This is why every pizza you have delivered comes with a little plastic table

You don't really know it at the time, but there's nothing like those days of early childhood. I have some pretty vivid memories of many a Friday evening, when I'd be playing with my brother or my friends and the doorbell would ring. But instead of my dad or one of my friends' parents, I got the very pleasant surprise of having pizza for dinner!

30 very short minutes later, we'd be left with full stomachs, satisfied smiles, and an empty pizza box, save for a little white, plastic table. Being the creative person that I am, I immediately gave the little piece of plastic to my sister, and she'd use it as a little table for her dollhouse. Okay, fine, I don't have a sister; it was my dollhouse, but the point still stands.

Fast forward to present day and my Barbie collection is a well-kept secret (or at least it was), but I still have no idea what those little plastic tables you get with pizza are for. And it's not just something you get at a specific pizza joint, either; regardless of whether you go to Pizza Hut, Dominos or Papa John's, you get that little table with each order.

What a conundrum.

Pizza boxes Credit: Pexels

But here at Food Envy, we're all about finding out more about the food around us, and I thought it would be a good idea to find out exactly why your delivery pizza comes with that tiny table. It's a tale that starts more than 30 years ago, and its main protagonist is a woman by the name of Carmela Vitale.

Back on February 10 of the year 1983, Vitale put through a patent for what came to be officially known as a pizza saver. Also described as a 'pizza table', 'pizza Ottoman' or (more infrequently) a 'pizza nipple', this little invention would soon revolutionise history for years to come. But how?

Let's, for a moment, imagine we're a delicious pepperoni pizza, on our way to being delivered to one very happy household. But from the moment you leave the restaurant in a delivery guy's bike or car, you're going to find yourself tossed with every turn in that harsh box.

Pizza Box Credit: Pixabay

Not to mention, as steam emanates from that hot pizza, the cardboard box begins to sag. That results in melted cheese meeting cardboard, meaning you'd get so much cheese stuck to the ceiling of the box. I don't know about you, but that's not a world I'd be willing to live in. But luckily, thanks to that little pizza table, you won't have to.

In her patent for the "package saver" (lame name, I know), Vitale spoke passionately about the pizza box's tendency "to sag or to be easily depressed", and that "a lightweight and inexpensive device" was necessary to ensure that many other pizza lovers would not suffer the same tragedy that she did.

alt Credit: US Patent Office

So the next time you order a delivery pizza, and it comes not only hot but in perfect condition, thank your lucky stars that Carmela Vitale suffered before you, and that she decided to do something about it.