Pizza, heavenly pizza, every civilized person in the world knows the food “PIZZA”. It is sold in almost every country in the world.
There is frozen pizza, there is pizzeria pizza, homemade pizza, gourmet pizza, breakfast pizza, and dessert pizza. The list can go on and on.
Flour, water, and yeast that is the bare recipe stripped down; society is “in love” with pizza. It has made many, many people very rich.
But besides the fact that it is delicious, it is one of the most popular things to eat. It is one of the first things to come to mind when there is an impromptu group get together.
Fast, just pick up the phone, order, and there it is, a half an hour. Everyone is happy, the only thing everyone is thinking, will there be enough for a second and maybe even a third piece ?!
All kidding aside, pizza does have history. Pizza or flatbread goes as far back to the neolithic age. If you don’t know what time I’m referring to; its the stone age, that’s as far back as 12,000 years ago.
Archaeologists have found bread as far back as 7,000 years ago. There was a reference to pizza like food as far back as 19 BC. Even in 600 B.C., soldiers were eating flatbreads with cheese and dates on top of their battle shields.
Naples in the 1700s was a settlement of Greece. It was an independent kingdom. It was noted for its working poor.
One of the first pizzerias was founded in the year 1760. At this time Italy was only a region, it had not organized into a country. Italy was not unified until 1861.
Naples was ruled by King Umberto I and Queen Margherita. The pizza was considered fast to prepare and fast to eat. The working poor would eat this and go right back to work.
Pizza started as flatbread and topping it with cheese, anchovies, tomatoes and other condiments. Queen Margherita liked it so much she would call on the working poor to make it and bring it to her. Hence came the first name of a pizza “Margherita Pizza”.
Some others have suggested that the origin of pizza like food can be traced back to Pizzarelli which were Passover cookies which were kosher. They were eaten by the Roman Jews returning from the synagogue.
Some also trace its origin to other Italian Paschal bread. There are other countries too, that have had similar flatbreads. To mention a few there was Egypt, Greece, Lebanon, and China.
Probably the precursor to pizza was focaccia. Focaccia was first eaten by Romans. They called it in Latin “panis focacius”.
The word pizza was first documented in 997 A.D. in Gaeta, Italy. Meaning “bread baked on fire”. It came from Central and Southern Italy.
When Italians started to emigrate to America pizza recipes came along with our ancestors. The Neapolitans, which have come from Naples were replicating their trusty pizzas here in New York, Philadelphia, New Haven, Boston, and Chicago.
The first documented pizzeria here in the United States was Gennaro Lombardi’s in Manhattan on 32 Spring Street licensed to sell pizza in 1905. Lombardi’s Pizzeria is still operating today. They still use the same ovens they used back in 1905. Currently, the Zagat survey claims its the “Best on the Planet”.
When my family was young, Friday nights were homemade pizza night. I’d start the dough in the afternoon, and the kids would be so happy when they got home from school because they knew we were going to have pizza!!!
Pizza was something that was part of our family parties all through my childhood and my children’s, as well. I actually have a picture of my mother, Josie, holding a pizza.
But through the years pizza has evolved. We do not want to give up pizza for the sake of all the carbs in it.
So through ingenuity, we have found a way to have our pizza and eat it too. Hence, cauliflower pizza has come into existence. You can even get them in the frozen section of your local food store.
You can get the shells unprepared and put your own toppings on it, or you can get them fully prepared with toppings on them. I have also made cauliflower pizza myself; it is a process shredding the cauliflower and straining and then squeezing it to get all the water out and adding eggs to it.
There is also the almond flour pizza. Now this one I have never seen frozen, but this one I have made it a couple of times. If you can just put aside that its made with almonds (almond flour IS grounded up almonds) then you will not have to give up pizza while your dieting. It’s alright but its not regular pizza.
All history and substitute pizza aside, pizza is one of the most favorite foods in the world that is beloved by many. Not many people say that they do not like pizza. It will be here as long as we have flour, yeast, and water.
Types of pizza
It is a typical Neapolitan pizza developed in Naples, Italy. It is made with San Marzano tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, salt, and extra-virgin olive oil and fresh basil.
Originating in Naples, Italy, the tomatoes are either San Marzano tomatoes or Roma tomatoes both being plum tomatoes but the catch is that Neapolitan pizza’s tomatoes are grown on volcanic plains of Mt. Vesuvius. The pizza dough is very thin and the crust is bubbled. The mozzarella cheese is cheese made from the milk of a water buffalo.
Chicago Style Pizza
This is a deep dish pizza; it is made with a cake pan. The crust has butter in it. The sauce is made with canned crushed tomato and a little bit of flaked red pepper. It also has bacon and pepperoni. It has layers starting first with the cheese and finishing with the sauce.
New York Style Pizza
It has thin crust which is soft and foldable. It is hand tossed and stretched. Baked in a deck oven gives the dough crispy finish.
Detroit Styled Pizza
It is a rectangular pizza with a thick crisp crust. With toppings such as mushrooms and pepperoni. The crust is notably thicker and very crispy on the bottom.
California Style Pizza
It is a single serving pizza. Its a combination of New York and Italian thin crust. Its toppings come from California cuisine. They are considered gourmet pizza.
Sicilian Style Pizza
It is often a rectangle thick crust. It is similar to a Neapolitan pizza. Favored toppings are onions, anchovies, tomatoes, and caciocavallo cheese.
This pizza does not use any tomato sauce. Its generally made with ricotta, mozzarella, Parmesan cheeses. It generally has either broccoli, broccoli rabe, or spinach. It generally has one of the vegetables on it with a combination of the ricotta, mozzarella and romano cheese.
It’s a basic pizza dough that is put in the oven to bake before adding your topping. You can simply have few ingredients preferable anchovies, Italian tonna olive oil packed, black olives and capers and parmesan cheese. Or you could use crab meat and chopped shrimp with mozzarella and parmesan cheese. With this style of pizza, I would never use a red sauce.
It can have many different toppings but you want to be sure it follows flavor order. You can use basic pizza dough. Italian sausage, cooked bacon, breakfast style sausage, scrambled eggs or hard-cooked eggs. You can finish it off with arugula and sliced avocado.
You would use a sugar cookie crust with cooked fruit topping or pie fruit filling. You can use cream cheesecake topping. You could make it with a chocolate chip cookie mix with a chocolate cream filling. Or you can follow the flavors of a cinnamon bun.
The history of pizza has had a long road and I do not see that road ending any time soon. I only see that road expanding more and more. As long as people can think and create; is as long as there will be possibilities for tomorrow’s pizza.
Hope you have enjoyed the journey and the history of classic food”PIZZA”