A rich history.
Pizza has a long and rich history. Long before this food there was the focaccia, a flatbread eaten in ancient Rome to which toppings were added. Other countries had their own pizza-like creations, like the Paratha from India, or the Asian Naan, the German Zwiebelkuchen, or the French Quiche. But it wasn't until the 16th century when tomatoes began being used as a topping that pizza became recognizable as the food we know it as today. Formerly tomatoes were considered deadly since they belong to the nightshade family, but after the poor people of Naples Italy began adding it to their foods, other social classes adopted the practice as well.
Pizza, which literally translated means pie, first arrived in America when Italian immigrants began selling it on the streets during the early 19th century. It was 1905 when the first pizzeria, owned by a man named Gennaro Lombardi, was established in New York's Little Italy. Gennaro's employee, Antonio Totonno Pero started making and selling them for 5 cents each.
Although popular, this unique food was still exclusively a part of Italian culture, it wasn't until 1940 when the allied troops who occupied Italy during World War Two brought back their appreciation for the dish to America. The troops had become tired of their rations and had sought out Italian pizzerias to satisfy their cravings. Soon pizza restaurants began springing up across the United States. Shakey's Pizza, Pizza Hut, and Josey's were some of the first pizza restaurants to come about; later restaurants included Happy Joe's, California Pizza Kitchen, and Godfather's Pizza to name a few.
What food has more variety than pizza? Literally any topping, and combination of toppings imaginable can be added to it. With such unlimited possibilities, it seems impossible not to find a combination that could satisfy everyone. In addition, there are numerous alternate methods for producing this wonderful food.
Some traditional American toppings include; anchovies, onions, mushrooms, green peppers, tomatoes, bacon, chicken, and olives to name a few. Toppings popular in India are pickled ginger, minced mutton, and paneer (a form of cottage cheese). In Russia -- mockba (a combination of sardines, tuna, mackerel, salmon, and onions), and red herring are popular. In Japan eel, squid, and Mayo Jaga (mayonnaise, potato, bacon) are all the rage. Every country has its own unique combination of toppings.
Some notable varieties of pizza are Chicago Style pizza, this kind has thick crust baked in a deep dish pan with the sauce on top rather than the bottom. Then there's Hawaiian Style pizza, which is pizza with ham and pineapple. New York Style pizza, is characterized by a large, wide, thin, and foldable yet crispy crust. Other varieties of pizza include, Brick Oven, California, Detroit, Greek, Mexican, Neapolitan, and New Haven style.
Many of the ingredients and toppings used to make pizza have health benefits. Tomatoes have lycopene for example, Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant that has been shown to decrease the risk of head, neck, and breast cancer. Mozzarella cheese contains vitamin D which prevents rickets in children and promotes healthy bones in adults. In addition, a diet rich in vitamin D is associated with reduced risk of cancer, Multiple Sclerosis, and cardiovascular disease. Cheese also contains calcium which builds stronger, denser bones and prevents osteoporosis, and protein which builds muscle and blood. Mushrooms contain selenium, selenium has been found to improve the immune system against bacterial and viral infections, against cancer cells and herpes virus, cold sores, and shingles. One of the major nutritional benefits of selenium is increasing the HDL cholesterol to LDL cholesterol for a healthy heart. Green peppers contain fiber, which makes your digestive system more efficient, and vitamins C and E which boosts your immune system and keeps your skin, teeth, gums and blood vessels healthy. These are just a few of the health benefits of this fantastic food.
Pizza is statistically one of America's favorite foods. According to a survey conducted by Zagat, 83% of those surveyed say it is among their favorite foods. Furthermore, Americans eat it at least once a week. Notably New York thin crust pizza is the favorite style of pizza at 38%, then there's brick oven at 23%, and neopolitan at 13%
Also according to Zagat, the average slice costs $2.99 nationwide, with a pie ringing in at $15.84. With a pizza being able to feed about four people, this makes it a pretty affordable food. Compare this to other foods like steak or lobster which average about the same cost but feed only one.
Pizza is exciting and brings people together. Restaurants like Chuck E. Cheese base their entire attraction around it and video games. Pizza hut is a common destination for baseball and football teams to grab a bite to eat after practice or to celebrate a victorious game. The words pizza and party are synonymous. Innumerable birthday parties throughout America are celebrated with pizza every day. This dish just gives you that warm and fuzzy feeling all over after you eat it. It's the best.
Lastly, pizza is just plain delicious. It's the perfect combination of ingredients; the hot melted mozzarella cheese, the glistening pools of oil, the crispy slices of pepperoni and other ingredients, the sweet tangy tomato sauce, the hearty crisp crust, all together forming an orgasmic eating experience. It even tastes delicious cold and can be an awesome breakfast.
There are tens of thousands of pizza delivery stores in the United States. Some stores even deliver into the early morning hours. What other food can be delivered with such convenience?
Considering how dynamic and delicious pizza is, it's rich history combined with low cost, convenience, and its health benefits, I truly believe it qualifies as America's greatest food.
Amazon Price: $49.99 $40.00 Buy Now
(price as of Apr 23, 2016)