Food :: History of Pizza

It is well documented that people of several ancient cultures, like Persia, Afghanistan, and India, ate unleavened flat bread baked on hot stones or in earth ovens. People of these countries continue to eat these breads even today. So, the roots of pizza bread probably lie in the mists of time even earlier than the 6th century BCE, when the soldiers of Darius the Great were known to have eaten bread baked on the flat surface of their shields during war.

The earliest record of flat bread appears in the work of Cato the elder, who recorded Roman history in the 2-1st century BCE. He speaks of ?flat rounds of dough dressed with olive oil and honey baked on stones.? Mention is also found in ?The Aeneid,? written by Virgil in the years just before the birth of Christ.

The first recipe appears in the cookery book of Apicius, where he describes putting ingredients like chicken meat, pine kernels, cheese, garlic, mint, pepper, and oil on hollowed-out bread. In Pompeii were found shops with marble slabs and tools which resemble closely those found in a modern pizzeria.

However, tomatoes were introduced to pizza only as late as 1522, when they were introduced to Europe from Peru. Termed as pizzaioli, the dish was eaten by the poor of Naples as daily bread and savored by the rich. The 19th century Queen Margherita of Italy was so fond of pizza that she has one named in her honor which is popular even today: pizza Margherita.

Pizza migrated to America with the Italians in the latter half of the 19th century. It was introduced to the streets of Chicago by a traditional peddler who carried slices in a metal tub up and down Taylor Street selling a piece for 2 cents.

It was in 1905 that America?s first pizzeria opened. Gennaro Lombardi established the first outlet on 531/2 Spring Street in New York —today well-known as Patriaca dela pizza. In 1943, Ike Sewell created the Chicago special, the deep-dish pizza, at his place Pizzeria Uno.

Pizza?s popularity became universal after World War II, with celebrities of Italian origin like Colonna and Sinatra. From 1950s to the 21st century, pizza has gained popularity in leaps and bounds and reached every corner of the world.

Cherries & Berries, Beechwood Orchards, North 3rd Street Farmer’s Market, Christ Church, Philadelphia
Food  History of Pizza
Image by classic_film
Weekly farmers’ market, launched in 2013, in the historic Old City district of Philadelphia, held in front of the landmark Episcopal and very active Christ Church, between Market and Arch Streets. Christ Church was founded in 1695 by members of the Church of England, and the main body of the church was built between 1727 and 1744.

Farmers’ market address: 20 N. American St., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Christ Church address: 22-26 N. 2nd Street

Beechwood Orchards is a fifth-generation, family-owned farm that has been operating in Adams County, PA for more than a century. From the Beechwood Orchards website:
The farm is currently being run by David and Tammy Garretson. In 2005 they were joined by their son, Shawn Garretson, after he graduated from Penn State with a degree in Horticulture. Last year Melissa Allen, their daughter, returned to the farm. She brought her two small daughters Isabelle (3 years) and Cammy (20 months) who have already begun to show an interest in agriculture.


Fourth of July Philadelphia Trip 2014

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