. Sasha worked in New York City so he prefers to make thin, New York style crust. The Pizza Pi menu includes such local favorites as Plain Jane, Mad Shroom, and Sweet Home. They use their 37 foot aluminum boat to motor around the Virgin Islands delivering fresh, hot pizza to the masses. The bad news is Pizza Pi does not dock to deliver pizzas so customer must have a boat to get their pizza delivered to them on the beautiful blue Caribbean Sea. Maybe you didn’t think you could get good pizza in the Caribbean, but Pizza Pi shows that where there’s a will there’s a way.
9. Pizza Cars
It seems like everyone wants to get in on the pizza action so now Ford Motor Company has developed a partnership with Dominos. The two companies are working together to use driverless cars to deliver fresh, hot pizzas right to your door. Ford is taking this opportunity to promote its hybrid Fusion models as the platforms for this proposed delivery service. Although the cars would be packed with the latest technology including spacial algorithms and radar, some cities are still hesitant to allow the driverless cars to roam free in their neighborhoods. It’s a question of safety. For example, can these car accurately “see” a pedestrian in a crosswalk regardless of the traffic conditions or the configuration of the intersection? Apparently these are the types of questions that will have to be answered before the driverless cars are allowed to deliver Dominos pizzas to your house. Ford and Dominos are optimistic that they’ll have the cars on the road sometime in 2021. While this might be good news for pizza, it seems like bad news for pizza delivery guys who are trying to earn some good tips. So there’s one more question that should be cleared up before they hit the road: Should customers feel obligated to tip the driverless cars?
8. Vegetable Or Pizza?
Does pizza qualify as a vegetable? There’s tomato sauce on it but tomatoes are technically a fruit even though we often think of it as a vegetable. Many pizzas have vegetable toppings like peppers and onions, but many do not. In an effort to make school lunches healthier the Obama administration in 2011 tried to reform the rules the govern the Federal school lunch programs. The bill would not change the current designation of tomato sauce as a vegetable that counts towards a child’s daily serving totals. If this was one of the big “reforms” then, well it is the government after all. Supposedly some officials have also considered calling french fries vegetables as well. The makers of the food pyramid chart did not have pizza or french fries in mind when they were trying to educate people about proper nutrition. Maybe it would be better for everyone if the government got out of the food management business and let people make their own choices about what they want to eat for lunch. No, kids shouldn’t be eating pizza for lunch all the time (or french fries,) but it seems clear that the federal government has more pressing issues to deal with. having said that – maybe schools shouldn’t offer pizza to their students. They get it at home, so offer them healthier choices for school lunches without going overboard.
7. The Mathematics Of Pizza
Apparently we’re all fans of pizza – even mathematicians. In 2013 Eugenia Cheng decided to put her formidable math skills to good use and work on a pizza formula. What did she come up with? Just the ideal size of a pizza pie! She discovered that the key part of the pizza for the purposes of her size formula is the crust. She worked on her formula with the assumption that smaller slices have proportionately more toppings that larger slices. The second part of her assumption is that the center of the pizza holds more toppings than the edges. One of her conclusions based on the math was that thinner crusts make for tastier pizza because thinner crust means a better toppings to crust ratio. All this is well and good, but did her formula actually translate into pizza makers making better pizza for pizza lovers? In at least one case it probably did, because the company that commissioned her work modified its recipe. A pizza chain based in Britain called PizzaExpress took her conclusions to heart and started making pizzas with crisper crusts with slightly more dough and an increased amount of toppings. This sounds like pretty common sense improvements that perhaps shouldn’t have needed a mathematical study, but if the result is better pizza than go for it!
6. I, Pizza
Science fiction stories have taught us that we really can’t trust robots to not take over the world and enslave humanity. Hopefully we can trust them to make our pizzas because a number of restaurants and chains are gearing up to do just that. Zume Pizza is one example of a company that plans to use hi-tech machines knead dough, spread sauce and sprinkle cheese and toppings on your favorite pies. Do you think they’ll be able to spin the dough, toss it in the air and catch it the way the traditional pizza chefs do? Let’s hope so or those kitchens could get messy, Anyway, Zume’s CEO Julia Collins is going full steam ahead in the San Fransisco Bay area and planned to serve the entire market. Ms. Collins and others who plan to replace people with technology are confident the robots can do the job better and with more consistency for better overall quality. This may or may not be true, but would seem to only apply to mass produced pizzas anyway. When it comes to your local ma and pa pizzas shops hopefully you’ll still be able to get a hand-crafted pizza, not one made with cold metal robot hands – that want to take over the world.
5. Here’s Pizza In Your Eye
Many of us love pizza, but apparently some of us don’t know which pizza we love most and have a little trouble deciding what kind to order. But fear not because Pizza Hut thinks it has come up with a way to help these indecisive customers. The giant pizza chain has come up with a system they call a “subconscious menu.” This technology was developed by a Swedish company called Tobii Technology. The key to the technology is its ability to track the eye movements of customers as they look at pictures of pizza toppings. Based on what the customers’ eyes focus on the Pizza Hut will be able to suggest a specific pizza to a customer from among up to 4,896 possible combinations of toppings. That’s a lot of choices considering that the most popular pizzas are still your basic cheese and of course the king – pepperoni. The software was said to be very accurate in choosing the right pizzas for customers when tested in Pizza Huts in the United Kingdom. The chain is considering introducing the technology into American restaurants. Do you really need a computer program to tell you what kind of pizza to eat?
4. Pizza Farm
We live in an era of technological specialization so it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that some farms now specialize in specific foods. All Pizzas are equal, but some Pizzas are more equal than others. There are now actual farms that devote all of their time and energy to cultivating the ingredients that make up one of the world’s favorite foods – pizza! Government agencies, small farmers and industrial farming companies have all had a role in creating these so-called pizza farms in places like Wisconsin. Some of the farms are even circular in shape and divided into as many as twelve “slices” or wedges. Each wedge is used to grow different ingredients, such as tomatoes or herbs, that could some day find their way into one of your pizzas. These pizza farms even have a slice of pasture set aside for the cows that produce the milk used to make the different cheeses used as pizza toppings such as mozzarella. Some of these pizza farms have become fun destinations for school trips where children can learning about the basics of farming and learn how the food they eat makes the journey from the dirt to their tables. This isn’t the only way to make pizzas, but it sounds like a one good way and hopefully you’ll see a pizza farm sprout up near you.
3. Animals Love Pizza Too
Many people love pizza, but apparently we’re not the only ones. All kinds of animals including cats, dogs, squirrels and mice have been caught scarfing a slice of pizza when they get a chance. Can you blame them? The combination of bread, meats and cheeses is a big temptation. We can assume that not all of these animals have to snatch up what they can on the sly as some pet owners are probably willing to share their pizza goodness with their animal friends. There are stories about a New York City rodent called “Pizza Rat” by his admirers who has become known for making off with pizza scraps whenever it can and taking them back to his lair. Although its assumed the rat has his hands full in trying to fend off the other rats who are eager to have a taste of his bounty. Some subway riders claim to have footage of one of these pizza stand-offs. Similar sightings have been made in other big pizza cities such as Chicago. One has to wonder if some of this at least is a social media fueled urban legend, but it’s a good story either way. Foxes are known as slippery and clever creatures who will make off with chicken eggs and the like, but when pizza is available all bets are off. A “Pizza Fox” has been known to slip into an unlocked car and steal slices from unattended pizzas.
2. The Ultimate Pizza Box
This is either the ultimate pizza or the ultimate pizza box. No doubt many of you will decide it it both and who could argue with this? It’s really two pizzas in one awesome package. It’s like a pizza mirage – seemingly too good to be true, but in this case it is. We’ve all seen the salads with edible bowls, but this takes edible to a whole new level. For years pizza chains have been trying different ways to stuff more toppings and more cheese onto and into a pizza, but apparently the answer is to just make the box into a pizza! This invention supposedly came to pass because of one of the enterprising co-owners of Vinnie’s Pizzeria in Brooklyn, NY. Sean Berthiaume was concerned by the mountain of empty pizza boxes that he saw piling up because of all the pizza they sold so he decided to – yes, you guessed it – make a pizza box into a pizza. It’s a win, win situation because there is less trash to fill the dumpsters and more pizza so what could be better than that? A little experimentation and Mr. Berthiaume came up with his tasty pizza box. This pizza and pizza box comes in a standard bag that is not edible instead of a traditional pizza box. So if you prefer pizza to cardboard you’ll want to give this pizza a try if you’re ever in Brooklyn.
1. Pizza 997 A.D.
Archeologists have found evidence that man baked bread as many as 7,000 years ago. Fresh bread with toppings is a delicious food that stretches all the way back to that time. Pizza experts seems to agree that one of the forerunner to pizza was an ancient Greek invention called plakous. This food was topped with toppings like garlic, onions and cheese and is recognizable as pizza without the sauce. Focaccia is flat bread treat that was popular with the Romans – who may have borrowed this from their Greek neighbors. Many ancient cultures from around the Mediterranean World have made claim to the original pizza, but the exact origins are not completely clear. There is a reference to a food similar to pizza made in the classic Roman epic by Virgil, The Aeneid. The word “pizza” first known to have appeared in the historical record in 997 A.D. in a small town in central Italy called Gaeta. For a long time pizza was mostly eaten by Italians and Italian immigrants to other countries. As popular as pizza is today, this seems hard to believe, but it took the upheaval of World War Two to begin to internationalize pizza. American troops who had fought in Italy brought their new found love for pizza back to America and the rest is tasty pizza history.