the History of Pizza
Foods similar to pizza have been produced for thousand of years. The real innovation that we call pizza was the use of tomato sauce as a topping. For some time after the tomato was brought to Europe from the Americas in the 16th century, it was thought to be poisonous due to its bright red appearance.
By the 18th century, it was common for some peasants in the area around Naples, Italy to add tomato to their breads and soon enough the pizza was born. Pizza quickly gained popularity and soon became a tourist attraction.
A description of pizza in Naples around 1830 is given by the French writer and food expert Alexandre Dumas, in his work Le Corricolo, Chapter VIII. He writes that pizza was the only food of the humble people in Naples during winter and that "in Naples pizza is flavored with oil, lard, tallow, cheese, tomato, or anchovies.
The hard core Neapolitans consider to be only two authentic pizzas, the Marguerita pizza and the Marinara.
The Marinara is older, and has topping of tomato, oregano, garlic, and pure olive oil.
The more famous Marguerita pizza is widely attributed to Raffaele Esposito. He baked three different pizzas for the visit of King Umberto and Queen Margherita of Savoy. The queen enjoyed the pizza so much that she sent him a letter thanking him. He responded by naming the pizza after her.
There are today famous pizzerias in Naples where these traditional pizzas can be found. Some of the best reputed restaurants still serve only these two versions of pizzas. I have read of Americans who visited there and described the pizzas as perfect as can be.
Pizza in the USA
Pizza came to the United States with the arrival of Italian immigrants in the 19th century. Even today, due to the universal appeal of pizza, Italian immigrants to other countries, especially in South America, need simply to open up a pizzeria and they are assured of a good livelihood.
Pizza in the USA has greatly evolved according to the American culture's delight for "large and plenty". The Pizza Hut chain started in Wichita, Kansas in 1958, and has since innovated many new types of pizzas. The chain has capitalized on the USA's appetite for pizza and has become the largest pizza chain on the planet.
They also are constantly trying to innovate new types of pizza recipes which will appeal to the masses. Their stuffed crust pizza for example, boosted their sales by over 30% and was considered a billion dollar product.
Due to the fast pace life of the 21st century, many of the pizza chains have evolved from pizza restaurants towards home delivery.
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