The history of Pizza

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Believe it or not pizza is older than civilization it’s self. Archaeologists have excavated numerous sites where evidence was found of man eating flat breads topped with a variety of herbs, spices, vegetables and meats. Some of these sites were over 7000 years old. The first documentation of the word pizza was in 997 AD in Gaeta, Italy. However, ancient Greeks baked flat bread and topped it with herbs, onion, cheese and garlic. They called it Plakous. Persian soldiers used their shields to cook flat bread with cheese and dates on top. Roman Jews would eat a kosher cookie after Passover called a Pizzarelle. Abba Eban “A scientist” suggested that Roman soldiers added cheese and olive oil to matzah over 2000 years ago and the modern pizza was born.

In 16th century Naples pizza was sold on the streets. It was a galette flatbread and it was intended for the poor. If the modern pizza was born 2000 years ago in Rome, then it could be said that it came of age on June 11th, 1889 when a Neapolitan pizza maker Raffaele Esposito created a pizza to honor the Queen consort of Italy, Margherita of Savoy. Raffaele topped his pizza with ingredients that would display the national colors of Italy. Tomatoes, mozzarella and basil. He called it “Pizza Margherita”. By the end of the 19th century there were more than 100 pizzerias in Naples. Tourist flocked to the poorer sections of the city try the local specialty. When Allied troops were stationed in Italy during World War II they enjoyed pizza over all the great Italian foods. And so when the war ended they brought the recipes back to their homelands and made pizza a worldwide sensation. At the beginning of the 1800’s there were 54 pizzerias, all in Naples. By 2017 there were more than 60,000 pizzerias in the United States alone.