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Today’s Spotlight: The History of Pizza




Hear Ye! Hear Ye! Welcome to the new edition of the OTC Blog.


February brings us so many interesting and educational holidays; Black History Month, Ground Hogs Day, Mardi Gras and Valentines Day. But did you know it also has National Pizza Day! ( You know Rachel will be celebrating on that day...she LOVES pizza.) So we thought it would be fun to do a blog celebrating Pizza!


Pizza has a long history. Flatbreads with toppings were consumed by the ancient Egyptians, Romans and Greeks. But the modern birthplace of pizza is southwestern Italy's Campania region, home to the city of Naples.


These Neapolitans required inexpensive food that could be consumed quickly. Pizza—flatbreads with various toppings, eaten for any meal and sold by street vendors or informal restaurants—met this need.


Legend has it that King Umberto I and Queen Margherita visited Naples in 1889 and the traveling pair became bored with their French meals and asked for an assortment of pizzas. The variety the queen enjoyed most was called pizza mozzarella, a pie topped with soft white cheese, red tomatoes and green basil. From then on, the story goes, that particular topping combination was dubbed pizza Margherita.


But pizza would remain little known in Italy beyond Italian borders until the 1940s. Immigrants to the United States from Naples were replicating their trusty, crusty pizzas in New York and other American cities. Relatively quickly, the flavors and aromas of pizza began to intrigue non-Neapolitans and non-Italians.


As Italian-Americans, and their food, migrated from city to suburb, east to west, especially after World War II, pizza’s popularity in the United States boomed. No longer seen as an “ethnic” treat, it was increasingly identified as fast, fun food. Regional, decidedly non-Neapolitan variations emerged, eventually including California-gourmet pizzas topped with anything from barbecued chicken, ham and pineapple to smoked salmon.


So.. what is your favorite type of pizza?


We thank you for joining our adventure on behalf of Rachel and me. Until next time, fare thee well, friends.


*** referenced articles on Wiki and history channel webpage.


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