Pizza was first invented in Naples, Italy as a fast, affordable, tasty meal for working-class Neapolitans on the go. While we all know and love these slices of today, pizza actually didn’t gain mass appeal until the 1940s, when immigrating Italians brought their classic slices to the United States. Salerno’s is digging into who invented pizza and why, so let’s dive into the history of pizza!
While topped flatbreads were consumed in ancient Egypt and Rome, Italians are credited as the people who invented pizza first. During the 1700s and 1800s, Naples was a bustling waterfront city especially near the shore, where overcrowding and primarily outdoor living forced locals to find quick, easy ways to feed their families. Pizza became a common dish because of its limited ingredients and handy portability, but it was considered a street food for the poor, unsuitable for the upper class.
Little did they know how this seemingly simple creation would turn into a global phenomenon.
Italy may be where pizza was invented, but it wasn’t until Neapolitans crossed the Atlantic that this cheesy cuisine started to really take off. During the 1940s, Italians started serving up their slices in the United States, and Americans quickly took notice of the unique flavors. Pizzerias began popping up in major cities such as Boston, Chicago, and St. Louis, though the first documented pizza parlour was established in New York City in 1905.
After World War II, the world began to clamor for all-things Americana, sending pizza into the stratosphere. All around the world chefs began to experiment with this centuries-old creation, making it new again with local flavors and ingredients such as Sicilian-style pizza. No longer relegated as an unfit meal, pizza became an instant classic, launching numerous chains and endless ways to satisfy cravings.
The Salerno brothers opened their first pizzeria in 1966 in Chicago, and have been delighting locals ever since!
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