Pizza is one of those foods that just about everybody knows and loves, but how much do you really know about it? We all know it’s an Italian specialty that hit it big in the United States, but did you know that just about every early culture dating back to the Neolithic age have had something similar to the tomato-sauce-covered treat? All throughout ancient history, there are records of people adding other ingredients to bread to make it tastier, including the Ancient Greeks. The Ancient Greeks had flat bread called plakous, which was flavored with toppings like herbs, garlic, and onion.
The earliest pizzas, though, didn’t even use tomato sauce, because early Europeans thought that tomatoes were poisonous. It wasn’t until Europeans came into contact with the Americas that they learned the tomato was good to eat and began including tomatoes and tomato sauce on pizzas. Prior to that pizza was made using oil and other ingredients. Perhaps the most famous story of the use of tomatoes on pizza, though, is from 1889. On June 11, 1889, the Neapolitan pizza maker Raffaele Esposito created a pizza to honor the Queen consort of Italy, Margherita of Savoy. Called the “Pizza Margherita,” it incorporated tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil, to represent the national colors of Italy as on the Italian flag.
Today, you can find pizzas with just about any imaginable ingredients, and many countries have their own unique style of pizzas. For example, pizzas with French fries are quite popular in the United States, and Canada has its poutine pizzas. What is your favorite pizza variety? If you are stuck for ideas for a Friday night pizza, try our take on the California Pizza Kitchen classic BBQ Chicken Pizza…