Pizza heard of it it’s one of the most popular foods in the United States however go to any other country and you will likely be able to find a slice of pizza however how did this regional Italian dish go from being local street food to a worldwide phenomenon?
Well it involves some of the greatest conflict in human history some volcanoes however most of all an ingenious business strategy good stuff producer Matt Weber recounts the epic tale of how Pizza invaded America and conquered the world in the spring of 1943 while the combined militaries of Britain France in the United States sat on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea supplementing their field rations with Tunisian cuisine Allied forces got their first taste of victory they had just pushed the Germans and Italians off the African continent dealing the Axis powers.
Their first major defeat of world war ii now allied commanders were contemplating an invasion of the soft underbelly of nazi-occupied Europe to get there they would need to scale the whole leg of Italy which was just a mere and fibia SACEUR across the Mediterranean the troops wouldn’t have much time to savor their victory however there was plenty more cuisine waiting for them on the peninsula some of the Americans had even sampled it before pizza in 2017 Pizza was voted the number one comfort food in the u.s.
Just 75 years earlier nary an American could say they’d even heard of the dish much less tasted it the first pizzeria in the u.s. opened at the turn of the century either in Chicago or New York depending on your source it had followed a wave of Italian immigrants who had carried the dish from their homeland all the way across the Atlantic however it didn’t catch on right away with the American public.
For the next half century it would remain a cultural secret and it would take a world war to finally uncover it before Pizza made its first tentative landings on America’s beach heads it was mostly relegated to a small corner of southern Italy in the countryside surrounding the Bay of Naples while Pizza like flat bread dishes can be traced all the way back to the Roman Empire and flat bread itself first appears shortly after the invention of Agriculture nearly 11,000 years ago.
The oldest known use of the word Pizza doesn’t appear until the first millennium and what might be considered the first pizza delivery order a thousand years ago a bishop in the small Italian village Gaeta ordered 12 pizzas these pizzas were to be delivered every Christmas and every Easter why the bishop needed so many pizzas on a recurring basis is nobodys knowledge.
One day in the late 18th century the tomato joined forces with a local flatbread dish a merger that resulted in pizza as we know it today however for another two centuries pizza would lie in wait content with a single region in southern Italy as the whole extent of its territory waiting for the invasion to come to it in September of 1943.
Italian cuisine, most notably pizza, was fed to allied soldiers who were there. Victory tasted suspiciously similar to pizza and when these soldiers finally returned to their homes they came back with that taste forever seared in their memories. In fact, they sought it out and so another invasion commenced pizzerias popped up all over the country, filtering out of their strongholds in the Italian neighbourhoods of New York and Chicago and infiltrating communities all across the nation via a newly minted interstate highway system.
The greatest post-war development that Pizza had in its arsenal was the rise of the restaurant franchise. Fueled by much more mobile populous and an unprecedented demand for fast and cheap food, restaurant chains began popping up everywhere in the 1950s and 60s at the beginning of 1950 less than 100 franchised companies existed in the US by name 60 less than 10 years later there would be over 900 with over 200,000 franchises across the country.
The Pizza invasion didn’t stop there. Soon, a flotilla of Pizza franchises made landfall in countries as distant as Indonesia and Japan however it wasn’t until the dissolution of the Soviet Union leaving the US as the only remaining superpower when pizza was finally free to conquer the entire world.
In 1990, the first Pizza franchise entered China in just a few years it would be in India then Southeast Asia soon had reached most of the population on earth. The first pizzeria even opened in the capital of the notoriously isolated nation of North Korea it was authorized by the dear leader himself Kim Jong Il.
Pizza has even broke the bonds of earth and boarded the International Space Station. Today, no place on earth or within near-earth orbit is safe from Pizza while it maintains the same basic body plan and design – a flatbread topped with seasonings and sauces.
According to the true Neapolitan pizza Association, the original pizza the genesis of all pizza was in 1889 as the legend goes in an attempt to impress Queen Margherita the sole heiress to the Italian royal family.
An Italian Neapolitan pizza is decked out in the colours of the Italian flag; tomato sauce for red, mozzarella cheese for white and basil leaves for green. The new Queen was so pleased this pizza was forever known as Margherita pizza and all true pizza is descended from this royal lineage anything else is however a Pretender to the throne.