A Brief History of Pizza, Everyone's Favorite Food

The history of pizza is a twisted tale of love and murder. Or maybe not. Nobody really knows because pizza does not have a specific birth date. Pizza was never actually invented by a single person. It has evolved into its present form over time, with historical influences from many cultures, but, most noticeably, the Italian.

History of Pizza
The most fundamental definition of pizza is simply flatbread with toppings, something found in many different cultures. From the herb-filled breads of Italy to spice-dusted breads of India, the basic concept can be found everywhere. However, once the tomato was introduced into Italy, this tomato and bread combination was embraced. Starting with peasants and working its way to royalty, even the first primitive pizzas were a favored dish.

First Modern Pizza
The first pizzeria is considered to have opened in Naples in the 1830s, even though the modern pizza is considered to have come later. It was an easy and cheap meal for the lower class, basically an early form of fast food.

The closest thing to the first modern pizza in history is usually considered to have appeared in Naples in 1889 to honor King Umberto I and Queen Margherita. The chef, Raffaele Esposito, created a red, white and green pizza to pay tribute to the royal couple's native Italy. The tomato, basil and mozzarella combination was such a hit that we still eat it to this day.

Rise in Pizza Popularity
Pizza popped up in most major English-speaking countries within Italian immigrant neighborhoods. The first American pizzeria opened in New York City in 1905, and the country hasn't gone a single second without a pizza shop somewhere within its borders ever since.

The big boom in pizza popularity came to the United States at the end of World War II. Soldiers returning from the war, particularly those who were stationed in Italy, brought home a desire for the food they had experienced abroad. With economies recovering from the crisis, the cheap pizza already available in most Italian neighborhoods was tasty and practical.

Popular Pizza Toppings
The three most popular toppings for pizza in the US are tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese and sliced pepperoni. Popular pizza toppings around the world tend to vary as widely as cultures do. Fish, curry, potatoes and peppers are popular toppings in different spots, as are eggs, cottage cheese, coconut and squid.

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