If there’s one dish that’s taken the world by storm, it has to be pizza! How can you not be hypnotized by this tantalizing and dreamy comfort food? Fa st and easy, it’s not only a fa-
vourite at the kitchen table but also at parties, festivals and sporting events. First made famous by the Neapolitans of central Italy, this dish has been embraced by all cultures.
We Canadians prove to have the heartiest appetite for pizza, breaking a world record for the biggest and longest delivery ever made. In 2003, from a distance of over 10,000 kilometers, Canadian peacekeepers stationed in Afghanistan received over 2, 200 medium-sized pizzas. Mainstream culture has also played a pivotal role in its popularity. How can anyone forget Dean Martin’s referral to “pizza pie” in his lyrical rendition of Thats Amore or Julia Robert’s groundbreaking lead role as pizzeria waitress in the Hollywood film, Mystic Pizza? From Italian traditional and thick-crust American to Japanese sushi pizza, there’s no denying its colossal success.
The precise origins of pizza are somewhat obscure. Some say its name comes from the ancient Greek pitke, or fermented pastry, while others give a high-five to the Romans who referred to their flattened bread as pinsa. Howevei; no one can dispute that the pizza so adored today was born in the bustling streets of Naples, where simple flat bread sprinkled with oil and spices was the chosen edible of the pooi: This inexpensive food took on new form following the discovery of the Americas. Italia ns were weary and suspicious ofthe newly-arrived tomato and considered it poisonous. Eventually, after a little trust and experimentation, a perfect marriage between this novelty fruit and flat bread was made. Legend has it that the original pizza and it’s most famous, La Margherita, was made in 1889 to honour the much-admired Italian queen consort, Margherita of Savoy.
On a trip to Naples the queen and her husband, King Umberto, were presented with a pizza showcasing the colours of the Italian flag. Created to symbolize Italian unity as well as recognize the royal couple, the chef sprinkled basil and tomato toppings for effect.
Since then hundreds of varieties have been kneaded, rolled and tossed in the air -from La Diavola (spicy) and Quattro Formaqqi (a four-cheese combo) to the rustic potato pizza and although different cultures create their own unique versions, the European Union has recently recognized and safeguarded Neapolitan pizza by giving it the stamp of Tra-
ditional Specialty Guaranteed Dish. According tothe History Channel’s, Hungry History, pizza made its American debut in New York in 1905 following the influx of Italian immi-
grants. Today Americans purchase three billion pizzas a year with its popularity escalating to soaring heights as pizza shops continue to open at every corner of the country. So, if you’re scrambling about and have no clue what to make the family for dinnei; delectable and satisfying pizza is right at your fingertips!