Pizza is an oven-baked flat usually circular bread, covered with tomato sauce and cheese with optional toppings. All the basic ingredients of a healthy nutritional plan are used in this world-famous culinary product. From dining out to ordering in, pizza has evolved to one of the most loved food categories in the U.S. and around the globe.
The roots of modern pizza come from the ancient Greek colony of Naples in Magna Graecia, which is the part of southern Italy. As early as the 3rd century BC, Marcus Porcius Cato, the first historian of Rome, mentions that people in that area used to eat a flat round dough dressed with olive oil, herbs, cheese and honey. Even in the city of Pompeii, archaeologists have excavated shops that resemble modern pizzerias. Since the tomato was not yet known in Europe, the ingredients of the ancient pizza were somewhat different, but the concept remained the same. During the 16th century, when tomato was transferred from the Americas to Europe, the poor area around Naples begun adding this plant to their yeast-based flat bread covering it with mozzarella cheese. Soon, pizza gained tremendous popularity among the Italian people and in 1897 the first pizza was produced for the U.S. public by Antonio Totonno Pero who worked as an employee at Gennaro Lombardi’s small grocery store in New York City’s Little Italy.
Today, pizza has managed to become one of the main components of the growing U.S. restaurant chains. As early as 1954, Shakey’s Pizza and Pizza Hut begun their pizza business and today, every U.S. city has a number of pizza restaurants to serve the ongoing needs of people for pizza. In fact, the American pizza business is dominated by companies that specialize in pizza delivery and well-known brands, like Domino’s, Little Caesar’s, Papa John’s Pizza among many others serve the needs of the U.S. customers on a daily basis.
The crust of pizza is traditionally plain, but companies have introduced variations with butter, garlic, or herbs and recently crust stuffed with cheese. Topped with tomato sauce and a number of ingredients, from pepperoni to mushrooms and bacon to spinach, today’s pizzas are capable of feeding a large family or a group of friends watching a game on TV.
Of course, many households prefer the home-made pizza and again many variation s exist on the bread used for the crust and the ingredients with which is garnished. Among the most famous of all pizzas is the Chicago-style pizza, which is baked in a pan rather than directly on the bricks of the pizza oven.