How many types of cheese can you fit on one pizza?
Now we know: Answering the foodie questions you didn’t even know you had
Maybe Maslow’s hierarchy of needs isn’t a pyramid . . . it’s a pizza slice. Photograph: Getty Images
Last month, a pizza topped with 111 varieties of cheese served in a Berlin-based Italian restaurant smashed the Guinness World Record for the largest variety of cheeses on a single pizza. The stunt was organised by pizza delivery service pizza.de, Vadoli restaurant and Assemble Entertainment GmbH in Germany, who brought in chefs Mirko Gazzari and Andrea Pellegrini to create the loaded pizza pie.
The pizza boasted a total of 288.6g of cheese, though there was just 2.6g of each cheese type as the pizza base was only marginally larger than your average pizza. Cheese featured included mozzarella, Emmental, red Leicester, Comté and Raclette de Chévre.
A search for other pizza-related records set on the Guinness World Records website (www.guinnessworldrecords.com) brings up 1,038 results. Achievements include largest collection of pizza boxes, largest pizza, longest pizza, fastest time to eat a 12-inch pizza and most people tossing pizza dough (511 people in East Shanghai, for your information).
Perhaps a more pertinent question here is: why? Why break a world record? Cari Romm asked this very question in a 2015 piece for The Atlantic, and found part of the answer with Ian Robertson, a professor of psychology at Trinity College Dublin and the author of The Winner Effect: The Neuroscience of Success and Failure. “The thing that motivates the person to win a race or an athletic performance is a mix of motivations similar to what you get in trivial things like setting bizarre records,” says Robertson.
“Human motivation can be sliced and diced into any number of categories,” says Romm. “Intrinsic versus extrinsic is one example – but one of the more well-known classifications is the ‘three needs’ theory, which breaks motivation into, well, three needs: for achievement, for power, and for belonging.”
So apart from a cheesy advertising stunt, perhaps these absurd accomplishments are mini-power grabs from those who want to be noticed . . . even if it’s just for having the largest collection of pizza memorabilia in the world. Maybe Maslow’s hierarchy of needs isn’t a pyramid . . . it’s a pizza slice.