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America has a love affair with pizza, and it is, undeniably, America’s favorite food. Some people will disagree with that and say hamburgers, hot dogs, and Reuben sandwiches are the top three favorite foods. And they may be right, according to the latest, favorite food polls that show pizza usually falls in the number five to number seven top spot, but we all know that is wrong…right? What is the first food people usually order when it is Saturday night and fast-food, time?

Pizza…of course.

I have had a love affair with pizza ever since I was a young kid. I remember living in Astoria, Queens, a few blocks from Steinway Street, where there was a pizzeria named Roberto’s that my father would go to every Saturday night. Roberto’s always cut each of the two pizza pies my father ordered into 16-slices, so to me, it always looked as if we were getting a lot more than what we were getting. Since there was 5 of us, my dad would give each of us 3-whole slices. Because of the way Roberto cut each pie, that meant I was getting 6-slices all for myself.

You can argue the math all you want, but for me it worked out just fine and made me one happy, little kid – despite the fuzzy math.

Studies show that most Americans consume about 23-pounds of pizza every year, or roughly, 46-slices each year. That is about 6-pies each. Personally, I do not believe that because if one was to eat just 2-slices of pizza every Saturday night, that would add up to 96-slices in a year. What about all the other times during the week that people eat pizza?

Pizza is not only one of America’s top, favorite foods; it is also one of its most powerful foods. Pizza has the uncanny ability to help us excel in other areas of life, besides fulfilling our appetites. College students devour it while cramming for tests; scientists eat it while conducting important research studies and teenagers use it to go on a cheap, first date.

One of the most significant times in this country’s history where pizza played an active role, was just recently, on October 16, 2013. It was on Capitol Hill and just hours before the doomsday deadline that was threatening to launch America into its first, financial default. It was in those last, fateful hours that 20-boxes of large-size, hefty-topped, pizzas were delivered to the office of Speaker of The House, John Boehner. Clearly, the pizza kept the members of The House of Representatives in a conciliatory mood; otherwise, God knows what shape this country would be in now.

Emotionally speaking, pizza makes people happy. What other food can one consistently eat and use as a reliable backup when one forgets to take meat out of the freezer, or when what mom is cooking that night, does not look very appetizing? It is cheap, convenient and gets delivered right to your door hot and ready to eat – most of the time anyway.

Pizza has evolved into a mosaic of strange, food combinations for toppings. A pizza lover can get almost anything on pizza today like pepperoni, bacon, sausage, mushrooms, anchovies to everyday, garden-variety salads and meats that make it almost seem that you are not eating pizza at all. I personally find some of them disgusting, and an insult to the tradition of what pizza should look and taste like.

I’ll take an extra-cheese, topped pizza covered with pepperoni any day of the week over the dieter’s, vegetarian type one, and the oily and the greasier it is the better.

It is amusing how dangerous and skilled pizza eaters are when the pizza box first comes into the house. The first thing everyone does when the box is opened is to decide which slice they want. “That one’s mine,” is usually the first thing one hears out of someone’s mouth. Nothing is more disappointing and sad than having to eat a slice of pizza that has half its cheese ripped off or got attacked by a neighboring topping.

Yuck! Keep your olives off my pepperoni…thank you!

There is a lot I can say about pizza, like how frozen pizza sucks, how it tastes like rubber if one warms it up in the microwave, and how it grows billions of mycobacterial saprophytes that can cause tuberculosis and leprosy if it is left out too long and eaten.

I do not want to get into that, though, especially since I have a half-eaten, slice of pizza sitting in my fridge for two days now.

So, I’ll end this now, by saying simply that pizza is the staple of life…without it there would be no happiness in the world.

© Joseph E. Rathjen – All Rights Reserved – 2013

Joseph E. Rathjen is an Opinion Columnist/Staff Writer for WomanScope NewsMagazine and a Contributor for 1World Online.

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