While there is no doubt about the standing of pizza on the American menu today, it wasn't always so. It took a lot to bring pizza to its current status of mega food. There are those who say that modern pizza is descended from Middle Eastern pita bread.
Most people believe that pizza is of Italian origin. This is likely not the case, although finding its true origins is a murky proposition. In fact there is no known first pizza; rather there are multiple theories on what the modern pizza was built on. There are those who say that the modern pizza is descended from Middle Eastern pita bread. Another compelling argument seems that be that it started as either Matzo or Foccacia bread, both of which were eaten during the Roman Empire. There are many other popular theories about who was the first to invent pizza and almost all of the ancient civilizations seem to have some desire to take this credit. What is known is that pizza stated out as a snack and not a meal. Early pizza was known to have been developed in Naples, Italy. These early pizza’s didn’t even have a tomato based sauce, due to the superstition that tomatoes were poisonous. It was in 1830 in Naples that the first pizza place was opened. It wasn’t until 1889 that a modern pizza was produced. In a visit by an Italian king and queen to Naples, a pizza maker made a pizza with the colors of the Italian flag, with tomatoes providing the red. Pizza was an instant success.
Pizza In America
It should be no surprise then, that it was Italian immigrants who brought pizza to America. The first American pizzeria was opened in 1905 and is still doing business today. It was some time, however, before the rest of America would learn to love pizza. It was confined almost entirely to Italian neighborhoods until World War II. As our troops conquered Italy, they started to get a taste for pizza. They brought this back with them when they returned from war and the pizza legacy was forever solidified. From that point on, pizza has been an ever growing part of the American cuisine, with pizza places popping up in all parts of country. This remains amazing given our propensity to fast food throughout the years and our newfound health food kick of today. Pizza remains strong despite these outside influences.
How Has Pizza Changed?
Pizza has changed a great deal on its trip from the old world to our dinner plates. That is to assume you use a plate when eating pizza. That famous pizza from Naples consisted of basil, tomato, and mozzarella cheese. This would be considered poor toppings by today’s standards and shows what a difference Americanization has had on the pizza pie. Today we can select from over a dozen in most cases and in some pizzerias even two dozen ingredients.
Where To Find More Information Online?
This site offers a good look into the history of pizza and can be found at http://pizzatherapy.com/historyo.htm.
What’s Cooking America.com
Another site with some interesting theories on the origins of pizza and be found at http://whatscookingamerica.net/History/Pizza/PizzaHistory.htm.
A good write up on pizza’s history can be found by going to http://www.recipepizza.com/history_of_pizza.htm.