NATIONAL PIZZA DAY
Today, February 9, is National Pizza Day! Who doesn’t want to celebrate with a delicious pizza! I found this interesting article about the beginnings of pizza, so grab a slice and read up!
Who does not love pizza? We all do. But before you take a bite out of your favorite slice, we would like to ask you something. Do you know the rich history of pizza?
Humble Pizza Beginnings
Before pizza came into existence, there was focaccia – a Roman dish that consists of flatbread with added toppings. But historical records show that even before there was focaccia, there were already several versions of flatbread that was famous among individuals during the Neolithic age. In fact, bread goes back as far as 7,000 years ago, among the ancient Sardinians who used leaven to bake bread. Ancient Greeks too, have their version of flatbread that they call plakous. Plakous often had onion, garlic, and herbs for toppings.
It was not until about 997 AD that the name ‘pizza’ first surfaced among the residents in Gaeta, Italy. Back then, pizza was not for the wealthy. The pizza was food for the poor and sold on open street stalls. The first pizza flavor was Marinara, which consists of a topping of garlic, oregano, tomato, and extra virgin olive oil. The flavor owes its name to the seamen’s wives, who traditionally prepared this dish for their seafaring husbands when they return from their fishing trip in Naples. Another classic pizza flavor is Margherita, which consists of a topping of mozzarella cheese, tomato sauce, and fresh basil. The history of Pizza Margherita goes back to 1889 AD when a certain Raffaele Esposito baked this pizza in honor of King Umberto I and Queen Margherita of Savoy. Of the three pizza flavors that the baker prepared, the pizza with the colors of the Italian flag-white, red and green, was her favorite, so the people named the pizza Margherita.
Pizza has surely come so far from its humble beginnings as a dish for the poor. Now, pizza has become a favorite in almost every part of the world, particularly among the Americans. Although a lot of changes and innovations have become popular over the years, some pizza stores still retain the old methods of baking pizza. In fact, 1984 saw the formation of the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana or True Neapolitan Pizza Association, which established guidelines on how to make pizza. Among the many guidelines that the association set is the method of cooking hand-kneaded pizza using a wood-fired domed oven and that its diameter should not be greater than 35 centimeters. The association even prescribed a particular measurement for the thickness of the pizza crust-a third of a centimeter!
How Healthy is Pizza?
You may wonder, though, is pizza healthy? We are sure that you do not think so because of the thousands of calories that they contain. But admit it, even when you have already promised yourself that you would not eat more calories than you should, you find yourself craving for a pizza slice. Just a small portion of that pizza, you would say, and then you eat and feel guilty afterward.
As much as we would like to reassure you that pizza is good for those who are on a diet, we cannot. We all know that pizza is on top of the list of foods that those who want to lose weight should not eat.
Those who are merely on a gluten-free diet but not on a weight loss regimen, however, would be triumphal to know that you can eat pizza! Hurrah! Just make sure that you buy yourself a pizza with a gluten-free pizza crust to avoid eating gluten.