Obviously, we’re huge pizza fans here at pizzacraft. And we know we’re not alone: according to How Stuff Works, the average American puts away “an average 23 pounds” of pizza pie a year, and 3 billion pizzas are sold every year in the United States. (Of course, we prefer making ours at home!)
Being the pizza lovers we are, we were excited when one of our favorite podcasts, “Stuff You Should Know,” did a whole show on “How Pizza Works” (click to listen, right-click to save). Hosts Josh and Chuck go through the history of pizza from its ancient roots, to its more modern-day origins. The ancient Greeks made a kind of cheese flatbread well before the Romans were on the scene. But it wasn’t until after the discovery of the “New World” that a key ingredient — tomatoes — were brought back to Europe and incorporated into what was then considered a peasant dish. The first pizzeria opened in Naples in 1830, and it’s still sold there to this day!
Josh and Chuck also cover pizza’s journey to the United States; after World War II, returning American soldiers had a hankering for the Italian dish, and pizza exploded in popularity. Whereas before it was only served in Italian neighborhoods in the States, it soon expanded across the country with early chains like Shakey’s Pizza and Pizza Hut.
But of course, what is pizza? Stuff You Should Know talks about that too. Arguably the most important part is the dough, but the sauce, cheese, and toppings all play their parts too! The definition of a pizza also differs from place to place: you have a traditional Neapolitan pizza, a New York slice, Chicago deep dish, and lesser-known regional pies like New Jersey tomato pie and St. Louis style pizza.
While learning about pizza can be fascinating, we think the best thing about pizza is still eating it!