Here's What That Little Plastic Table In Your Pizza Box Really Does

When you order pizza on a Friday night, you know exactly what to expect when you open up the cardboard box the delivery driver left on your doorstep. There's the pizza in all of its glory, with whatever toppings you did — or didn't — choose to load up on. There's the dipping sauce, which could be marinara, garlic butter, or ranch, depending on your preference. And if you order from certain places (cough, Papa John's), there are a few spicy pepperoncini tucked in the corner. 

But occasionally, there's something else in your pizza box that you just don't really understand: that tiny white plastic piece in the center of the pizza. While some people have used it as a tiny table for their child's dollhouse or even as a makeshift phone stand (via Kitchn), the piece — which is officially known as a "pizza saver" — actually serves a real purpose. Here's why it's often included with your pie.

It keeps the lid of the box from touching your pizza

The pizza box may be a genius way to transport your pie from Domino's to your front door, but there's one major flaw: It's made of cardboard. And when a pizza is hot, the steam that comes off of it weakens the cardboard, causing it to collapse (via Kitchn). The result? You end up opening your box only to find half the cheese stuck to the lid. Disappointing at best and frustrating at worst.

Enter the pizza saver, which was invented by a New Yorker named Carmela Vitale in 1985, according to Kitchn. The pronged plastic piece sits in the middle of your pizza to prevent the lid from caving in and sticking to your pizza. Gizmodo reports that the pizza saver is made of plastic because it's lightweight yet heat-resistant and typically has three legs and a flat surface to make it as sturdy as possible while minimizing the amount of damage to your pie.