Have you ever wondered where pizza comes from? One interesting fact about the history of pizza is that during World War II, American soldiers stationed in Italy developed a taste for pizza and brought it back with them to the United States. As a result, pizza started to become more prevalent in America, and the first frozen pizzas were introduced in the 1950s, making pizza even more accessible to people all over the country.
Here’s a brief history of pizza and how it has evolved.
The Origins of Pizza
Pizza as we know it today can trace its roots back to ancient civilizations. The ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans had dishes resembling pizza, consisting of flatbreads topped with herbs, cheese, and other ingredients.
However, the modern pizza we know and love today is widely believed to have originated in Naples, Italy, in the 18th century. Naples was a poor and overcrowded city at the time, and food was often scarce. The people of Naples often topped their flatbreads with whatever ingredients they could find, such as tomatoes, garlic, and cheese.
The First Pizzerias
Although pizza restaurants are now prevalent in all parts of the world, the first pizzeria is said to be Antica Pizzeria Port’Alba, which opened in Naples in 1738. It was here that the Margherita pizza was created, which is now one of the most popular pizza types in the world. Legend has it that the Margherita pizza was made in honor of Queen Margherita of Savoy, who visited Naples in 1889. The pizza was topped with tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, and basil to represent the colors of the Italian flag.
Pizza in America
Pizza came to America in the late 19th century when Italian immigrants started to settle in cities like New York and Chicago. Lombardi’s first pizzeria in the United States opened in New York City in 1905 and is still open today and is considered one of the best pizzerias in the country. Over time, pizza became an American favorite and started to evolve into different styles. New York-style pizza is famous for its thin crust and large slices, while Chicago-style pizza is a deep-dish pizza with a thick crust and lots of toppings.
Today, pizza is enjoyed worldwide in many different styles and varieties. Some pizza restaurants specialize in Neapolitan-style pizza, cooked in a wood-fired oven with a thin crust with a crispy edge. Other pizzerias offer gourmet pizzas with unique toppings like figs, prosciutto, and truffle oil.
Recently, there has been a trend towards healthier pizza options, such as cauliflower crust and vegetable-based toppings. Gluten-free and vegan pizzas have also become more popular, making pizza accessible to people with dietary restrictions.
The history of pizza is a long and fascinating one, and it’s clear that this humble dish has come a long way from its humble origins in Naples. Pizza is a beloved food worldwide, with a pizza to suit every taste and dietary preference.