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   Pizza is probably the most common globally recognizable and enjoyed food today. What was once originally a food for the impoverished; it has now become a dish desired by everyone. Resulting of a transformation developed over the centuries, pizza has become a portrait of the people that have contributed to its own existence. Although  It is often considered a trademark portrait of Italy, the love of pizza has traversed to all nations.

What once began as a simple bread. Pizza dominates history as one of most commonly used foods for the poor who were forced, over the centuries, to eat only basic staples consisting of cereals and the few products that mother nature was offering.As many people often do, they then began to use their own imagination and ideas to create something tasteful for their meals.

Initially, barley was the most common ingredient used to prepare bread and soon became the first bread to take the form of the pizza. The grains were crushed, mixed with water and flattened down on a round thin pan.

Then they were cooked over red-hot stones. This newly invented dough was used throughout Europe and Asia. Later wheat flour substituted the other cereals becoming the standard grain used.

Throughout history as  the centuries passed pizza took its own course and progressively graduated into the dish that many  know and love today. Having inspired many writers and artists in our history, there have been numerous historians who have created documents and notes about this popular dish.From this extensive documentation we have learned that pizza has truly old origins.

The existence of Pizza has been certified long before the discovery of the Americas around the year 1000 in the city of Naples. At that time pizzas were originally prepared with ingredients such as lard cheese and herbs. The evolution of the modern pizza as we know it today was developed after the introduction of the tomato which originally came from the Andes. Brought back to Europe by the Spanish they set the stage for the pizza of today.

The introduction of tomatoes was not an immediate success. As some people often do, at first many did not believe that they were edible. Originally tomatoes were considered a fruit as it was small and yellow and they were used for mostly for decoration. It was not until 1694 that the first writings about the tomato being used as a food had appeared in a book written by, Antonio Latini, in his book Antonio had wrote that the tomato was cooked like zucchini and eggplants.

Later in 1839 in an other publication by, Ippolito Cavalcanti, it was written that the tomato could be used as a sauce for vermicelli. It is widely believed that tomatoes were not used for pizza until around 1850.In 1889 the introduction of the, "Pizza Margherita" began to become known as the most famous pizza of all. Credited for this historical event is King Umberto I and the Queen Margherita, who as the tale describes, journeyed for their regular summer visits to  their residence in Capodimonte.  

It was during one of these visits that the sovereigns heard about this dish called pizza and asked to try it. As the growth of pizza continued another version was introduced to join the ranks of the most famous. Known as pizzaiolo of Naples, don Raffaele Esposito, was summoned to prepare it for the royal nobles. Preparing  what was two traditional ones and a third one especially created in their honor. Showing tribute to their homeland, on this third pizza he put tomatoes, mozzarella and basil reproducing the colors of the Italian flag.

Queen Margherita was delighted with this creation and so don Raffaele launched it the next day in his pizzeria. This new pizza was then officially titled, "Margherita." As word of this new creation began to spread it did not take long for the birth of pizzerias to come about. Almost as important as the pizza itself, the first pizzeria was built in Naples in the year 1830 at Port'Alba. This then continued to grow and it did not take very long  before they were been built everywhere throughout Italy, and have greatly contributed to the diffusion of the pizza itself.

No longer considered a food only for the poor, eating in a pizzeria in Italy became to be known as wonderful experience for all. Many of these continued to use the wood burning brick stoves and maintain what was a very characteristic look. The method used was to cook the  pizza  directly on a brick surface as close to the fire as possible where the temperature reaches 750°F.

In most pizzerias the visitors were entertained with watching the pizzaiolo preparing and cooking the pizza, which is really amazing to see.The word "pizza" has been believed to  come from the Latin word pinsa, meaning flatbread, yet even today there is much debate about the origin of the word. A legend once suggested that Roman soldiers gained a taste for Jewish Matzoth while they were stationed in Roman occupied Palestine and took their new love with them when they returned home.

A recent archeological discovery unveiled a preserved Bronze Age pizza in the Veneto region. Some time after this, about the Middle Ages these early pizzas started to take on a more modern look and taste. It was known that the  peasantry of the time used what scarce ingredients they could get their hands on to produce their own version of modern pizza dough. These peasants developed their own recipe and topped it with olive oil and herbs.

Next came the introduction of the Indian Water Buffalo which gave pizza the next stage of introducing another new dimension with the production of mozzarella cheese. Even today, the widespread use of fresh mozzarella di buffalo in Italian pizza cannot be substituted. While many have attempted to introduce other cheeses onto pizza these were often used in conjunction with the favorite, fresh mozzarella. Even to this day, no Italian Pizzeria would dare to use the dried shredded type used on so many American pizzas.  

To Be Continued.....

The History Of Pizza

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