Why This Pizza Has Peanut Shell Toppings

While we're all now used to seeing wacky and unconventional toppings on pizza, this pie from California-based amusement park and pizza parlor chain John's Incredible Pizza Co. takes the cake (or slice?). They top each slice of their popular Spicy Peanut Butter pizza with a whole peanut still in the shell. 

Lodi News describes the pizza as a mix between pepperoni and peanut butter, with the flavor combination as "strangely pleasant" due to the sweetness of the peanut butter and the spiciness of the meat and red sauce. Red Tricycle claims the flavor is even founder John Parlet's favorite of all the chain's offerings, of which there are over 20 frequently rotating varieties to choose from. John's Incredible Pizza Co. website lists over 14 locations for you to pop into if this unique flavor seems like something you would like to try.

But why are there peanut shells on this pizza?

According to an interview done with founder John Parlet for the FoodBeast Katchup podcast, the reason for this strange-looking topping is actually quite simple. Parlet was concerned about food allergies and wanted to avoid unnecessary confusion over which pies had peanuts in them. By placing a whole peanut in the middle of each slice, there is no way to mistakenly pick up something that could harm you or your child. Parlet told FoodBeast that in 27 years of having the Spicy Peanut Butter pizza on the menu, they have never had a single allergy issue, which he credits to the decision to place the whole, in-shell nuts on each slice.

The American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology reports that peanut allergies have been on the rise over the last decade, jumping up 21 percent since 2010 — current data shows that nearly 2.5 percent of children have a peanut allergy. The Mayo Clinic lists the symptoms of peanut allergies as wide-ranging, and can include runny nose, digestive issues, shortness of breath, skin reactions such as hives, and even anaphylaxis, which is a condition that causes airways to constrict, making breathing difficult, and blood pressure to drop, frequently resulting in a loss of consciousness. Anaphylaxis can be life-threatening if not treated quickly enough.

Keep in mind that there is the possibility of cross-contamination during food preparation, especially if there's food on the menu that contains your (or your child's) allergen. It's vital to always carry epinephrine with you wherever you go and consult the company's allergen information before consuming, but if you or your child has a peanut allergy, it's not likely you or they be chowing down on pizza that's prepared next to this peanut-ridden delicacy, anyway.