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Pizza History and Ancestors
Pizza: Its History and Ancestors
By: Holly Bliss

You trudge through the cafeteria line, not quite sure what dubious culinary delight will await you further down. The smells that saunter toward your nose are varied and difficult to dissect. Then suddenly you get a peek. Oh joy, it’s pizza! But wait! Where exactly did it come from? No, don’t try to look through the kitchen doors. Let’s peer into the depths of history to see where pizza was born.

The origin of pizza is a long and winding trail, and in order to simplify it, we will look at it like a family tree. Where do you think pizza was born - Italy? Well, you are only half right. The great-grandparent of pizza is the flat bread, and that can be traced back to the Stone Age. This great- grandparent made its happy way all through the ancient world.

Then a version of this flat bread, pizza’s grandparent, was born. We can’t be exactly sure where in the Mediterranean it began, but we do know it traveled through Babylonia, Greece, and Italy. Sometimes called focaccia, it is flat bread jazzed up with spices, herbs, oils, cheese, and other regional, readily available items.

Pizza’s parent was born when some daredevil, suicidal maniac or just one desperately hungry dude, in the mid-1700s, decided to add a tomato. You laugh, but when the tomato plant was imported from the New World, people thought it was poisonous.

Once they got over their poisoning fear, pizza took on a whole new look and dimension. Even though pizza’s parent was still considered peasant food, it became fit for both royalty and the common folk. In fact, in the late 1800s, a very special pizza, called the Margherita, was created for Italy’s king and queen and is still an Italian pizza classic.

The pizza sitting on your plate came from Italian immigrants and was made popular by WWII soldiers, who couldn’t forget that particular taste of Italy. Today you can find pizza’s cousins all over the United States (and the world) - deep dish in Chicago, thin crust in New York, and more!

Now that you know more about one of your favorite foods, go mark February 9th on your calendar. It’s International Pizza Pie day!

Fun Facts:

-According to the Guinness World Records, the largest pizza ever baked was one measuring 37.4 m (122 ft 8 in) in diameter, made at Norwood Hypermarket, Norwood, South Africa on December 8, 1990. The Norwood pizza's diameter was 3.5 m (11.5 ft) larger than the previous world record set by Pizza Hut, Singapore, in June, 1990. The ingredients included 4,500 kg (9920 lb) of flour, 90 kg (198 lb) of salt, 1,800 kg (3,968 lb) of cheese, and 900 kg (1,984 lb) of tomato puree.

(Source: http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/) For more fun pizza records, click the source link and search “pizza”.

-Milk from the water buffalo was made for the early (and currently considered best) mozzarella cheeses.

-The tomato was first discovered in Peru.

-Pizza is only beat out by the hamburger as the most popular fast food. I think that would change if pizza places had drive-thrus!

-People in the US gobble up 350 slices of pizza a second!

-Weirdest topping I’ve personally come across in the world? (Which makes this point more "odd observation" than "fun fact.") It’s a tie between peas and tuna fish!

About the Author: Using her writing as paint on the canvas of her life, Holly Bliss is an eclectic writer with four pizza eating kids, seasoned traveler - thanks, in part, to her military husband - and an author on www.Writing.Com which is a site for Writers.

© 2002-2006 Holly Bliss. All Rights Reserved. This document may be freely redistributed in its unedited form and on the condition that all copyright references are kept intact along with the hyperlinked URLs.

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