iPhoneOgraphy – 05 Feb 2016 (Day 36/366)
The word pizza was first documented in 997 AD in Gaeta, Italy, and successively in different parts of Central and Southern Italy. The precursor of pizza was probably the focaccia, a flat bread known to the Romans as panis focacius, to which toppings were then added.
Foods similar to pizza have been made since the neolithic age. Records of people adding other ingredients to bread to make it more flavorful can be found throughout ancient history.
In Sardinia, French and Italian archaeologists have found bread baked over 7,000 years ago. According to Professor Philippe Marinval, the local islanders leavened this bread.
The Ancient Greeks had a flat bread called plakous which was flavored with toppings like herbs, onion, and garlic.
In the sixth century BC, the soldiers in Persian King Darius I armies baked flatbreads with cheese and dates on top of their battle shields.
Like pizza, these flatbreads are from the Odyssey era. Other examples of flatbreads that survive to this day from the ancient Mediterranean world are focaccia (which may date back as far as the ancient Etruscans), coca (which has sweet and savory varieties) from Catalonia, Valencia and the Balearic Islands, the Greek Pita, Lepinja in the Balkans, or Piadina in the Romagna part of Emilia-Romagna in Italy.
Foods similar to flatbreads in other parts of the world include the Indian Paratha (in which fat is incorporated), the Central and South Asian Naan (leavened) and Roti (unleavened), the Sardinian Carasau, Spianata, Guttiau, Pistoccu and Finnish Rieska. Also worth note is that throughout Europe there are many similar pies based on the idea of covering flat pastry with cheese, meat, vegetables and seasoning such as the Alsatian Flammkuchen, German Zwiebelkuchen, and French Quiche.
In 16th century Naples, a Galette flatbread was referred to as a pizza. Known as the dish for poor people, it was sold in the street and was not considered a kitchen recipe for a long time. This was later replaced by oil, tomatoes (after Europeans came into contact with the Americas) or fish. In 1843, Alexandre Dumas, père, described the diversity of pizza toppings. An often recounted story holds that on 11 June 1889, to honour 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 Italian flag.
Pizza is now a type of bread and tomato dish, often served with cheese. However, until the late nineteenth or early twentieth century, the dish was sweet, not savory, and earlier versions which were savory more resembled the flat breads now known as schiacciata. Pellegrino Artusi’s classic early twentieth century cookbook, La Scienza in cucina e l’Arte di mangiar bene gives three recipes for pizza, all of which are sweet. However, by 1927, Ada Boni’s collection of regional cooking includes a recipe using tomatoes and mozzarella.