We adore Pizza and statistically, there is a greater than 1 in 3 chance that your favorite is also pepperoni. Americans consume approximately 350 slices of bread every second and if you ask anyone what type of cuisine pizza is, you can bet they’ll say Italian. That is not incorrect. Pizza originated in Italy. However, it has a much richer history than that, and America plays a significant role in it. Continue reading to learn more about the history of pizza.
Pizza Was Not Invented by Italians
To be sure, it’s debatable. When it comes down to what pizza is – yeasted flatbread with various ingredients baked on top – Italians cannot claim it as their invention. The Greeks deserve praise. Pizza was established in Italy since Naples was built as a green port city. Initially, it was bread with olive oil and fresh herbs. The addition of mozzarella and tomatoes came later. Pizza, in its modern form, gained popularity in the late 18th century. It was considered street food at the time. And, following Italy’s unification in 1861, the King and Queen paid a visit to Naples. They sampled a variety of pizzas, but the Queen’s favorite was a soft white cheese pizza with red tomatoes and green basil. These are also the colors of the Italian flag. Margherita was then given the name for this particular topping combination.
When Did It First Arrive in America?
Even with its popularity in Italy, it was relatively unknown outside of the country. That, however, began to change in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Italians, like many Europeans, came to America in search of work. They carried food culture with them. New York City had one of the first reported pizzerias in 1905. But it wasn’t until the 1940s that it became an American staple. With the invention of frozen pizza in the 1960s, it became accessible to everyone. The rest, as they say, is history. We established pizza chains, expanded delivery, and experimented with bizarre topping combinations (like pineapple).
What Is the Distinction Between American and Italian Pizza?
It’s safe to say that the pizza we know today is a far cry from the Italian/Greek flatbreads from which it originated. However, as with anything that emerges from diverse cultures, it is ultimately a matter of collaboration. At Spizzico, we were born and raised in Italy but spent our formative years in the United States. That is why we admire the fusion of the two cultures and the impact they have had on a pizza. Pepperoni, America’s favorite, is not available in Italy. Other distinctions? Italian pizzas typically have a very thin crust, a sauce that is more of a puree than a slow-cooked sauce, and very few toppings.