History of pizza
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A precursor of pizza was probably the focaccia, a flat bread known to the Romans as panis focacius, to which toppings were then added. Modern pizza evolved from similar flatbread dishes in Naples, Italy, in the 18th or early 19th century.
The word pizza was first documented in A.D. 997 in Gaeta and successively in different parts of Central and Southern Italy. Pizza was mainly eaten in Italy and by emigrants from there. This changed after World War II when Allied troops stationed in Italy came to enjoy pizza along with other Italian foods.
In Sardinia, French and Italian archaeologists have found bread baked over 7,000 years ago. According to Professor Philippe Marinval, the local islanders leavened this bread. Foods similar to pizza have been made since antiquity. Records of people adding other ingredients to bread to make it more flavorful can be found throughout ancient history.
- In the 6th century BC, Persian soldiers serving under Darius the Great baked flatbreads with cheese and dates on top of their battle shields.
- In Ancient Greece, citizens made a flat bread called plakous (πλακοῦς, gen. πλακοῦντος—plakountos) which was flavored with toppings like herbs, onion, cheese and garlic.
- An early reference to a pizza-like food occurs in the Aeneid (ca. 19 BC), when Celaeno, the Harpy queen, foretells that the Trojans would not find peace until they are forced by hunger to eat their tables (Book III). In Book VII, Aeneas and his men are served a meal that includes round cakes (like pita bread) topped with cooked vegetables. When they eat the bread, they realize that these are the "tables" prophesied by Celaeno.
Some commentators have suggested that the origins of modern pizza can be traced to pizzarelle, which were kosher for Passover cookies eaten by Roman Jews after returning from the synagogue on that holiday, though some also trace its origins to other Italian paschal breads. Abba Eban has suggested that modern pizza "was first made more than 2000 years ago when Roman soldiers added cheese and olive oil to matzah".
Other examples of flatbreads that survive to this day from the ancient Mediterranean world are focaccia (which may date back as far as the ancient Etruscans); Manakish in Lebanon, coca (which has sweet and savory varieties) from Catalonia, Valencia and the Balearic Islands; the Greek Pita; Lepinja in the Balkans; or Piadina in the Romagna part of Emilia-Romagna in Italy.
Foods similar to flatbreads in other parts of the world include Chinese bing (a wheat flour-based Chinese food with a flattened or disk-like shape); the Indian paratha (in which fat is incorporated); the Central and South Asian naan (leavened) and roti (unleavened); the Sardinian carasau, spianata, guttiau, pistoccu; and Finnish rieska. Also worth noting is that throughout Europe there are many similar pies based on the idea of covering flat pastry with cheese, meat, vegetables and seasoning such as the Alsatian flammkuchen, German zwiebelkuchen, and French quiche.
In 16th-century Naples, a galette flatbread was referred to as a pizza. Known as the dish for poor people, it was sold in the street and was not considered a kitchen recipe for a long time. This was later replaced by oil, tomatoes (after Europeans came into contact with the Americas) or fish. In 1843, Alexandre Dumas, described the diversity of pizza toppings. An often recounted story holds that on June 11, 1889, to honour the Queen consort of Italy, Margherita of Savoy, the Neapolitan pizzamaker Raffaele Esposito created the "Pizza Margherita", a pizza garnished with tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil, to represent the national colours of Italy as on the Flag of Italy.
Pizza evolved into a type of bread and tomato dish, often served with cheese. However, until the late 19th or early 20th century, the dish was sweet, not savory, and earlier versions which were savory more resembled the flat breads now known as schiacciata. Pellegrino Artusi's classic early-twentieth-century cookbook, La Scienza in cucina e l'Arte di mangiar bene gives three recipes for pizza, all of which are sweet. After the feedback of some readers, Artusi added a typed sheet in the 1911 edition (discovered by food historian Alberto Capatti), bound with the volume, with the recipe of "pizza alla napoletana": mozzarella, tomatoes, anchovies and mushrooms.
However, by 1927, Ada Boni's collection of regional cooking includes a recipe using tomatoes and mozzarella.
The innovation that led to flat bread pizza was the use of tomato as a topping. For some time after the tomato was brought to Europe from the Americas in the 16th century, it was believed by many Europeans to be poisonous, as some other fruits of the Solanaceae (nightshade) family are. However, by the late 18th century, it was common for the poor of the area around Naples to add tomato to their yeast-based flat bread, and so the pizza began. The dish gained popularity, and soon pizza became a tourist attraction as visitors to Naples ventured into the poorer areas of the city to try the local specialty.
According to documents discovered by historian Antonio Mattozzi in State Archive of Naples, in 1807 already 54 pizzerias existed, with their owners and addresses. In the second half of the nineteenth century they increased to 120.
In Naples, two others figures connected to the trade existed — the pizza hawker (pizzaiuolo ambulante), who sold pizza, but he did not make it, and the seller of pizza "a oggi a otto", who made pizzas, but sold them in return for a payment for seven days.
The pizza marinara method has a topping of tomato, oregano, garlic, and extra virgin olive oil. It is named "marinara" because it was traditionally the food prepared by "la marinara", the seaman's wife, for her seafaring husband when he returned from fishing trips in the Bay of Naples.
The margherita is topped with modest amounts of tomato sauce, mozzarella and fresh basil. It is widely attributed to baker Raffaele Esposito, who worked at "Pizzeria di Pietro", established in 1880. Though recent research casts doubt on this legend, the tale holds that, in 1889, he baked three different pizzas for the visit of King Umberto I and Queen Margherita of Savoy. The Queen's favorite was a pizza evoking the colors of the Italian flag — green (basil leaves), white (mozzarella), and red (tomatoes). According to the tale, this combination was named Pizza Margherita in her honor. Although those were the most preferred, today there are many variations of pizzas.
"Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana" ("True Neapolitan Pizza Association"), which was founded in 1984, has set the very specific rules that must be followed for an authentic Neapolitan pizza. These include that the pizza must be baked in a wood-fired, domed oven; that the base must be hand-kneaded and must not be rolled with a pin or prepared by any mechanical means (i pizzaioli — the pizza makers — make the pizza by rolling it with their fingers) and that the pizza must not exceed 35 centimetres in diameter or be more than one-third of a centimetre thick at the centre. The association also selects pizzerias all around the world to produce and spread the verace pizza napoletana philosophy and method.
There are many famous pizzerias in Naples where these traditional pizzas can be found such as Da Michele, Port'Alba, Brandi, Di Matteo, Sorbillo, Trianon, and Umberto. Most of them are in the ancient historical centre of Naples. These pizzerias follow even stricter standards than the specified rules by, for example, using only San Marzano tomatoes grown on the slopes of Mount Vesuvius and drizzling the olive oil and adding tomato topping in only a clockwise direction.
The pizza bases in Naples are soft and pliable. In Rome they prefer a thin and crispy base. Another popular form of pizza in Italy is "pizza al taglio", which is pizza baked in rectangular trays with a wide variety of toppings and sold by weight.
In 2012, the world's largest pizza was made in Rome and it was measured to be 1261.65 square metres in area.
Pizza in Canada
Canada's first pizzeria opened in 1948, Pizzeria Napoletana in Montreal. Starting in the late 1950s, the first pizza ovens started entering the country. It gained popularity throughout the 1960s, with many pizzerias and restaurants opening across the country. Pizza was mostly served in restaurants and small pizzerias. Most pizza restaurants across Canada also serve popular Italian cuisine in addition to pizza, such as pasta, salad, soups and sandwiches. Fast-food pizza chains also provide other side options for customers to choose from, in addition to ordering pizza, including chicken wings, fries and poutine, salad, and calzones. Pizza Pops are a Canadian calzone-type snack introduced in the 1960s. Pizza chains across Canada can be found in shopping centres, schools, and neighbourhood plazas, with the majority of these chains offering a sit-and-dine facility for customers.
The most distinct pizza in Canada is the "Canadian" pizza. A "Canadian" pizza is usually prepared with tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, pepperoni, mushrooms, and bacon. Many variations of this pizza exist, but the two standout ingredients that make this pizza distinctly Canadian are bacon and mushrooms. Pizzas in Canada are almost never served with "Canadian bacon", or back bacon as it's referred to in Canada. Rather, side bacon is the standard pork topping on pizza.
In Canada, pizza is served on a variety of crust types, including a traditional-style pan crust, a thin crust, multi-grain crust, whole-grain crust, and a gluten-free crust. Stuffed-crust pizza is also a popular pizza alternative for Canadian customers. It contains pizza toppings of the customer's choice on a mozzarella-filled crust.
In the province of Quebec Pizza-ghetti is a combination meal commonly found in fast food or family restaurants. It consists of a pizza, sliced in half, accompanied by a small portion of spaghetti with a tomato based sauce. Although both pizza and spaghetti are considered staples of Italian cuisine, combining them in one dish is completely unknown in Italy. A popular variant involves using spaghetti as a pizza topping, under the pizza's mozzarella cheese
Some of Canada's successful pizza brands include: Boston Pizza, Pizza Pizza, and Vanelli's. Boston Pizza, also known as BP's in Canada, and "Boston's—the Gourmet Pizza" in the United States and Mexico, is one of Canada's largest franchising restaurants. The brand has opened over 325 locations across Canada and 50 locations in Mexico and the US. The first Boston Pizza location was opened in Edmonton, Alberta, in 1964, and operated under the name "Boston Pizza & Spaghetti House", with locations still opening across the nation. It is the first Canadian restaurant to introduce the heart-shaped pizza on Valentine's Day, a 22-year tradition, where a dollar from each pizza ordered supports Boston Pizza Foundation Future Prospects. Pizza Pizza, and its subsidiary chain Pizza 73 in Western Canada, are among Canada's largest domestic brands based in Ontario. To date, they have over 500 locations nationwide, and fill more than 29 million orders annually. Vanelli's is an international pizza chain that is based in Mississauga. The chain first opened in 1981, serving both pizza and other fresh Italian cuisine, such as pasta and Italian sandwiches. In 1995, the brand opened its first international location in Bahrain and became an international success. The brand continued to open additional locations across the Middle East, with chains now opened in the United Arab Emirates, Lebanon, and Morocco. There are over 110 locations worldwide; making Vanelli's the first pizza brand in Canada to open locations internationally.
With pizza gaining popularity across the nation, major American pizza chains such as Pizza Hut, Domino's Pizza and Little Caesars have expanded their locations in Canada, competing against the domestic Canadian brands. The major American pizza chains have brought their signature classic pizza recipes and toppings into their Canadian chains, offering their traditional classic pizzas to Canadian customers. However, the American chains have also created Canadian specialty pizzas that are available only in Canada.
Pizza in the United States
Pizza first made its appearance in the United States with the arrival of Italian immigrants in the late 19th century and was popular among large Italian populations in New York City, Chicago, Philadelphia, Trenton and Saint Louis.
According to a 2009 response published in a column on Serious Eats, the first printed reference to "pizza" served in the US is a 1904 article in The Boston Journal. Giovanni and Gennaro Bruno came to America from Naples, Italy, in 1903 and introduced the Neapolitan pizza to Boston. Later, Vincent Bruno (Giovanni's son) went on to open the first pizzeria in Chicago.
Conflicting stories have the first pizzeria opening in 1905 when Gennaro Lombardi applied for a license in New York to make and sell pizza. One of the generally accepted first US business to sell pizza, Lombardi's, opened in 1897 as a grocery store at 53½ Spring Street, with tomato pies wrapped in paper and tied with a string at lunchtime to workers from the area's factories. In 1905, putative founder Gennaro Lombardi received a business license to operate a pizzeria restaurant, and soon had a clientele that included Italian tenor Enrico Caruso. He later passed the business on to his son, George.
Pizza was brought to the Trenton area of New Jersey with Joe's Tomato Pies opening in 1910, followed soon by Papa's Tomato Pies in 1912. In 1936, De Lorenzo's Tomato Pies was opened. While Joe's Tomato Pies has closed, both Papa's and Delorenzo's have been run by the same families since their openings and remain among the most popular pizzas in the area. Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana in New Haven, Connecticut, was another early pizzeria which opened in 1925 (after the owner served pies from local carts and bakeries for 20–25 years) and is famous for its New Haven–style Clam Pie. Frank Pepe's nephew Sal Consiglio opened a competing store, Sally's Apizza, on the other end of the block, in 1938. Both establishments are still run by descendants of the original family. When Sal died, over 2,000 people attended his wake, and The New York Times ran a half-page memoriam. The D'Amore family introduced pizza to Los Angeles in 1939.
Before the 1940s, pizza consumption was limited mostly to Italian immigrants and their descendants. Following World War II, veterans returning from the Italian Campaign, who were introduced to Italy's native cuisine proved a ready market for pizza in particular, touted by "veterans ranging from the lowliest private to Dwight D. Eisenhower". By the 1960s, it was popular enough to be featured in an episode of Popeye the Sailor. Pizza consumption has exploded in the U.S with the introduction of Pizza chains such as Domino's, Pizza Hut, and Papa John's.
Pizza chains sprang up with pizza's popularity rising. Leading early pizza chains were Shakey's Pizza, founded in 1954 in Sacramento, California; Pizza Hut, founded in 1958 in Wichita, Kansas; Little Caesars, founded in 1959 in Garden City, Michigan and Josey's Pizza, founded in Newnan, Georgia, in 1943. Later restaurant chains in the dine-in pizza market were Bertucci's, Happy Joe's, Monical's Pizza, California Pizza Kitchen, Godfather's Pizza, and Round Table Pizza, as well as Domino's, Pizza Hut, Little Caesars and Papa John's. Pizzas from take and bake pizzerias, and chilled or frozen pizzas from supermarkets make pizza readily available nationwide. 13% of the US population consumes pizza on any given day.
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