From her authentic Italian beginnings to her journey during World War II, here is the reality of pizza today – including the oldest pizza place in the United States
Today pizza is everywhere, from the bustling cities of Asia to the safari lodges of Africa to the fjords of Norway. But that has not always been the case, it has only recently been the case. Until recently, pizzas were mainly eaten in Italy and by various Italian expats around the world.
Today there are Domino’s, Pizza Hut, Little Caesars and Papa John’s everywhere. Still, NYers to know They have the best pizza in the country. So when you visit you have a guide to the best pizzas in NYC.
The concept of pizza is not unique
Pizza has been around for a long time, although it’s essentially flatbread with a topping. Hence, defining exactly what pizza is in the story can be a little tricky. Different ancient cultures made many types of flatbreads with different toppings.
In the country of Georgia (whose cuisine was considered one of the best in the USSR) they have “Adjarian Khachapuri“It’s a flatbread that is served with generous proportions of piping hot cheese and butter. A raw egg is placed in the center and the bread and cheese have enough heat to cook it.
- Passover: One of the many theories about the origin of flatbread and pizza is that of the Roman Jew Pizzarelle That was kosher for Passover
In Turkey, what is often referred to as “Turkish Pizza” is the lahmacun is a round, thin bread with minced meat, minced vegetables and herbs such as onions, garlic, bell peppers, tomatoes and parsley. It is usually prepared without cheese.
- To kid: We’d tell readers a pizza joke, unless that’s pretty cheesy
Pizza in Italy and in WWII
The forerunner of what we call Italian pizza was likely the focaccia. It is a flatbread known to the Romans as panis focacius to which they would add toppings.
Modern pizzas aren’t all that old, they evolved from a similar flatbread in Naples, Italy in the 18th or early 19th century.
Pizzas remained unpopular with non-Italians until World War II. It would take the global war disaster to spread the pizza. Although Italians had lived in NYC for generations, their dish hadn’t caught on.
But during World War II, thousands of American soldiers fought long and hard in the Italian campaign. Allied troops stationed in Italy soon developed a taste for local Italian cuisine and brought their newfound pizza taste with them to the United States.
The growth of pizzas in the United States
It may surprise many, but the first pizzeria in Canada didn’t open until after WWII in 1948. It was the Pizzeria Napoletana in Montreal and from the 1950s the first pizza ovens came to the northern country.
- Los Angeles: Pizzas weren’t introduced to LA until 1939 by The D’Amore Family
While Canada hardly has a history with the cheesy flatbread, the United States has something of a history. Pizza first appeared in the US in the late 19th century. It was popular with large Italian populations in NYC, Philadelphia, Trenton, St. Louis, and Chicago.
New Yorkers will be happy to know that their city was one of the first to serve Italian pizza outside of Italy and the Mediterranean.
The first printed reference to “pizza” in the United States came from a 1904 article in the Boston Journal.
- First American pizzeria: 1905 or 1897
It’s a little hard to tell when the first US pizza place opened. Some have it in 1905, when Gennaro Lombardi applied for a license to make and sell pizzas in New York. Others say the first store selling pizza was Lombardi’s, which opened as a grocery store in 1897.
After the war, the popularity of pizza grew explosively. Pizza chains sprang up across the country and expanded around the world. One of the first pizza chains was Shakey’s Pizza from 1954.
Papa’s tomato cake
Over in Trenton, pizza was brought to New Jersey with the opening of Joe’s Tomato Pies in 1910 and then Papa’s Tomato Pies in 1912. Today Joe’s Tomato Pies are closed, but Papa’s Tomato Pies will stay open and is one of the most popular pizzerias in the area.
Papa’s Tomato Pies boasts on their website “Oldest continuously family run pizza place in the US! “
Their menu is:
- Small 14 “solid color: $ 16 – The ultimate 6-slice classic tomato pie
- Large 16 “level: $ 17 – The ultimate 8-slice classic tomato pie
- Small mustard cake: $ 18 – 14 “Our classic tomato cake with a thin layer of spicy brown mustard under the cheese and sauce.
- Big mustard cake: $ 19 – 16 “Our classic tomato cake with a thin layer of spicy brown mustard under the cheese and sauce.
Note: They say mustard pie is a local Trenton delicacy
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