February 19th, 2013
As our brave 'za constituents continue on their journey to 365 slices in a year, we figured we should take some time to learn a little more about this staple of their diets. After all, it’s always best to know what you’re eating, particularly if you’re eating it every day. And as it turns out, pizza has a long and detailed history, including entanglements with royalty, war, and that unfortunate decision to go "deep dish". We've so kindly interpreted this history for you.
According to an excerpt from the Encyclopedia of Food and Culture, all it took was a few queens to start the pizza trend around the mid to late 18th century. As "the earliest pizza legends" go (because, yes, there are so many pizza legends out there), Queen Maria Carolina had a passion for the commoners' food known as pizza (you may also know her as Marie Antoinette's sister...which explains her love for food). In fact, her love was so unyielding they even had a pizza oven built in the royal home. And if the queen has a pizza oven, of course all the nobles in the land have get their own pizza oven. Thus begins the pie’s rise to fame.
The next queen to heighten the pizza's street cred was Queen Margherita. And yep, you guessed correct, she got her very own pizza named after her. We should especially be thankful for this one because it included, for the first time, the magic ingredient known as mozzarella. We're extra thankful for the cheese, but at the time the royalty embraced this pie for the patriotic colors of the red tomatoes, green basil and white cheese. And there you have it. The legend of the pizza creation story.
But wait, there's more! How did this pizza (Italian for "pie") get all the way from Naples to the U.S. of A.? Well it turns out that pizza arrived in NYC around the early 19th century thanks to southern Italian immigrants who wanted the comfort of their native foods. However, it didn't become a part of popular culture until after WWII, when GIs came home with a craving for the Italian food they had eaten overseas. Once it reached popular status, there was no stopping the process of "Americanizing" the pizza.
Box it, freeze it, make it bigger, thicken the crust, add cheese to said crust, make it into a stick, put it on a bagel, add the sauce over the cheese, eat it for dessert, save it for breakfast, make it a lover of meat, turn it into a taco, put it on a t-shirt, and so on, and so on. Or, just put some macaroni noodles and cheddar on top, and call it a day. No matter how you make it, order it, or eat it, just make sure you enjoy it. That's our pizzalosophy, at least.