The True Origins Of Pizza
You do perhaps enjoy a slice or two of pizza, host a lot of pizza parties, but do you have any idea where it originated from? Was it the city of Naples in Italy or did it come from China? Or is Korea the true origin of pizza, as this YouTube video claims?
Though the Italians are credited for the invention of pizza, its origin can be traced back to ancient times when the Middle Easterners made derivatives of pizza. The Babylonians, Egyptians, Greeks, Israelis, and Armenians would use mud ovens to bake flatbreads. The Egyptians and the Greeks would, however, use spices and olive oil as a topping for the bread. This served as food mainly for the poor working class in those territories.
Peru introduced tomatoes to Europe in 1522. Initially, they were thought to be poisonous. The poor people of Naples, however, had no option but to use them as toppings on their yeast dough. This was the first pizza that we know of today, and it’s why Italy is credited with the invention of pizza. They were quite popular as it was a thrifty way to keep a meal on the table for the family. The only ingredients that were required were flour, cheese, olive oil, lard, and herbs.
It is said that bakers in Naples developed pizza as a way of using up the excess dough and keeping the oven warm after the close of business. They would throw the dough into the oven and then sell it to the poor folks. It was a hit as the poor workers needed something inexpensive they could gobble up without taking much time off work. At that time, Naples was developing as a waterfront city and therefore had scores of poor working class people. Just like today’s pizza, the flatbread was also topped up with tomatoes, garlic, cheese, oil, and anchovies.
Raffaele Esposito is believed to have made the first pizza. It had cheese, tomatoes, and other seasonings and toppings. The first pizza shop, which still exists up to date, opened its doors in Port Alba, Naples. In the late 1800s, Esposito had the privilege of making pizza for the king and queen of Italy who was visiting the city. It was the royal taste that propelled pizza to widespread fame. It was no longer food for the poor. The pizza sensation went beyond the boundaries of Italy during World War II when American and European soldiers on Italian territory had a taste of it. The phenomenon spread to America, Spain, France, and England.
The first American pizza shop was opened by Gennuardo Lombardi in 1905 on the Spring Street, New York. As its popularity grew, new non-Italian ingredients were added to give pizza different tastes. Pizza parlors have opened all around the world and different cultures have come up with their own variations and tastes of pizza. It is so much loved that pizza parties are now a thing. People get together to just enjoy a good meal of pizza- whether from regular ingredients or custom-made.