Pizza has captured the heart of many Americans and has taken on its own American twist over the years. Many believe the staple food found its start in Italy, but its roots actually go back a little farther. Though there is no definitive answer to the origin of pizza, here is a general outline of the evolution of today’s beloved dish.
As far back as ancient Middle East, people were making a basic version of pizza. Greeks, Egyptians, Armenians, Israelis, and Babylonians would cook flat bread in ovens. The Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians then took this bread and topped it with olive oil and spices (what is now known as focaccia) and came a step closer to the pizza we know today.
Then, after the Columbian exchange when tomatoes were brought back to the European mainland from the New World, Old World cuisine saw a flurry of new flavors and dishes. Tomatoes found their way into an originally Greek settlement, soon to be Italian, called Naples. Because many Neapolitans were poor, working families, they required inexpensive, quick food. Pizza became a common staple for its low expense and convenience of cooking and eating and featured a number of tasty toppings, including todays tomatoes, cheese, oil, anchovies, and garlic.
Then, as the story has it, Italy unified in 1861, and in 1889, King Umberto I and Queen Margherita visited Naples. They wanted to experience new cuisine and requested to try the pizza that dominated the streets of Naples. The one the queen enjoyed the most was pizza mozzarella, which consisted of the flat bread, cheese, red tomatoes and green basil, similar to today’s beloved pizza.
After the queen’s experience, pizza became an Italian craze and extended beyond Naples’ borders. Then, when Neapolitan immigrants came to the United States, they brought with them their signature pizzas. This quick and tasty food quickly became a hit along the Eastern coast and found its way inland before long. As the decades of the twentieth century passed and pizza made its way across the country and the continent, it took on different forms, flavors, and toppings. Sometime in the mid-1900s, pizza transitioned from being considered a foreign food to reigning as a staple of New York. The food would soon be a loved dish across the country. Since the implementation of frozen pizza, delivery pizza, and a plethora of pizza restaurants, this food has seen a boom in popularity and is now considered an American favorite.
So now you know where our pizza had its origin. Are you craving a slice of pizza, now? Satisfy your craving at Italian Garden and choose from our diverse selection of pizzas, including the Margarita Pizza, the slice that Queen Margherita turned into a pizza-craze throughout Italy.