Origins of Pizza
The word pizza was first documented in 997 AD inside the Italian city of Gaeta, though a similar style of food to pizza was used back in the Roman era known as Focaccia, which is pizza without the sauce or cheese.
Pizza did not get it’s iconic tomato sauce however until the 16th century when it was imported from America, though it wasn’t until the 18th century that it became common to add tomatoes to pizza, as tomatoes were thought to be poisonous.
The first pizza that was made famous was a pizza made for Queen Margherita of Savoy, the pizza combined the colors of the Italian flag. Basle leaves were used for green, mozzarella for white, and tomatoes for red. This style is still made today, often called a Margherita pizza.
Pizza in the US
Pizza was brought over from Italy by immigrants around the 19th century. It was mostly sold around the Italian communities that had formed. Originally sold by street peddlers, often out of metal washtubs. It was quickly adopted by small cafes and groceries and offered to their patrons. While the origin of the first pizzeria is highly disputed between Chicago and New York, the two developed a different style of pizza than the other.
Types of Pizza
While most people think of pizzas as two different types, there are several forms of pizza that are widely available. The first style that most people is thin crust. This is traditionally a more crispy pizza where the dough is rolled flat and often tossed in the air and placed on a wooden board. The more common form that people see at sporting events is thick crust. Thick crust is often two to four times thicker than thin crust with the edges rolled, sometimes with a special design. This crust is also what lead to the innovation of stuffed crust pizza, where addition cheese or toppings were added inside the rolled dough.
When most people hear the word pan pizza, they think of deep dish pizza. This style of pizza was Chicago’s contribution to Pizza. This is where a metal pan is used instead of a flat wooden board. This style also includes more sauce, toppings, and cheese over traditional thin crust Pizza, but the order is often important. True Chicago has the toppings on the bottom, then the cheese, followed by the sauce, while pan pizza has the sauce on the bottom. An additional style to this is the stuffed Pizza, which is sauce, toppings, an additional layer of dough, and finally the cheese.
While there are lots of styles and lots of types of pizzas out there. A good pizza place, like Nero’s Pizza in Algonquin is a great place to get some. In addition to great pizzas, a good pizza place will also have additional items. A modern addition to pizzas is buffalo wings, while some more traditional sides such as beer nuggets which can make a pizza with friends more enjoyable.