Entry 417: Any Way You Slice It

According to an article I found online, the average American eats about 6,000 slices of pizza2[1]pizza in a lifetime.

You might assume this number was arrived at scientifically, perhaps by collecting annual pizza dough sales statistics, dividing by percentages of thin crust, deep dish and Sicilian, multiplying by life expectancy, cut into eight slices, carry the three, and so on.

But you would be as wrong as a fig and brie pizza.

What they did was take a poll. I imagine it went something like this:

  • Pollster: “Excuse me, sir. Could you tell me approximately how much pizza you’ve eaten?
    Person: “Certainly. I will have to give you a ballpark estimate, though, since I lost track 10 years ago as I devoured my 2,813th slice.”

I mean, seriously, who the hell knows how much pizza they eat? I couldn’t even tell you how many slices I had at my last poker game!

But they came up with 6,000, though I bet it’s actually higher than that. Two reasons:

  1. People tend to underestimate how much they eat.
  2. I wasn’t one of the 1,000 people they polled.

Trust me, if I had been, the average would have gone way up.

But let’s take the number at face value. The average lifespan in America is 78.74 years. That means about 76 slices of pizza per person per year. Except that some Americas don’t eat pizza until they are, say, three years old, and then it’s one slice blow-cooled by their parents and cut into small, congealed, spat-upon squares. So let’s assume the poll only included adults. That means we’re eliminating 17 years, which allows the average American only 61.74 years to eat his or her 6,000 slices. That’s about 97 slices a year, some of which, particularly in the college years, will be eaten cold. For breakfast.

But I’m also guessing that pizza consumption declines alongside tooth possession, and by the time we’re gumming our pizza while sauce drips unnoticed down our chin, we’re not keeping up that 97/year pace.

You see where I’m going, right? I’m going to round it off at an even 100. That might sound like a lot, but it’s really only 12 and a half pies or so a year…about a pie a month per person. I think that’s reasonable.

I know I do my part.

In Other Dietary News…

At the very moment I was writing the ground-breaking information above, my wife quinoa-grain[1]emailed me an article about a worldwide quinoa shortage.

Don’t start cheering just yet; the news isn’t all good.

My wife emailed me that article because she knows how much I love quinoa, if by “love,” we mean “despises it with a passion I used to reserve for liver and onions.”

In case you’re not familiar with quinoa, it is a South American grain that is one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet, packed with dietary fiber, vitamins E and B2 and iron, and low in fat. And based on that description alone, it tastes exactly the way you’d expect it to.

Some nutritionists call it “the closest thing we have to a ‘perfect food.’ Archaeologists have called it “the sacred food of the Incas.” As I’ve asked previously in this blog, if quinoa is so good, how come you don’t see a lot of Incas around any more? And, by the way, in order to be “perfect,” wouldn’t a food have to…oh, I don’t know…taste good?

Anyway, vegans, vegetarians and misguided people like my daughter have pushed global demand for quinoa so high that many folks can’t afford it any more.

Those folks would be the people who grow it.

Yes, that’s right. Bolivia, the horrible country responsible for most of the world’s quinoa, now exports almost its entire crop, and the domestic price is so high that the people who grow it can’t afford to eat it (although I’ve seen Juan out there in the fields sneaking a couple of handfuls). It is now cheaper for Bolivian farmers to buy imported junk food than to eat their own quinoa.

At least that’s what they say. But I’m pretty sure they just think quinoa tastes disgusting and spend their days laughing their colitas off at vegans, vegetarians and misguided people like my daughter. When they’re out of earshot of curious foreign aid groups, they say “Occidentales estúpido están comiendo este grano horrible que solíamos utilizar para rellenar nuestras almohadas. Prefiero estar desnutridos que comer esto.” Which, according to Google translator, means “Stupid Westerners are eating this grain we used to stuff our pillows with. I’d rather be malnourished than eat this.”

Of course, as far as I’m concerned, those poor farmers are welcomed to my share of the quinoa exports. And that leads me to a very important question:

If all those Bolivian farmers are importing junk food, are they really the ones eating all our pizza?

See you soon.

P.S. I thought I was being very clever with that last line, tying together the two sections ofIMG_1320-e1343421708371-1024x853[1] this post.  And then, to my dismay, I discovered that I could have done it another way.  Yes, that’s right: silly people all over America are creating horrifying quinoa pizzas like this one!  Really, we need a movement to make them stop.

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