JEFF TIEDEMAN: That's amore!Americans love their pizza pie, and so do I.
There’s no doubt that pizza is one of America’s favorite foods. And you can count me among those who love the pie made famous by the Neapolitans.
Here are just a few pizza facts that I’ve compiled from a number of studies and polls:
— Americans eat about 350 slices of pizza each second — or 100 acres per day.
— Each year, pizza is a $30 billion industry.
— In the United States, there are more than 61,000 pizza parlors.
— Everyone in the United States eats about 23 pounds — or 46 slices — every year.
— Each year in the United States, 3 billion pizzas are sold.
— Children ages 3 through 11 prefer pizza over all other foods for lunch and dinner.
— Pepperoni is the topping favored on 36 percent of all pizzas.
— Americans prefer meat toppings to vegetable toppings by a ratio of 62 to 100. Women order twice as much veggie toppings than men.
— Pizzerias represent 17 percent of all U.S. restaurants.
— About 94 percent of Americans eat pizza, and 93 percent eat at least one per month.
Those facts aren’t too surprising based on my experiences. While in Waite Park, Minn., about a month ago for a youth baseball tournament, I saw four or five pizza joints within a five-block radius of our motel. And right here in Grand Forks and East Grand Forks, there must be a dozen or so restaurants that feature pizza. (I’ve probably been to at least three-fourths of them.)
I eat pizza about once every two to three weeks, since it’s also one of my grandson’s favorite foods. And come Monday, I’ll get an extra helping of pizza.
That’s because I’ve been asked once again to help judge the fifth annual Best Pizza in Grand Forks Contest. Among the restaurants taking part are Mamma Maria’s, Rhombus Guys, Green Mill and l’Bistro Mediterranean Eatery.
Donations received through the event go toward the Grand Forks Housing Authority’s Neighborhood Network Centers.
Kayla Erickson, resident service coordinator for LaGrave Place and Continental Homes, two of the Housing Authority’s Neighborhood Networks Centers, said it’s very rewarding to see the generosity that comes back to the centers.
The contest will take place at The Link, 300 Cherry St., and it’s open to the public. Judging begins at 5:30 p.m. with People’s Choice voting.
I’ll be judging two of the categories — Best Crust and Most Creative. I’m just hoping contestants don’t take to heart another recent poll that suggests the tough economic times have driven people over the edge, especially when it comes to toppings on pizza.
The study shows that people are putting ribs, watermelon, ranch dressing, spaghetti and Cap’n Crunch Crunch Berries on their pizzas.
Now that’s not Italian!
Tiedeman is food editor at the Herald. Reach him at (701) 780-1136 or toll-free at (800) 477-6572, or e-mail at email@example.com.