Many people say that life was simpler in America 100 years ago, but there was no pizza back then. Even the most rural and far-away towns in the US boast at least one pizza joint, such as an Italian family restaurant in Matawan, NJ. How did pizza do it? Read on to find out.
Old World Origins
Pizza may be a relatively new food in America, but it comes from a long tradition. A similar food is mentioned in the ancient Roman epic poem, the Aeneid (29 to 19 BC), where bread was adorned with toppings available at the time.
Pizza as we know it today (a crust adorned with sauce, cheese, and maybe meats or vegetables) is said to have originated in Naples, Italy in the late 1700s. This cheap and cheerful food helped feed the thousands of poor of the city.
Welcome to America
A staple of lower-class diets, pizza wasn’t even mentioned in Italian cookbooks of the time. Given the economic climate, many of these Nepalese were forced to immigrate to other countries, like America.
And they brought their pizzas with them! The very first American pizzeria opened in 1905 in New York City.
World War II
World War II brought many changes, including how America eats. Many American soldiers found themselves fighting in Italy. When not fighting, they sampled the local cuisine and fell in love with pizza, often called “tomato pie.”
Soon, American-owned pizzerias sprouted up in Chicago and Colorado. From there, news of the delicious new food spread across the nation.
Enjoy some living culinary history at Esposito’s Family Restaurant in Matawan, NJ today.
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