A lot has been written about pizza, and as food celebrated everywhere in the world, pizza has seen a lot of twists and turns since first invented.
Pizza rolls, calzone, stromboli and all the other varieties found in different countries are beloved food often associated with Italian cuisine, but in fact, pizza may have been made by someone else the first time, not the Italians.
Okay, so who invented pizza?
Different historians will tell you different stories about the invention of pizza. This is because they each define pizza differently, and so based on this understanding of the term they provide different information.
Pizza such as we know it today, as flat bread sprinkled with olive oil, flavored with spices and topped with a variety of toppings did originate in Italy and was made for the first time in the nineteenth century. It was a pizza we are all familiar with nowadays – called Margherita and named after Queen Margherita herself.
But people ate flat bread with toppings long before pizza Margherita.
The Greeks and the Romans baked flat bread which they enjoyed with local spices and olive oil. Thus historians who think of pizza as flat bread with toppings that don’t necessarily have to include tomatoes, cheese and such say pizza dates back to them people.
And before flat bread existed with toppings, there was flat bread existing by itself, which the ancient Babylonians, the Israelites, and the Egyptians baked in the oven and enjoyed thoroughly. Therefore, some historians date pizza to these times.
History is known for not always being straightforward, hence all the different opinions, but if we are to think of pizza as indeed having to have toppings, then it is in Italy where it was first created.
And often credited with the invention of pizza is Rafaelle Esposito, a baker from Naples, the same one who created pizza Margherita, when actually the poor people of the Naples city first made these flatbreads that they topped with tomatoes, olive, cheese and garlic among other garnishes.
Pizza – a food of the poor
Many of the Italians living in Naples in the 1700s were poor people living in houses no bigger than a slightly bigger room. They needed inexpensive food that they could eat at any time of day, quickly, to then go about their daily chores and work.
The street vendors in Naples were selling this type of food. They were selling pizza. It is even said that Queen Margherita enjoyed in Naples a type of pizza called pizza mozzarella so much it became her favorite.
Interesting to note is that the rest of Italy did not become familiar with pizza until well into the twentieth century. Around the 1940s is when Italians throughout the country started to consume this food.
Americans, on the other hand, loved pizza instantly. The Neapolitans who left Italy to find jobs in America introduced it in New York, Boston, Chicago, New Haven and other cities too. Chicago even invented a pizza of its own. Named Chicago pizza, this is pizza with crispy deep-dish crust filled with cheese and lots of fresh tomato sauce, also other ingredients.