Since I was a little kid, I’ve considered pizza one of my favorite foods.

So of course this week holds a bit of special meaning for me, because it’s National Pizza Week.

Yep, a week to openly appreciate this versatile and iconic form of food. It’s a time to dig into a thin crust sausage and black olive or a deep dish Canadian bacon and green pepper, and truly recognize the splendor – and simple greatness – involved.

And surely, a bit of extra cheese is in order.

For the record, National Pizza Week was founded in 1984 and kicks off each year on the second Sunday in January. Sure, as I’ve pointed out multiple times in the past, every day has a special designation of some sort, and most weeks and months do, too, so nobody should be ashamed if they’re not aware of pizza’s big week.

But while most special day, week and month designations aren’t worth being aware of, I’m going to give this one a couple of thumbs up based on its worthy subject.

And as for me, celebrating pizza comes naturally. I can recall many an occasion when pizza and I have had a good time together, and a few that stand out.

Probably the best of those took place in the early 1980s when some friends and I would frequently take advantage of a Wednesday night all-you-can-eat special at Pizza Haven in the Crossroads section of Bellevue, Wash. Rather than a standard buffet set up, patrons got their pizza a slice or two at a time from servers who would come to the table carrying a pizza on a pan and ask if anyone was interested in the variety they had to offer.

Of course, we would say “yes” more often than not, and just for fun, we used to keep track of how many pieces we each ate. On one of those nights, I downed 27. I couldn’t come close to that nowadays, but the point is that my fondness of pizza made it possible.

Years before that, when I was a grade school boy in Anaheim Calif., I loved going with my family to Shakey’s Pizza. Not only was the pizza great, but me and my brother could stare through a huge window and watch it being made.

That was always fun.

Obviously, I’m not alone in my love of pizza. On the contrary, about 98-percent of Americans say they enjoy it, and they eat the equivalent of 100 acres of it daily at an astonishing rate of 350 slices per second. With about 43 percent of Americans indicating pizza is their favorite food, the disc-shaped delicacy is second only to hamburgers in that regard.

And it’s certainly worth noting that pizza’s popularity isn’t limited to the U.S., as more than 5 billion pizzas are sold worldwide each year.

And hey, Feb. 13 will be a huge day for pizza, because Super Bowl Sunday is annually the biggest day for pizza sales.

Go Chiefs, go Domino’s!

But somewhat surprisingly, pizza hasn’t been the beloved culinary fixture it is for all that long. In fact, prior to World War II, it was little known outside of Italy or Italian immigrant communities. 

But behold, pizza gained a foothold across the pond and has relatively quickly become a major player in the U.S. food arena.

Anyway, pizza and I go way back and I’ll probably never waver from my love of this extraordinary edible substance.

As long as there’s no anchovies. I just can’t do anchovies.

By the way, we all get another chance to show our appreciation for pizza when National Pizza Day rolls around again on Feb. 9. To me, few causes are as deserving.

Doug Davison

Doug Davison is a writer, photographer and newsroom assistant for the Houston Herald. Contact him by phone at 417-967-2000 or by email at ddavison@houstonherald.com.

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