The Story of How Pizza was Born (according to me) by Chef Lippe


The Story of How Pizza was Born (according to me) by Chef Lippe

Around the year 50 B.C. Egyptians had a very happy life, they had plentiful harvests, satisfied herds, and a nice government, headed by a beautiful woman by the name of Cleopatra. The arts flourished, and social interaction was more permissive than it had been in a long time. Even the poor were happy. Then suddenly everything changed. Strange people arrived, and soldiers arrived with them. It was the Romans.

They came in such numbers, that peasant families were ordered to shelter the upper echelon of the Roman Legion in their houses. Customary eating ware of normal Egyptians at the time consisted of flat round hard dry dough where food was placed to be eaten with the tips of the fingers of the right hand. (the left hand handled less noble tasks) The disks were washed regularly after every meal and dried under the hard dry Egyptian sun.

To the dismay of Egyptian housewives, Roman soldiers would eat their plates at the end of the meal. They were after all used to feed on their standard issued buccellatum a hardtack biscuit, and the Egyptian dough disks the locals called “pita” were a lot softer and were impregnated by the juices of the food they had served.

Upon their return to Rome, the soldiers mimicked the round dishes of the Egyptian housewife and called it “panis focacius” meaning bread baked in the hearth. Eventually, all kinds of toppings were baked atop this bread to cater to the infamous Roman Orgies. With time, the native name of “pita”, was corrupted into the term “pizza” a panis focacius or a focaccia, full of toppings of all kinds and smoked cheese. It was later lost to the passage of time.

Pizza would re-emerge during the middle ages, as a poor man’s meal. A simple dough disk, with any topping the family could manage to produce, buy, or steal. With the arrival of tomatoes from the New World during the 1600’s “pomodoro” was the most popular topping for the bare dough. Tomatoes by the way were called pomodoro, meaning “golden globe” because the variety common in Italy at the time was yellow tomato.

An often-recounted story holds that on June 11, 1889, to honor the Queen consort of Italy, Margherita of Savoy, the Neapolitan pizzamaker Raffaele Esposito created the "Pizza Margherita", a pizza garnished with tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil, to represent the national colors of Italy as on the Flag of Italy. The evolution of modern day pizza had started.

Although I understand my story is quite liberal, and there are other possible origins to pizza, I keep telling it because I find it plausibly entertaining. I hope you enjoyed it.