8 Reasons Pizza Became a Cultural Phenomenon

Pizza Became a Cultural Phenomenon

You and almost everyone you know enjoys pizza at least occasionally. For some people, pizza is truly a passion. Thankfully, there’s a pizza place on every corner and there are endless pizza varieties to choose from. But why do we love pizza so much? Is there something unique about this combination of flavors? Or was pizza embedded into our cultural tapestry long ago?

Countless Reasons to Enjoy Pizza

These are some of the biggest reasons why we love pizza so much.

1. Infinite possibilities.

One of the biggest advantages of pizza is that it can be prepared in nearly infinite ways. If you call up the average pizza place and ask for a list of possible toppings, you’ll probably get a list that’s at least 10 toppings long. Because you can order these toppings in any combination, even a selection of 10 toppings leads to 176 possible pizzas (with no more than 3 toppings each). 

And that’s a relatively small selection of toppings from only one pizza place. Some pizzerias get bold and experimental, using different types of dough, different types of sauce, and even different shapes and styles of pizza, introducing more complexity and far more possibilities. 

Additionally, you can grab pizza from any number of local pizza joints or franchises – or you can cook one of your own in an outdoor pizza oven. Once you start dipping into the world of homemade pizza, there’s no going back. No matter what your tastes are, what your personality is, or where you live, you can find at least some types of pizza that you genuinely enjoy.

2. A balanced meal?

No competent nutritionist is going to tell you that pizza is healthy for you, but it does offer its own kind of balance. There are representations of multiple food groups, including the bready dough, the dairy from the cheese, proteins from meat toppings, and even vegetables. On top of that, there’s a blend of flavor including sweetness, sourness, saltiness, and umami. When you take a bite of pizza, your mouth experiences many flavors simultaneously, making it easy to fall in love with this culinary treat.

3. The sandwich template.

In almost every culture around the world, there exists some form of sandwich. There’s the classic sandwich of meat and cheese between two slices of bread, but there are also more exotic options like tacos and gyros. There’s something universally appealing about having hearty ingredients combined in a shell, wrap, or bread-like platform – and pizza fits the mold.

4. Caloric density.

Dieters and health nuts may not appreciate this quality, but pizza is typically calorically dense. In other words, it packs a lot of calories into every bite. This makes pizza exceptionally satisfying, especially if you’re having a slice after a long, hard day or if you’re trying to feel better after a period of emotional hardship. This also makes pizza an excellent party option; because people can get full after just a couple of slices, you can feed a house full of people with just a few pizzas.

5. The shareable format.

Speaking of parties, pizza is also popular because of how easily shareable it is. Most pizzas come in a full pie format, with individual slices that people can pick up and eat with their hands. You don’t necessarily need plates or silverware; instead, people can take individual slices as necessary and eat them using only their hands. Additionally, it’s easy to make a pizza pie with different combinations of toppings. Most pizza places are more than willing to make a pizza that’s half pepperoni and half mushroom, pleasing both the carnivores and vegetarians simultaneously.

6. Carbs and serotonin.

Did you know that eating carbohydrate-heavy foods like pizza can give you a boost of serotonin? Serotonin is a “feel good” chemical in your brain that serves as a kind of reward; in other words, your brain rewards you for eating pizza!

7. Convenience.

Some people appreciate the convenience of picking up a pizza. Instead of spending two hours or more making a complete dinner from scratch, you can order online and swing by the pizza place on your way home from work to pick up dinner for the night.

8. Nostalgia and positive association.

We also love pizza because we always loved it as kids. Pizza night was a joyous, celebratory occasion – and we’re reminded of it every time we have a piece in adulthood.

A Lasting Legacy

Does pizza have the power to last another thousand years? Is this going to remain a culinary cultural touchstone for countless more generations? It’s hard to say for sure, but the fact that pizza has remained such a strong and popularly appreciated tradition leads us to optimism. 

Regardless of the long-term future of pizza enjoyment, we currently live in an era where you’re never more than a few miles or a few hours away from your next potential slice.

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