While certainly ancient, the earliest origins of pizza are not at all clear. One interesting legend recounts that the Roman soldiers returning from Palestina, where they had been compelled to eat matzoh among the Palestinian Jews, developed a dish called picea upon gratefully returning to the Italian peninsula.
Most sources, however, agree that an early form of pizza resembling what today is called focaccia was eaten by many peoples around the Mediterranean rim, e.g., by Greeks, Egyptians etc.
These dishes of round pita-like, cooked bread with oil and spices on top are the ancestors of pizza, but are not properly speaking pizza. The tomato was unknown and the Indian water buffalo had not yet been imported to Campania, the area around Naples.
With the discovery of the New World, the tomato made its way to Italy through Spain. It was considered a poisonous ornamental and so in the first centuries of its import was not eaten.
The Neapolitan people seem to be the first to wholeheartedly adopt the tomato into their cuisine, so that in our day the (plum) tomato is the most characteristic element of Neapolitan cuisine.
Over the centuries, a veritable tradition of pizza was developed among the Neapolitan poor. It is not surprising, then, that a modern pizza, that is, with mozzarella di bufala and tomato was made in 1871 in Naples for Princess Margherita of Savoia by Raffaele Esposito.
This patriotic pizza, of basil, tomato and mozzarella, in honor of the new tricolor Italian flag’s red, green and white, became the pizza alla Margherita. This form of pizza was then made known, popularized and adapted in all the world through waves of emigration from Naples in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
The History of the American style pizza pie
The United States is among the most pizza enthusiastic countries one can find today. How did this come about?
Italian immigrants to New York City began making a version of pizza when they arrived in their new American home at the turn of the 20th century. The first pizzeria in the U.S. was opened by an Italian immigrant in 1905.
In addition, American GI’s returning from Italy gained a familiarity with the dish and it is in the post-WWII period that pizza really takes off in the United States.
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Article by VPN Association in the Americas