The word pizza is associated by everyone with the universally popular delicious and flavourful meal-gift sent from the Italian food heaven. But how much do you actually know about pizza? Here, there are a few curiosities and incredible facts that many people have not heard of and you are likely to feel impressed and amused by.
A man eats pizza every day for a year!
Pizza is great. It is unbelievably delicious and we all have hard times resisting it. It is an inexpensive and delicious option no matter when. Everybody loves pizza. Most of us would eat pizza every day if we weren’t worried about the chance of becoming the size of a small blimp.
Well, Brian Northrup from New Jersey, the United States, is the guy who has eaten pizza every day for a whole year. That may sound like a fast way to some sort of health problem, but this guy has eaten pizza every day and he is actually healthier now than he was before. Moreover, he even lost some weight for that time. Sounds too good to be true? But why did he decide to do this in the first place – taking aside the fact that pizza is extremely delicious, of course?
Brian started up that challenge to encourage people to rethink how they can get, and stay, in good shape without worrying about ruining hard work by simply eating what they enjoy, in this case – a whole pizza every day. The challenge was called PIZZAPOCALYPSE, and Brian was posting a photo on Instagram every day with a different pizza in his hands as a proof, in case someone had doubts concerning the actual process of the challenge. In fact, his feed is kind of like an inspiration board for new toppings to try. There is the spinach and tomato pie, a double jalapeno pie, the Philly steak and red pepper pie. Of course, he doubled the days for work-outs during that year and in addition, Brian took the precaution of having regular checkups and insisted that his salt and cholesterol levels were both healthy.
The guy was eating pizza every day during that leap year but he was trying to order different ones and not eating one and the same pizza for seven days in a row. After all, pizza is the most favorite food of people around the whole world. Pizza has so many varieties that we would not be able to try them all for a year. At the end, a good, positive diet is highly dependent on the individual and it is important to make sure that your food includes everything you need, instead of wondering what you have to cut out of your dish. And Brian Northrup succeeded on proving that. Now it’s your turn!
Build your own pizza chain from scratch: Pizza Connection is waiting for you
Once again, everybody loves pizza. You love pizza! But have you ever dreamed of not only being the one who enjoys its taste at the end, but also the one who actually runs a whole pizza chain and on top of that, being the one who sets all of the rules for its success? If yes, then you will be happy to “hear” that this might be possible as of today! Well, at least virtually. And you should thank the German company Cybernetic Corporation and Software 2000 for that, given that in 1994 they designed a computer game that makes all of that possible. The name of the game is Pizza Tycoon. Are you curious to know more about it?
Pizza Tycoon, or also known as Pizza Connection in Europe, is a unique strategy business simulation computer game where you are an aspiring pizza chef who wants to start the best pizza chain in the entire world. The player’s goal is to build up an economic empire, react to his competitors, and make tons of money.
Ready, set, go!
First off, you as a player have to choose carefully a particular character, the one you want to be among more than thirty available options. Be careful, because all of the characters differ in appearance and abilities. However, the most important factor you have to keep in mind is the amount of money they have at the start.
Second off, the player chooses the city where he wants to start his business. The pizza restaurant can be either somewhere in Europe or in the U.S., each location giving a little twist to what the potential customers are looking for, and how tough the competition is going to be.
After choosing a particular city, you have to find the right spot in the city to rent a building and open the first restaurant. Varying with the districts and the size of this restaurant, the player has to shelf out more or less money each month. Just like in real life, before you open a restaurant you have to buy furniture, decor and floors hire some cooks and waiters. There is a wide range of furniture, decorations and flooring to pick from. Of course, it is not these items alone that define which customers the player will lure in; it is a question of money as well. In the beginning the player will rather start with a cheap tavern, upgrading the place over time to become an expensive restaurant.
When the location is set up, there is one last important problem to be solved: finding the right staff. The player will find that a lot of people with different skills and strengths want to participate in the flourishing business of pizza making. The interface features some meters that will inform the player about what his employees’ strengths and weaknesses are, and if he is worth the wage.
Your right hand: the menu
The menu should not be underestimated and has to be ready before the opening. Creating your own pizzas, either to include them into your menu or to take part in pizza-making competitions, is an important part of the game. You begin with an empty dough, and you're free to add whatever you want onto it. It depends entirely on you and your ideas. You have to choose which pizzas to add and go buy the ingredients needed. What makes this game so fun is the huge range of options. There are many different stores where you can do that, which offer various qualities of the ingredients. Designing the few first pizzas may take some time, but the game includes a chart that shows some basic pizzas that are easy to rebuild.
Do not forget that different people like different ingredients. If your restaurant is in a district populated mostly by kids, you can expect that a pizza made of sweet things, like pineapple for example, will probably be a popular choice. Also, specific ingredients rise and fall in popularity; if the newspaper announces that pineapples are bad for health, then sales of your pineapple pizza might plummet. So be careful.
Once this is all ready, you can open your first restaurant. The best thing is that you can even advertise it in many different ways and channels, via fliers, billboards, newspapers, television ads and others. Depending on the amount of money put into those campaigns, but also the chosen elements in the ad, this advertisement can be very successful or fail completely. Again, like in reality.
There are also pizza-creating competitions where the player has to build pizzas from a given recipe under time pressure. Winning these competitions will earn the player popularity, making his pizza chain more known, driving more people into the restaurants.
It gets even more interesting. As there are competing pizza chains in town, the player will, of course, try to sabotage them. This can be done by breaking into another restaurant and planting rats, stink bombs and the like, later in the game, the player may even raid the restaurants with heavy weapons, like flamethrowers and rocket launchers. Fitting the Italian theme, there are mobsters in every town who will hand out some dirty missions for you. While offering a nice reward in money, these can be rather risky, because if the player fails to complete these, or doesn't show up for them on time, some strong arms may show up, and beat the player up. This will reduce the players energy-meter, resulting in less time the player may spend at work, and can only be cured by going on holiday, leading to a huge loss of money.
Another risk in sabotaging the competitors or mafia missions is the possibility of being caught by the police. The easiest solution for this of course is bribing them. In fact the game even allows to bribe the mayor at some point.
But beware, there are many actions that can bring you problems, either from the law or from the Mafia itself. Who knows?
European vs. American game version: differences
This being a game developed in Germany, there are some minor differences between the European and US release. The biggest variety is found in the main-map, where the player may choose the city he wants to play at. The original version of course offered a European map, with cities like Berlin, Munich and Rome, while the US version featured an additional map of the US East Coast. Originally published as “Pizza Connection” in Europe, a name that shows a stronger connection to the mafia than its Tycoon name. Pizza Connection is a humorous and at the same time business educating strategy game indeed that challenges you to build a pizza empire from scratch. Try this spicy slice of the pizza-making business.
Big stories make great movies
The Pizza Connection (1985)
Are you familiar with that great movie from 1985, called Pizza Connection? And no, it is not about the history of pizza. It has, however, connection with the Sicilian pizza restaurants back there and stories we can hear about in present days. The Pizza Connection is an Italian crime thriller directed by Damiano Damiani, and was released in the U.S. in September 1985. If it happens that the title does not ring a bell that might be because it is also known as The Sicilian Connection.
The main character, Mario (Placido), is an Italian American who is the main owner of a pizza place in New York, U.S. Even though he is originally from Italy, for years Mario lives in New York, because that’s where his business is. To all appearances just an affable pizza man, Mario is in reality one of the Mafia's most vicious killers. Despite his secret occupation, he is a loving and generous man to his family. However, Mario is being charged with an assassination of a judge in Palermo, which forces him to leave the city and go back to his home in Sicily and ask his brother, Michele, to help him get out of that situation as soon as possible, no matter how. Since the dark days are in the past, Michele is living a new life. He is trying to be a good guy, working hard and staying away from the Mafia. Naturally, a woman is also involved and Michele is in love. The problem is that the woman is an “easy lover”, and Michele desperately wants to give her the freedom she deserves but for that he needs a big amount of money he, unfortunately, does not have.
Mario promises his help in exchange for a small favor to set up a trap for the judge. However, Michele and Mario are not made of one and the same “pasta”. Michele could not ever be a real mafioso and this causes many problems between the brothers and the mafia. There is only one way for Mario to save his brother, one that the mafia would not be too happy about.
If you want to dive into dangerous stories from the Sicilian pizza restaurants, grab your phone, order your favorite pizza from the best restaurant in town and play the movie. You will have a great time!
Mystic Pizza (1988)
Mystic Pizza (1988) is an American coming-of-age movie, directed by Donald Petrie. An interesting fact about it is that it is based on the real-life pizza restaurant “Mystic Pizza”. The restaurant is located in Mystic, Connecticut, and has been very popular among locals and visitors of the town for delivering “mystical” pizzas baked in roaring ovens. The film is mainly about pizza and love. It reveals the story of three young waitresses, Kat Araújo, Daisy Araújo, and Jojo Barbosa, whose life is dedicated to serving and guarding the best pizza in town and desperately looking for love in their own haphazard way. The movie is known for one of its best climax scenes in which a famous TV food critic arrives at the pizzeria to sample a pizza. Everyone is waiting for his approval, as his feedback is of great importance for the restaurant and the girls’ well-being. After the release and popularization of the film, the real restaurant “Mystic pizza” was renovated to resemble the movie set which made it even more famous and provoked the interest of more customers. This charming romantic comedy is oldie, but goodie and is still worth giving it a watch!
Napoli pizza is awarded with UNESCO world cultural heritage status
Although pizza has gained worldwide popularity, the Neapolitan art of “pizza spinning” has long remained within the boundaries of the southern Italian city of Naples. This tradition, originating in ancient Naples, encompasses four different stages in the pizza-making process: preparing the dough, rolling it into the pizza, and cooking it in a wood-fired oven while twirling it at regular intervals to ensure uniformity. Professionals trained in this “pizza spinning art” are called “pizzaiuoli”. The Napoli pizza was given a world cultural heritage status by UNESCO’s cultural body in 2017, having the purpose to raise awareness of this typical Napoli practice. It is now among the 33 elements inscribed by the Intergovernmental Committee on the representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage. The “pizzaiuolo” tradition has been passed down for generations and Italians have long waited for this recognition. Around two million people had signed a petition and had supported the application. They believe that the pizza spinning technique would help strengthen links with other countries that have similar bread-making methods.
Pizza goes academia: Pizza cognition theory
Pizza has been explored by Sam Sifton in relation to a theory of cognitive development, according to which children are able to construct an understanding of the world around by identifying things in opposition to other things. Using this theory, Sifton claims that the first pizza children see and taste at an age they can comprehend what it is becomes their idea of a pizza. Consequently, they relegate all the subsequent slices if they happen to be made with a different kind of dough, sauces, toppings, or spices. Put in a different way, children’s love of pizza arises with their first slice and they will keep this cognitive experience for their whole life. This interesting pizza theory has been approved by some and rejected by others, but maybe to some extent it does answer the question what makes a particular style of pizza “right” and “good” to some people and “unacceptable” and “bad” to others.
Break the ice: 12 fascinating and funny facts about pizza you may probably never heard of
1. The Hawaiian Pizza was invented in Canada but it is the most popular pizza choice in Australia, equaling to 15 percent of pizza sales.
2. In 2007, a convicted murderer named Philip Workman declined his last meal in jail. Instead, he was requesting a large pizza that is supposed to be given to a homeless person in Nashville. His request was refused, but in response, people all over the state donated pizzas to homeless shelters as soon as they heard about that case.
3. In the first “real-world transaction with Bitcoin”, a programmer paid 10,000 bitcoins in exchange for two large Papa John's pizzas. Four years later, those bitcoins were worth
$ 5.12 million.
5. Frozen pizza is so popular in Norway that when a popular brand released a new jingle, it reached #1 on the Norwegian charts.
6. An airline pilot ordered thirty pizzas for his passengers, after finding out they would be delayed two hours for weather. The pizzas were delivered within thirty minutes and were cleared by security and sent directly to the plane in an official airport vehicle.
7. The hacker group, UGNazi, took down the Papa Johns’ website because their pizza was two hours late.
8. In 2015, San Jose police stopped a man from committing suicide by sending him a Margherita pizza and a phone for negotiating using a bomb disposal robot.
9. A large pizza in Australia (11") is smaller than a medium pizza in the US (12").
10. One of the earliest frozen pizza companies was actually run by a family named Pizza.
11. In 1970, Bill Murray worked part-time at Little Caesars and was so poor he would eat raw pizza dough when no one was looking.
12. In 1995, Boris Yeltsin, the then President of Russia, when visiting Washington DC, was found drunk in his underwear trying to hail a cab to find pizza.