Pizza is one of the most popular and beloved foods in the world today, but its history is a long and interesting one. Here’s a brief overview of the history of pizza.
Origins of pizza
The origins of pizza can be traced back to ancient civilizations in the Mediterranean, such as the Greeks, Egyptians and Romans. These cultures made a type of flatbread topped with herbs, oil and cheese, which is similar to modern-day pizza. In fact, the word “pizza” is believed to have come from the Latin word “pinsa,” which means flatbread.
Pizza in Naples
The modern pizza as we know it today, with tomato sauce and cheese, originated in Naples, Italy in the late 18th century. At the time, Naples was a poor city, and pizza was a popular and affordable food for the working class. The first pizzeria, Antica Pizzeria Port’Alba, opened in Naples in 1738 and many more followed in the following years.
The Margherita pizza
One of the most famous types of pizza, the Margherita, was created in Naples in 1889. The story goes that the pizzaiolo (pizza maker) Raffaele Esposito was asked to create a pizza for Queen Margherita of Savoy, who was visiting Naples. He made a pizza with tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese and basil, to represent the colours of the Italian flag. The queen loved the pizza and it became known as the Margherita pizza.
Pizza in the United States
Pizza was brought to the United States by Italian immigrants in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The first pizzeria in the United States, Lombardi’s, opened in New York City in 1905. Pizza became increasingly popular in the United States in the following decades, especially after World War II when returning soldiers brought a taste for pizza back with them.
Types of pizza
Pizza has evolved over the years to include many different types and styles. In addition to the traditional Margherita pizza, other popular types of pizza include:
Neapolitan pizza: A pizza made with San Marzano tomatoes, mozzarella cheese and fresh basil. It is cooked quickly in a wood-fired oven.
Chicago-style pizza: A deep-dish pizza with a thick crust that is often loaded with toppings and cheese.
New York-style pizza: A thin-crust pizza that is larger in diameter than other types of pizza. It is often foldable and eaten on the go.
Sicilian pizza: A thick-crust pizza that is often rectangular in shape. It is usually topped with tomato sauce, cheese and other toppings.
Pizza has become a global phenomenon, with variations and adaptations found in countries around the world. Today, pizza remains a beloved and ubiquitous food, enjoyed by people of all ages and cultures.