Pizza's Origin Story
Everyone loves pizza. Whether you prefer New York-style or Chicago-style, thin crust or deep dish, gluten-free or wood-fired, there’s a pizza out there for you. But where did this heroic dish originate? Let’s investigate...
Who Invented Pizza?
The question is actually the source of some debate, as pizza’s roots can be traced back to the flatbread dishes of ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans. However, these baked flatbreads were more in the style of focaccia and didn’t include any tomato sauce.
Some claim that the father of pizza, as we know, it is Raffaele Esposito. Initially, the pizza was considered to be a working-class dish, since it was inexpensive and often produced by bakers who wanted to use their excess dough. However, that perception changed in 1889 when Esposito, owner of a pizzeria in Naples, served the dish to Queen Margherita on her visit to the city. The queen loved the combination of mozzarella, tomato, and basil toppings so much that it became known as Margherita pizza. And with that royal blessing, pizza’s popularity grew.
Pizza History Facts:
Immigrants from Naples introduced pizza to the United States at the turn of the century. Gennaro Lombardi opened the first American pizzeria in Manhattan in 1905. Lombardi’s is still open today and claims that it still uses the same coal oven.
In Chicago, Ike Sewell and Ric Riccardo decided to put a spin on classic pizza by inverting the layers and baking it in a 2-3-inch-deep pan. The pair started selling their deep-dish pizza at Pizzeria Uno in 1943.
Pizza’s popularity: There are more than 76,000 pizza restaurants in the United States and a survey found that over 72 million Americans had eaten frozen pizza within the past week.
Pizza-Related Guinness World Records
- The largest pizza ever made had a surface area of 1,261.65 square meters – almost 66 feet wide. It was crafted in Rome and named “Ottavia”, in honor of the Roman emperor Octavian Augustus.
- The most pizzas ever made in a 12-hour period was 10,065 pizzas. A team of 56 bakers accomplished the feat in June 2017.
- The highest pizza toss was 21 feet 5 inches. Joe Carlucci launched his pizza dough base into the air in April 2006.
- The fastest time to eat a 12-inch pizza was 23.62 seconds, crushing the previous record of 41.31 seconds. Kelvin Medina in the Philippines set this speed-eating record.
Pizza’s story will only continue to grow as future generations introduce bold new twists on the famous dish and intrepid pizzaphiles attempt to set their own pizza-related world records.