How Did Pizza Come Into our Social Life?

By: Kanwar Narendra Singh Jodha

Trying to trace the history of the first pizza is a surprisingly controversial subject. Some claim that this popular food is based on early unleavened breads served in the early centuries in Rome. Others trace a connection from modern pizza back to the pita breads of Greece.

It is fairly well established that the first pizza as we know it today was created by a man named Raffaele Esposito from Naples, Italy. Esposito's creation was designed to honor the visit of Queen Margherita to Naples in 1889, and he decorated it with the colors of the Italian flag, using white cheese, green basil, and red tomatoes (tomatoes, which had arrived from the west about 60 years earlier, were originally thought to be poisonous, but by Esposito's time they were already embraced by Italian cuisine).

As the years passed and the turn of the century came about, Italian immigrants brought this recipe with them to America. The first pizzeria was opened in America in 1905. It remained popular almost exclusively among immigrants until the end of World War II, when American soldiers returned to their home soil and brought back a love of the pizza they had discovered overseas. With that, the pizza boom in America began and this food became a mainstream meal instead of an underground Italian snack.

The concentration of Italian immigrants in New York in those olden days explains the fact that many people feel you must visit New York to get true pizzeria-style pizza. It is where the pizza got its American start, after all. And nobody who has experienced New York style pizza can disagree. New York is famous for its pizzerias, where a true slice of pizza consists of a thin, wide crust loaded with plenty of toppings and marinara and smothered in heady Italian seasonings. A side of garlic bread and some heady pastas and tortellinis usually round out the menu. Pizzerias in New York are not for the faint of heart.

In the early 1940s, the city of Chicago, IL took pizza in a different direction. It is believed that the first pizzeria in Chicago was Pizzeria Uno, opened in 1943 by Ike Sewell. Sewell's pizza creation was a new twist on the old New York standard. He created what is known today as deep-dish pizza, where the pizza is sunk low into a deeper pan, and the crust is allowed to rise in thick bubbles around the edges. People flocked to Sewell's pizzeria, and a whole new way of looking at this favorite food was born.

To this day, you can find yourself in some heated debates if you argue with a New Yorker or a Chicagoan about what constitutes authentic pizzeria-style pizza. But whatever crust style you choose, pizza is a unique food with a foggy past and a definite appeal that has lasted through many incarnations.

So you are lucky enough to find yourself in New York or Chicago, or any city for that matter that has a true pizzeria, complete with checked tablecloths and plenty of garlic on the menu, indulge yourself in an old tradition and order a slice. After all, it is tradition.

Bar-B-Que history and style
Barbeque, in the southern and Midwest parts of the United States, consists of slow-cooking meat over indirect heat. Chicken, beef, pork, sausage, ham, and ribs can all be barbequed - even mutton is sometimes barbequed, at least in Kentucky. With so many ways to make so many dishes, the perfect way to make barbequed meat can be a regional "bone" of contention.

In Memphis, Tennessee, barbeque is almost a religion. Barbeque ribs - most often pork, are cooked for long hours, until the meat is so tender that it is ready to fall off the bone. The city bills itself as the pork barbeque capital of the world, and has over one hundred barbeque restraints to back up that claim, many of whom participate in the annual pork cook off that is listen the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest pork barbeque contest anywhere.

The contest, part of the celebration called "Memphis in May", draws some 90,000 cooks and spectators. Competitors come from fifty smaller cook offs sponsored by the main contest. It even runs a series of training seminars for potential barbeque judges. Good barbeque, they say, is all about being tender, without being too mushy, and being smoky, without being overpowering.

Ribs commonly come "wet," that is, with barbeque sauce of some kind, usually mild and sweet in Memphis and basted on before and after cooking, or "dry," with a dry rub of herbs and spices that is applied during or right after cooking. Regardless of which style is favored, the taste of the meat should come through - this is what separates good barbeque from something lathered with barbeque sauce and put in the oven for a few hours.
In Missouri, there is not one, but two predominant styles of barbeque, both of which favor beef, which is not surprising given the history of both Kansas City and St. Louis as "cattle towns." They share a tomato-based sauce that is added after cooking, and can be replicated by mixing ketchup, brown sugar, mustard, and Worcestershire sauce. Interestingly, Missouri's Ozarks are the source of almost half of the charcoal briquettes produced in the United States.

Kansas City, like Memphis, has a large number of barbeque restaurants and hosts several annual competitions. However, it is particularly famous for its sauces, which are thick, rich, tangy, and spicy. The sauce is basted on during the last few moments of cooking, and more can be added thereafter. Dry rub, too, is common on Kansas City style barbeque.

In St. Louis style barbeque, ribs are the flagship dish. These famous spare ribs are a rack of ribs with the chine bone and brisket bone removed. They are cooked with a sauce that is less vinegary, tangier and thinner than its cross-state equivalent, closer, in fact, to that served in Memphis.

Whether sweet or spicy, dry or wet, slow cooked or grilled over an open flame, barbeque is one of the most diverse of all American foods, and one to which many cities lay claim. Each has its own unique character, so get some bread and crackers, or some cole slaw, or even beans, (all traditional barbeque side dishes) and give them a try.

Did you find this article useful? For more useful tips, hints, points to ponder and keep in mind, techniques, and insights pertaining to cooking and recipes. do please browse for more information at our websites.

Top Searches on
Cooking Recipes
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 

» More on Cooking Recipes
 



Share this article :
Click to see more related articles