Pizza in the Middle Ages
Ever wondered about the
origin of the word 'pizza'? One possibility is that it
may have been derived from the Latin picea, a
word used by Romans to describe cooking bread in an
oven. And the word pizza is believed to have emerged
some time during the Middle Ages. Many sweet and salty
pies had made an appearance around that time and
'pizza' was the word used to describe these delicacies
which found favor with one and all, including the
Italian aristocracy. The credit for the pies goes not
to talented chefs but to poor peasant women who tried
to turn out the best possible dish with the meager
ingredients in their kitchen. Wheat flour, olive oil,
lard, cheese and natural herbs were what they had.
Peasants in Italy and Greece had been eating pizzas
for several centuries before the rest of the world
one main ingredient of pizzas today, the humble tomato
was originally thought to be a poisonous fruit.
Slowly, in the 16th Century, people
overcame their suspicions and the tomato entered
kitchens the world over. Today a pizza inevitably
means cheese and tomato sauce, other toppings are
varied but these two remain constant.
the 16th Century, the Queen of Naples Maria
Carolina convinced her husband King Ferdinand IV to
allow the humble peasant dish into the royal kitchen
and dining room. And it hasn't looked back since then.
The march forward in Pizza History
During the 19th
Century, Naples became the pizza capital of the
world. Pizza was sold on the streets by street vendors
who carried a small stove to keep the pizzas warm.
Pizzas gained in popularity and in 1830 what was
probably the world's true pizzeria opened in Naples.
The pizzeria, known as Antica Pizzeria Port Alba
is still in business!
year 1889 saw the creation of the Pizza Margherita.
The credit for this goes to Rafaele Esposito of the
Pizzeria di Pietro e Basta Cosi (now called Pizzeria
Brandi) and his creativity. In a burst of national
spirit he presented a pizza decorated with the
national colors green, white and red. The red came
from tomatoes, the white from mozzarella cheese and
the green from basil leaves. The royal couple King
Umberto I and Queen Margherita, whose visit had
prompted the innovation, loved the dish. This kind of
pizza earned the name Pizza Margherita and the variety
exists even today.
The first pizzeria
The year 1895 witnessed the first pizzeria being
opened in the United States by an Italian immigrant Gennaro Lombardi. The advent of concepts like fast
food joints, take away food and home delivery have
helped the pizza become more accessible and highly