8 Bogus Pizza Myths, Debunked
In June of 1889, Queen Margherita of Italy visited the southern reaches of her world. After getting here in Naples, she asked for to eat a food enjoyed by her country s commoners. When summoned, pizzaiolo Raffaele Esposito prepared his queen 3 various pies, one topped with tomato, cheese and basil, matching the colors of the Italian flag. She enjoyed that pizza a lot that a royal agent sent out a letter to Pizzeria Brandi that hangs on its wall to this day. Esposito named the pie Margherita in the queen s honor, and, more notably, the modern pizza was born.
Or was it?
That origin story has actually continued through pizza s expansion beyond Italy s borders and rise in appeal around the world throughout the late 20th century. The hamburger is the essential American quick food, however pizza is the quintessential international junk food, says Carol Helstosky, an associate teacher of history at the University of Denver and author of Pizza: An International History. There s a variation of pizza practically everywhere.
However with pizza s ubiquity comes half-truths, myths and hard-nosed opinions. From its history (were pizza-hungry GI's accountable for its America appeal post-WWII?), to how make it (San Marzano tomatoes constantly, right?), to the appropriate method to consume it (knife and fork enabled?), there are many stories and custom-mades surrounding pizza. Any of which can get individuals heated.
With other kinds of food, individuals are willing to brake with their conceptions and preconceived ideas and be actually into challenging them, says Steve Samson, chef-owner of Rossoblu and Sotto, home of among L.A. s best pizzas. However with pizza, everyone has their own idea of what it must resemble.
With sufficient misinformation out there, we wished to separate truth from tall story about the world s preferred flatbread. Here, we hired Helstosky, Samson, pizza scholar Scott Wiener, and The Sporkful's Dan Pashman to debunk eight prevailing pizza myths.
Myth: Italians developed pizza.
While the flatbread-sauce-cheese version of pizza probably stemmed in Naples, Italy can t quite take credit for developing pizza. The broadest meaning of pizza is a yeasted flatbread with ingredients baked into it. That had its origins with the Greeks, Helstosky states. There s archaeological proof of bread ovens and pictorial and visual proof of exactly what appears to flatbreads with areas on them. The ancient Greeks bread, called plakuntos, became a meal in and of itself. Since Naples was established as a Greek port city, the pizza that developed there may become part of the lineage of Greek flatbreads, but pizza had a history preceding its rise to popularity in Italy.
need San Marzano tomatoes to make a fantastic sauce.
People deal with San Marzano tomatoes like it s some name brand name, but that phrasing on the cans suggests nothing, Wiener states. San Marzano is the name of a seed. You can grow it well or grow it badly. Now, in the European Union, San Marzano is a secured mark that has to be grown in a predicted region. If you grow your tomato because area, you can get DOP certification. Where people in America get puzzled is believe they all San Marzanos are those unique Italian kind. When you head out shopping for a San Marzano, there s an excellent opportunity that s a tomato from China that s packaged in Italy. I tell people to go buy three cans of tomatoes and taste them side-by-side to see which you like the very best, whether it states San Marzano or not. For me, Trader Joe s canned plum tomato is usually the very best one.
Myth: Servicemen returning from WWII spread out pizza s appeal in the U.S.A.
It s our presumption that pizza had its origins in Italy and hopped over to America sometime in the 20th century. Around 1945 is when pizza went international, Helstosky states. But there s a belief that pizza ended up being popular in the United States post WWII due to the fact that troops got home from war and wanted it. But I wasn t ready to find that in my research. Helstosky states some basic realities about the war contradict the returning-GI theory of pizza s spread. chipotle near The intrusion of Italy was a restricted variety of U.S. soldiers. There were more soldiers in England, France, and Western Europe. And at the time, pizza was still a regional dish restricted mainly to Southern Italy and Naples, so very few would have seen it. Also, when soldiers would have shown up near completion of the war, Naples was destitute. Neapolitans had ended up being so desperate, they really cleared out the city s fish tank and consumed all the fish in it. So I doubt soldiers would have said after existing I had this great food in Naples.
Misconception: You need to never eat pizza with a knife and fork.
When New York City mayor Costs DeBlasio was spotted consuming his pie with a knife and fork, he was pilloried. But Pashman takes umbrage with the umbrage. A political leader eats the pizza with a fork and knife and then comedians mock the politician, Pashman says. If political leaders got it all over their face or leaked sauce on their t-shirt, the comics would tease them even worse. I can t blame a politician for taking care around a slice. However it s not simply chosen authorities who need not refrain from cutlery. I interviewed Patsy Grimaldi, the 80-year-old who is the last pizzamaker in America to train under someone who trained under Lombardi, our closest link to America s original pizzeria, Pashman states, And he told me he will utilize a knife and fork when the piece is too hot to choose up. So by all ways, resemble Patsy and eat pizza with a knife in fork. Wiener largely concurs. When you re mayor of New york city, you shouldn t eat it with a fork and knife, he says. But the whole point of pizza is that it s casual and the moment you put rules to pizza you break what it is and that s simply lame.
Myth: Mozzarella di Bufala is required for a terrific pie.
Pizza purists might argue that fresh mozzarella made with the milk of a water buffalo is the exceptional cheese for your pie, however even a self-described traditionalist like Samson concurs that the finest cheese to use depends on the design of pizza you re making. The part-skim mozzarella, those separately covered logs of cheese like you see in Brooklyn that s the cheese to utilize in a real New York-style pizza, Samson states. Mozzarella di Bufala has more water in it therefore it would make a soupier pie. So you desire to make a huge New york city pizza with drier cheese.
Misconception: Fresh dough is better.
It shows up on my tours all the time, and individuals are amazed that pizza locations we go to wear t usage dough made that day, Wiener says. If I provide the choice of having dough made that day and dough that s a day or more old, they pick the one made today. It might appear apparent to some individuals to want the older dough, however people think fresher is much better. Why you desire that older dough is that the process of proofing is more than just the physical rising. You can let dough sit out all day and it will rise, but if you drop the temperature level, and let the dough increase slowly, it enables time for fermentation, which actually establishes flavor.
Myth: You can purchase pepperoni pizza in Italy.
You can buy pepperoni pizza you simply won t get anything with meat on it. There is no such thing as a pepperoni sausage in Italy. It doesn t exist there, Samson says. If you were to order it in Italy, you d get peperoni, which literally suggests bell peppers. Pepperoni is an American thing. It s a mix and beef and pork that s smoked and they wear t do that in Italy. You could salame piccante in Italy, which is a hot pork sausage. That s the closest you d get to pepperoni. But truly, they put on t do much smoked meat in Italy; it s generally treated, fermented, and aged.
Myth: Queen Margherita ate and authorized of the pizza that bears her name.
Back to that well known origin story we pointed out in the opening. That oft-repeated tale doubts for many factors. Do I believe that taken place? Probably not, Helstosky says. At that time, people were revolted by pizza. And it s not like Italians thought after 1889 that pizza was terrific. It stayed a local meal for years. Italy doesn t have a long history of cookbooks, however when I studied ones from the 1920s and 30s, there was hardly any reference of pizza. It was ruled out an important or timeless Italian dish even then.
One could argue that simply because pizza didn t instantly spread out after 1889 that Margherita still may have consumed and liked the pizza. That misconception is built on the very official-looking letter from the queen s agent that hangs in Pizzeria Brandi. With some deep historic digging, Zachary Nowak has actually split that structure. Through studying the seal on the letter and comparing the handwriting to other files composed by the letter s expected author, Nowak concludes the letter is a forgery. Likewise, totally six years before the expected meeting with the queen, Esposito was already petitioning the police to let him call his restaurant Pizzeria della Regina d Italia or Pizzeria of the Queen of Italy. Getting individuals to believe royalty ate his food seemed to be a long-term hustle by Esposito, and it looks like his persistence permitted him to ultimately pull one over on the world.