The History of Pizza
No one can be sure as to the origin of what today we know as the pizza. In a way it would depend on what is your definition of pizza. A flat bread? A flat round bread? A flat round bread with anything on top? Or a flat round bread with tomato sauce and pepperoni? Well, take your pick. In the Mediterranean we there was a rather common usage of flat exports. This kind of bread was most likely introduced to the southern parts of Italy (Magna Graecia) by its early Greek colonists.
In the 3rd century BC, Marcus Porcius Cato describes something that seems s to be very similar to what we know today as the pizza: "flat round of dough dressed with olive oil, herbs, and honey baked on stones". In 79 AD archeologists excavated shops that might have been pizzerias. The tomato only became a common ingredient in the late 1800's as until then it was believed to be poisonous. The pizza finally grave quickly in popularity and the word of its delicious flavor spread quickly through Europe, leading to a large amount of tourists setting off to Naples to taste the local specialty.
the earliest pizzeria that there is record of opened in 1830 in Naples and is currently active. Until 1889 pizza was not considered food for the wealthy, that's when Rafaele Esposito, a pizzaiolo, was called upon from the King Umberto I to prepare a pizza. It is believed that he made two traditional flavors and one in the colors of the Italian flag with red tomato sauce, white mozzarella cheese and green basil leaves. The new pizza was named after the queen Margherita.
The pizza became popular in the US in 1897 when Italian immigrant Gennaro Lombardi opened a small grocery store in New York. The store began to sell pizzas which were mainly embroidered by Italian immigrants at that time, Lombardi then went on to open the first American pizzeria in 1905.
There were two important factors that helped the pizza gain more popularity among the American people after World War II. Firstly the American troops who were stationed in Italy took their acquired taste back home to America, in addition, the millions of Italian immigrants who were called to help restore the economy bought their cuisine over to the US and the rest of Europe. In the fifties with the increasing popularity of pizza, some restaurant chains began to show up, including pizza hut which was founded in 1954. The pizza business gross lending constantly towards home delivery, which today is responsible for the largest part of most pizzeria profits.
Today the pizza, has taken up the palates of almost all cultures around the world and can be found in a huge variety of toppings, and can easily be made at home or be bought frozen at any supermarket.