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Pizza History

Pizza History

Pizza has been pleasing taste buds for a very long time. In prehistoric times, people baked large pieces of bread on flat cooking stones. Later, in Italy, these flat pieces of bread were spiced up with herbs and called Foccacia focaccia bread. Italians still love to eat focaccia as an appetizer or snack. This snack was handy because you did not need utensils and it could be seasoned with extra scraps of food and fresh produce.

When Europeans came to the New World, they were introduced to tomatoes, which they then took back to their home countries. The Italians needed something a little different to add to their bread-filled diet. The people of Naples, Italy were the first to put tomatoes on focaccia bread. People didn't want to use tomatoes at first because they thought this delicious red fruit was poisonous!

Queen Margherita

Queen Margherita
Terea Giovanni

The world's first pizzeria, Port' Alba, opened in 1830. Pizzas were baked in an oven lined with lava from a local volcano! The first pizza delivery occurred in 1889 when an Italian restaurant owner was asked to create a special dish for the guest of honor, Queen Margherita Terea Giovanni. He wanted to include the colors of the Italian flag in his dish to honor the queen, so he added tomatoes (red), mozzarella cheese (white), and basil (green) to focaccia bread. The restaurant owner named this meal the Margherita Pizza, using part of the guest of honor's name along with part of the name of his restaurant -Pietro II Pizzaiolo. The pizza was delivered to the palace because the Queen did not want to go all the way to the restaurant!

Lombardi's pizzeriaIn 1905, Gennaro Lombardi opened the first American pizzeria in New York City and it is still there today. However, pizza did not become popular until after World War II, when war veterans stationed in Italy returned home craving the pizza they had eaten there. Soon, pre-made pizza pie mixes, frozen pizza, and pizzeria chains sprang up around the country. Today, pizza is one of the most popular and delicious foods in the world!

More Interesting Pizza Facts

 

  • Pizza Hut is the largest pizza company in the world.

  • The world's largest pizza measured 37.4 meters in diameter, and was baked in South Africa in 1990.

  • The world's largest pizza order came from the VF Corporation in North Carolina who ordered 13,386 pizzas for its 40,160 employees nationwide.

  • October is National Pizza Month.

  • Kids between the ages of 3 and 11 prefer pizza over all other foods for dinner.

  • Three out of the top 10 weeks of pizza consumption occur in January. More pizza is consumed during Super Bowl week than any other week of the year.

  • 62% of Americans prefer meat toppings on their pizza, while 38% prefer vegetarian pizza.

  • Mozzarella cheese was originally made from the milk of water buffalo!

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