Pizza is a food that has permeated cultures all over the world and have been adapted to match different tastes and ingredients. The word pizza actually has controversial roots with some sources claiming it to mean ‘pie’ where others derive it from old Italian words meaning ‘a point’, ‘to pinch’, or ‘to pluck’. Although the basic concept has remained very much the same over time, the ways it is created and eaten have become very flexible. One of the winning traits about this special dish is actually the amount of personality that you can put into your pie as you make it your own.
The word pizza first emerged onto the scene around 1000 AD near Rome, although a similar design was found in the Middle East farther before that. Bread has long acted as a transport mechanism for other foods and pizza evolved out of this traditional method. Cheese was an obvious addition around 1600 with the invention of mozzarella in Naples. At this point, the more modern concept of pizza was formed and toppings began gluing themselves to the cheese.
Tomatoes were a scary ingredient in early Europe because of the acid levels and varying colors. When the world began accepting this new addition, it hopped onto the pizza too. The first tomato sauce recipe was created in 1692 and from then on the traditional Italian pizza was born. No longer was pizza an abstract concept of acting as a bread plate. Finally, the basic and recognizable pizza was formed so that we could then enjoy it and branch off from there.
Many events throughout time have added to the popularity of pizza. For example, the end of WWII brought a sweeping pizza trend across the United States as Allied troops came back from Italy where they had turned away their rations in lieu of hot meals from local pizzerias. Today, Pizza Hut is one of the largest fast food corporations in the world and it goes to show that pizza really is an international love!