Which is your favorite pizza? Do you like a Margherita or do you prefer to eat it with salami or perhaps with spinach? About taste can be argued. Whichever topping is preferred, pizza is one of the favorite dishes of many people. But who actually invented this food?
To answer that question, we must embark on a journey into the past that begins in the Stone Age: People already knew how to grind grain. They mixed flour with water and baked the dough on a hot stone in the campfire. What they held in their hands after a while was flat bread, the world’s first “pizza shop”.
The Etruscans – an ancient people who lived in today’s Italy more than 2,500 years ago – made it even better: they filled the baked flatbread with everything that was available. The ancient Greeks did this with raw dough. That came closer to our pizza! However, the ingredients of that time did not have much in common with today’s surface.
The tomato sauce we find today on almost every pizza did not exist back then in Europe. People used their dough with herbs, olive oil and sometimes even honey on it! Many herbs came from Asia, where the navigator Christopher Columbus set out in the 15th century. But he was not at the actual destination but landed in America, where many plants grew that no one in Europe knew – for example, the tomato.
The red fruit was soon introduced to Italy, but people were careful not to eat it. They thought they were poisonous. They were not wrong, the roots and leaves of the tomato plant are poisonous. It took 200 years for some brave people to get the taste. The first pizza with tomato, topping was baked around 1750 in southern Italian Naples, which is considered the capital of pizza. There opened in 1830 the first pizzeria, which still exists today under the name “Pizzeria Port ‘Alba”.
The first pizza service was also born in Naples: Once, in 1889, the Italian King Umberto and his wife Margherita wanted to eat pizza. For a ruler, it would not have been befitting to enter a pizzeria. Therefore, the ordered food was delivered to the royal apartments. For the queen, there was a very special coating on this day: red tomatoes, white mozzarella and on top green basil leaves. Thus, the pizza bore the colors of the Italian national flag, namely green, white and red. The queen ate a piece and cheered enthusiastically. Since then, this pizza bears her name: “Margherita”.
But is pizza healthy? The dough and the cheese layer should be thin. Then the pizza is less rich and not so fat. It is enough to sprinkle some cheese over the pizza toppings. If corn, broccoli, and other vegetables are added to the tomato sauce, the pizza not only looks very colorful but tastes delicious and has many healthy vitamins.