History of Who and Where Pizza was Invented: The Real Truth About your Favourite Cheesy Delight
Some people like their veggies, while others prefer to avoid them. Some kids like their burgers, while some prefer to stay fit. But one thing we all can agree with is, Pizza is the king of fast food. As soon as we see a pizza heading towards our way, our senses are overwhelmed with the aroma of hot bread, melted cheese and simmering tomato sauce. However, who really gets the credit for this cheesy delight? Where was Pizza invented?
Dating back to many centuries, 1000 AD to be exact, the word pizza was used by Romans, which meant pie. Ancient Romans would typically have meals that consisted of flatbread with other food items on top of it.
Since pizza is a very common dish nowadays, many people wonder who we have to thank for inventing such an amazing treat. A Historian called Guiseppe Nocca who works at the Alberghiero di Formia Institute claimed that Italians were the original inventors of pizza, but not in the region of Naples as everyone believed. Nocca believed that the first pizza was created about 50 miles away from Naples, in the Gaeta region. Needless to say, the people of Naples were enraged by his claims. They protested by stating that credit for this delicious invention should go to Raffaele Esposito, a local Naples baker, who created the original pizza pie.
In the 19th Century, Raffaele Esposito was the owner of a small Italian tavern named Pizzeria di Pietro e Basta Cosi. At that time, pizza pies were only consumed by poor people. When the Italian King Umberto I and Queen Margherita visited his small establishment, things took a turn for better. He wanted to please the royalty, and hence he decided to bake a pizza pie, which consisted of mozzarella cheese, tomatoes and basil. He designed the pie to resemble the Italian flag. Queen Margherita, who never had a dish like this before, adored the pie so much that the pizza pie was named Margherita in her honour. Esposito took advantage of this event and soon he became the most popular pizza-maker in Naples. He was even given the title of “Father of modern pizza”.
Given its popularity, the Italian flatbread soon became an American sensation. Like most Italians, pizza immigrated to many countries. This is because of the sheer number of Italian immigrants who settled in the USA between 1880 and 1920. With them, they brought their incredible taste buds and pizza-making skills. After World War II, the Italian Americans migrated to the west and embraced the suburbia life, thus introducing the gooey cheese and scrumptious sauce to the wider nation. Initially, Italian Americans would bake the pizza at their home and sell it to unlicensed venues. This continued till G. Lombardi became the first licensed pizzeria in 1905, in New York. Soon, American pizzerias came up with their innovation of the pizza slice. This revolutionized the pizza market in the US since it was convenient for workers to carry the pizza slices than buying an entire pizza pie.
Shortly after the introduction of the pizza slice, pizza became more popular in the US than in Italy. In the 1950s and 1960s, it was pretty much mandated that every family should have a couple of kids and a home of their own. Conveniently, frozen pizza pies easily fit into their freezers. With the bloom in the pizza delivery business, it pretty much sealed its position as America’s most convenient food. Interesting fact, though pizza originated in Naples, it was originally founded by Greek settlers around 600 BC, where pizza was said to exist before the whole city was unified with the rest of Italy in 1861. The cheesy tomato delight wasn't introduced in main Italian cuisine till the 1940s. Hence, for a while, pizza was much more American than Italian.
Around the world, this mouth-melting dish has certainly caught everyone’s heart or rather their appetite. Normally, one would assume that either America or Italy would be the largest consumers of this dish. Surprisingly, according to a study conducted by food association, Norway consumes the most pizza in the world, as a per-person ratio. Since Norway's population is over 5.5 million, they eat the most amount per person. The US comes a close second since basically, it’s the birthplace of Fastfood. In fact, every second in the USA, around 350 slices of pizza are eaten. Pizza is the favourite fast food of the people of the United Kingdom. In every 10 days, one half of the UK population consumes pizza, although they prefer to have pizza at the pizza outlets. Germany is the 4th largest consumer of pizza, where every second, hundred slices are consumed.
Of course, it is a big surprise that Pizza’s birthplace Italy is the 5th largest consumer of pizza. Although many Italians migrated and settled in America, pizza is still savoured in Italy and its authentic recipe is still preserved. Russians, on the other hand, love to drink and eat a lot. Hence, pizza perfectly fits into their diet. In Australia, though people enter into Fastfood competitions, hamburgers beat pizza when it came to Fastfood consumption. In Japan, pizza is considered as a celebration of food. They only consume pizza once a week on an average and generally order it during special occasions. In China, people have yet to pick up the pizza craze though the pizza industry is slowing growing there.
While some might say pizza is pizza, no matter its shape or size, pizza is known by many names around the globe. Starting with the country of origin, in Italy the pizza is generally known as Neapolitan and they adhere to the original recipe of fresh mozzarella, tomato sauce and basil. In India, we call it the paratha, where the Indian flatbread is similar to naan.
Different regions of USA pride themselves on their royal styles of pizza, however, the most unique one goes by the name of Deep Dish. The bread is stuffed with cheesy goodness and sauce. In Germany, Flammkuchen is a German variate of France’s Tarte flambee, which is topped with smoked bacon and Fromage blanc.
In China, Cong You Bing is the local pizza. Legend has it that after having a Chinese scallion pancake, explorer Marco Polo asked the Italian chefs to create a similar flatbread. The Cong You Bing is typical street food in China and Taiwan. In Lebanon, no breakfast is complete without Manakish, a spicy flatbread with just oil and spices. Coca is a Spanish version of pizza, where it's popularly served with any number of toppings, although the bread is more sticker and oilier, it does wonders to the taste buds.
Bulgogi is a beloved dish of Korea, where the beef is marinated with soy sauce, sesame and spice mixture. Mixing it with the flatbread, you get a brand-new takeaway treat with a Korean twist. In Poland, pizza meets sandwich, where cheese, mushroom and onion are baked into a baguette and topped with ketchup. France’s favourite flatbread, Tarte Flambee, is indeed pizza with a twist. Topped with blanc, onion and bacon, this is literally, mouth-watering.
The invention of pizza has certainly changed the face of the world. Pizza is easily available everywhere and at any time. With its popularity and simplicity, it definitely is a simpler solution for many. Even though it was created many centuries ago, it actually helped define modernism in today’s world. We all can agree, no matter the mood, pizza is always there for you.