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Saturday, May 18, 2024
  (Source: Linda Stradley, and the web site What's Cooking America)

Pizza is a baked pie of Italian origin consisting of a shallow bread-like crust covered with seasoned tomato sauce, cheese, and often other toppings such as sausage or olive.
The word pizza is believed to be from an Old Italian word meaning "a point," which in turn became the Italian word "pizzicare," which means "to pinch" or "pluck."

Pizza could have been invented by the Phoenicians, the Greeks, or the Romans or anyone, in fact, who learned the secret of mixing flour with water and heating it on a hot stone. In one of its many forms, pizza has been a basic part of the Italian diet since the Stone Age. This earliest form of pizza was a crude bread that was baked beneath the stones of the fire. After cooking, it was seasoned with a variety of different toppings and used instead of plates and utensils to sop up broth or gravies. It is said that the idea of using bread as a plate came from the Greeks who ate flat round bread (plankuntos) baked with an assortment of toppings. It was eaten by the working man and his family because it was a thrifty and convenient food.

In the late 1800s an Italian baker named Raffaele Esposito was believed to have created a dish for visiting royalty. According to the story, the Italian monarch, King Umberto and his consort, Queen Margherita, were touring the area. In order to impress them and to show his patriotic favour, Raffaele chose to top flat bread with food that would best represent the colors of Italy: red tomato, white mozzarella cheese and green basil. The king and queen were so impressed that word quickly reached the masses. The end result was that the dish was well received to the extent that others began to copy it. That is how Pizza Margherita got its name. By the beginning of the 1900s, pizza made its way to North America thanks to Italian immigrants. Today pizza has become North America’s favourite food.
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The opinions and interpretations in this publication are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Government of Canada.


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