Food is one of the vital things that connect people, generations, and even nations. Being a stranger in a new land, food has the knack to give you comfort and support through your hard times. There was a time when some cuisines were customed to a certain piece of land, however with the passage of time and the fact that the modern is now just a gigantic village, where things are co-related one way or another, various cuisines have also been welcomed by other countries and nations, that too with open arms. One such example of widely adored and loved food is Pizza.
Pizzas – How and Where it all began?
When it comes to pizzas, people tend to casually believe that this heavenly concoction of bread, vegetables, and meat was first created in Italy. While it is true in a certain aspect, history cannot negate it more. Pizzas are as ancient as the civilizations of ancient Egypt, Rome, and ancient Greek back in 600 A.D.
The word “pizza” itself is Germanic originated. More accurately, historians had found a document written in Latin that hinted towards the existence of pizza in the early years, through a reference. And that’s the oldest reference that has yet been found. Ancient Greek used to devour an ancient version of pizza that comprised of flat bread, you may relate it to the modern focaccia.
However, when Italians took their time with this dish, things got more interesting. The pizza that we so eagerly eat to satiate our cravings is a modern form of what Ancient Greeks used to have back in old days. Italy, specifically Naples – back in the early 19th century or late 18th century- gave pizzas a modern and very well-deserved touch, and this is where history changed and came up with such amazing food that revitalized the food industry globally. The bread was still flat, but unlike the Greeks, who only used to top their bread with oil and herbs, Italians gave the pizza a modified face by adding meats and cheese to the existing combination.
In Naples, there was a time in the 18th century when the poor working class was deprived of necessities. They were hardworking people who didn’t waste much of their time, so they invented a kind of food that was quick to consume and easy on the pocket – Viola! hence the pizza was given birth. It got quickly famous back then and every corner of the city started to make them with little variations, using ingredients that were handy and not too expensive to get including tomatoes, basil, anchovies, cheese, meat, etc.
Moving forward to few years, in the late 1880s, Queen Margherita visited Naples from her homeland France and came across this savory at some point of her tour. She particularly liked the one kind which had mozzarella cheese along with fresh basil and tomatoes. This particular kind of pizza later was named after the queen in her honor, you may have guessed it by now, it is the classical Pizza Margherita that we are talking about!
Pizzas have taken over the world and nearly every country is aware of this enticing food, some even have added their own touch to the original recipe. The culinary marvel left the borders of Italy during World War 2, with the soldiers who went on to become a part of the war. When these soldiers met people from other nations, they shared a lot of things, among which their cuisine was one. Pizzas gained more popularity with time when the soldiers went back to their homelands and the men who belonged to the US found them intriguing and tasty enough to introduce their peers to the Italian marvel.
Americans have found pizzas as an intriguing meal and they embraced them openheartedly. Soon there was the opening of local pizzerias in the American land and Italian migrants started a successful business in the foreign land. Some of the pizzerias kept true to their original recipes and methods, while some began experimenting with the local tastes. In cities like Chicago, New York, Boston, St. Louis, etc. take their turn and came up with their signature pizza styles that later spread into the whole world, and now one of the famous pizzas across the globe are New York Style Pizzas, Chicago deep dish pizzas, California style pizza, etc.
These pizzas are now a statement of taste and have their own fan following. With the variations they offered and the add-one which were custom to these regions only, these kinds of pizza soon became a comfort food for non-Italian people too. Over time, they have only evolved more and more, from baking on the wood and charcoal bricks where pizza slices were kept inside heated cans, they soon transformed and moved on to bigger brick ovens and gas ovens.
With the growing popularity and increasing demand for the new favorite dish, Americans soon entered the market with their brands and took the world by a storm. Brands like Dominos, Pizza Hut, etc. were introduced back in the mid-20th century. Pizzas have been successfully adapting to the local cuisines of various countries, the reason why they become the favorite food of city dwellers everywhere around the globe. It is indeed one of the best culinary options available that not only connects people but also brings cultures closer.