by Mary Eccher page 1 of 2
Pizza! Everybody loves it! It's exciting, tastes good, and we are told it is as nourishing as a meal of meat, potatoes and vegetables. Pizza, the italian word for pie, is basically a layer of pasta dough, or yeast dough, spread with spiced tomato sauce and topped with mozzeralla cheese. Other toppings include chopped meat, pepperoni, bacon, anchovies, mushrooms, green peppers and other savory items.
The exact origin of pizza is hard to pinpoint, but several old books on Italian cookery trace its beginning to a Sicilian baker who topped it with only garlic and oil. Tomatoes and herbs soon followed, but it was not until 1889 that cheese was added, to a pizza created expressly for a pizza-loving Italian princess named Margherita.
It is reported that the first pizzeria in America was opened in the early 1900's. It specialized in Pizza Margherita, which they renamed Pizza Neapolitan Style - thin crust, round, deliciously topped with tomato, cheese and sometimes sausage. Although this restaurant catered primarily to Italian immigrants who lived in Mahattan's "Little Italy", its fame soon spread. In no time at all there were dozens of pizza restaurants, not just in New York, but in every one of our states. These days you can have pizza Neapolitan, Sicilian, New York, Chicago or California style - topped not just with traditional tomato sauce and cheese, but with almost anything that appeals to your taste. Pizza is as familiar to Americans as hamburgers, and just as popular.
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This page was last updated on: June 21, 2008
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