If you’ve ever taken a big bite of stringy, delicious pizza and wondered, “Who invented pizza?” we’ll give you the lowdown.
Pizza is not only a timelessly tasty food to indulge in, but it also has a colorful history.
Was pizza always a favorite food?
It might surprise you that, although it’s delicious, pizza wasn’t always seen as popular.
During the 18th century, some food writers thought of pizza as disgusting, with an example being Samuel Morse who invented the telegraph.
Pizza has clearly come a long way! Read on to discover how pizza came about, and why it’s so popular.
Was Pizza Born In Italy?
It’s a common misconception that pizza was invented by Italians. Although pizza is a beloved food enjoyed throughout Italy, pizza actually can be traced back to the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans, when it took the form of flatbreads with toppings on it.
The Greeks would enjoy these flatbreads with oil and herbs, so they were pretty much like the focaccia we enjoy today.
However, Italy does have a strong connection to how pizza came about.
During 600 AD, Naples was a vibrant waterfront city and it was here that the concept of pizza started to develop. There were many working poor in the city and they ate the flatbreads sold by street vendors.
But, according to legend, pizza developed in Naples because of how bakers wanted to use their excess dough instead of throwing it away.
Then, in Naples during the 1700s and early 1800s, the population was dense and the city was known for its mass of working poor, who wanted budget-friendly food. Pizza, which took the form of flatbreads with toppings such as anchovies, garlic, tomatoes, and cheese were sold by restaurants and street vendors.
The Invention Of Margherita Pizza
In 1889, King Umberto I and Queen Margherita of Italy went to visit Naples. They wanted pizza from the city’s Pizzeria Brandi, which had been founded in 1760.
The queen loved the pizza mozzarella, and that’s how this pizza containing the soft white cheese, basil, and tomatoes, became called a margherita pizza. The pizza was named after the queen, and it’s still called that today!
From there, pizza started to become popular and spread around the world. However, it was still frowned upon. As we mentioned earlier in this article, pizza wasn’t a showstopper for everyone. Food writers hated it and when cookbooks first hit the scene in the late 19th century they totally avoided adding pizza!
However, we can thank King Umberto I and Queen Mergherita for pizza’s popularity. When they visited Naples and loved the margherita pizza, this made others want to try it. Pizza simply had to be good if the queen herself gave it her stamp of approval!
How Did Creative Pizza Toppings Come About?
During the late 19th century and early 20th century, Italians headed over to America to find jobs, and they brought the idea of pizza with them. New York had one of the first recorded pizzerias, and that was all the way back in 1905!
By around the 1940s, pizza stopped being a foreign food from Italy. America embraced it, and the arrival of frozen pizza in the 1960s made it become even more mainstream.
3Have you ever wondered when pizza started to become varied, with lots of diffrent toppings, such as bananas or pineapples? People started to become more creative with their pizza creations early in the 1960s.
Hawaiian pizza, with ham and pineapple, was invented in Greece, by a man called Sam Panopoulos. He said he came up with the idea for this type of pizza when the tiki trend was huge and he wanted to attract more customers to his restaurant. This opened the floodgates for other creative pizzas to hit the scene.
By the late 20th century, California invented its own style of pizza that was topped with ingredients such as truffles, goat cheese, and artichokes.
Then, in 2010, gluten-free pizza started to become available on the scene. This was in response to the increase of Celiac disease awareness.
Pizza’s Two Eras
Towards the end of the 1960s, there was an important milestone in the development of modern pizza. It was ultimately split into two eras: pre-delivery and post-delivery pizza.
The innovation of delivering pizza helped to stretch the popularity of pizza. Interestingly, during this time pizza also became a part of politics. An example of this is how the U.S. army’s 113th Military Intelligence Unit made use of fake pizza deliveries as an attempt to spy on politicians and reporters.
How Is American Pizza Different From Italian Pizza?
While you might say that pizza is pizza, there are some important differences between American pizza and Italian pizza.
For starters, pizza made in America sometimes comes in a deep-dish style which was invented in the U.S. By comparison, in many regions of Italy, the pizzas usually have a thin, crispy crust.
The sauce used on the pizza varies too. In America, a slow-cooked tomato sauce is popular, whereas in Italy you’ll find oregano, olive oil, pureed fresh tomatoes, and garlic are commonly put on pizza to give it a delicious flavor.
While you’ll find many meat toppings, sometimes used simultaneously, on pizzas in the U.S., such as bacon, ham, and sausage, this isn’t usually the norm in Italy as mixing meats isn’t done. In fact, it’s often frowned upon.
Whether you like Italian or American pizza, there’s no doubt that pizza has become American food as you can find different versions of it in all regions of the country.
What Is Pizza Around The World?
With so many variations of pizza that are present today, it’s interesting to see how pizza is eaten and enjoyed in different regions of the world.
In Hungary, locals enjoy Lángos, which is a fried bread with toppings such as cheese, ham, and sour cream.
Some people choose to have sweet toppings instead, such as sugar and cinnamon.
Catalan coca is a type of Spanish pizza that’s very famous in Spain.
It’s not made with any cheese or sauce, but instead it features peppers, caramelized onions, and paprika.
The “pizza” in Turky is more like flatbread.
Lahmacun is a populuar type of flatbread with a thin crust that contains tomato and minced spiced lamb on it.
In Lebanon and Syria, you won’t find pizza but you’ll get manakish, which is pretty close. It’s made with soft dough that’s topped with local cheese, such as akawi and kashkwan.
Meat topppings can include ground lamb or chicken. Other toppings include cumin, olive oil, yogurt, thyme, and onions.
Here, the “pizza” is a common street food that’s a favorite among the locals. It’s known as zapienkanka, and it’s a mouthful.
It’s really an open-faced sandwich with toppings such as cheese and mushrooms, and it also contains a dash of hot ketchup.
This is a unique type of pizza that’s made with a thick crust and topped with mozzarella cheese and sweet onions.
What makes it special is that it gets baked in a deep pan.
Japanese pizza is known as okonomiyaki. It’s a pizza or pancake that’s filled with ingredients such as meat, eggs, and a variety of condiments. Okonomiyaki can be translated to mean “whatever you want” so the recipe can be tweaked.
However, the base is made with egg, flour, water, and shredded cabbage that’s cooked in a similar way to a pancake on a grill.
What country eats the most pizza?
It might surprise you to find out that Norwegians eat the most pizza, on a per-persion ratio. It’s said that every person eats about 11 pounds of pizza every year. Frozen pizza is especially popular in the country.
What does the word “pizza” mean?
The word pizza is an Italian word for “pie” and it’s thought to have come from the Latin word pix “pitch” or the Greek word “pitta”.
If you love pizza, you’re not alone. It’s one of the most popular foods in the world today. But how did it come about?
In this article, we’ve featured all the important historical milestones pizza has gone through to become the delicious, scrumptious food we love today.
Nicole Dowdy is an avid foodie and successful restaurateur. [He/she] has dedicated nearly all her life to learning popular recipes from across the globe as well as developing new ones. Using Food Migration, Nicole Dowdy shares the very best recipes for just about every home cook looking to try something new in the kitchen. Pro chefs can also learn a few tricks on the website.Looking to improve your kitchen? You will also find awesome and high-quality kitchen utensil recommendations as well as buying guides on this website.