Evolution of Pizza!

Evolution of Pizza!

Pizza – The Magical Dish!

Pizza is the world’s favourite fast food. We eat it everywhere – at home, in restaurants, street corners… People have been eating pizza, in one form or another, for centuries. Pieces of flatbread, topped with savouries, served as a simple and tasty meal for those who could not afford plates or who for those were on the go.

Shortly after arriving in Latium, Aeneas* and his crew sat down beneath a tree and laid out ‘thin wheat cakes as platters for their meal’. They then scattered them with mushrooms and herbs they had found in the woods and guzzled them down, crust and all, prompting Aeneas’ son Ascanius to exclaim: “Look! We’ve even eaten our plates!”

It was in late 18th century Naples that, the pizza as we now know it, came into being. For a long time, pizzas were scorned by food writers. Pizzas were considered as ‘disgusting’, especially by foreign visitors. However, all that changed after Italian unification.

While on a visit to Naples in 1889, King Umberto I and Queen Margherita were served three sorts of pizza. The queen was delighted. Out of the three varieties, her favourite one – topped with tomatoes, mozzarella and basil – was christened pizza margherita in her honour. Margherita’s seal of approval transformed pizza into a truly national dish. Baker Raffaele Esposito from Naples is credited for making the first pizza in the Italian Flag style comprising of red, white and green colours. This was his tribute to the Italian Queen Margherita.

Originating from the Greek word ‘pektos’, meaning solid or clotted, pizza started out as a simple flatbread with oils, herbs and spices. The arrival of tomatoes played a big part in the popularity of pizza today. Gaining significant recognition in the 1950s, the popularity of pizza shot to stardom and also into the frozen food sections of grocery stores across America. New toppings became available as pizza became more convenient. Between 1950-1980, pizza became a global favourite.

When you eat carb-rich foods like pizza, your brain gives you a boost of serotonin. This increases your energy, satisfies your appetite and improves your mood. Serotonin plays an important part in your emotional well-being and happiness. Pizza has a bad reputation for being unhealthy, but when made right and had a the right intervals, it can be an amazing nutritional source. 

Tailpiece:

•  Pizza is the only dish that can be eaten at any time of the day.

•  The first known documentation of the word ‘pizza’ is from 997 C.E.

•  Pizza was not popular in America until after World War II.

•  Pizzas in Italy were originally square shaped.

•  The world record for the largest pizza is 122 feet and 8 inches in diameter.

•  NASA funded and tested a 3D printer that can make pizza for astronauts!

•  The most popular pizza topping is pepperoni.  In India, the most preferred pizza topping is tofu.

•  The month of October is National Pizza Month in the United States.

•  Papa John’s was the first pizzeria chain to offer online ordering facility.

*Aeneas was a member of the royal line at Troy. He played a prominent part in defending his city against the Greeks during the Trojan War.

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