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Who Discovered Pizza in America?

10 Unbelievable Things The NYT Taught America About Pizza in 1944

One of the best parts of following The New York Times's Twitter feed is the gems the publication shares from its vast archive; most recently, we've learned that the newspaper discovered pizza in 1944. The original article perfectly articulates every detail of the pizza pie, from its unique, flat, and round shape to the special to-go box it's sent home inside. It's hard to believe there was a time Americans lived without pizza delivery, as 71 years later, the Italian dish is a staple in most American households. The entire article is an amusing read, but these quotes, oh so endearing with age, made us chuckle:

  • There was no word for toppings yet: Pizza is "a pie made from a yeast dough and filled with any number of different centers, each one containing tomatoes. Cheese, mushrooms, anchovies, capers, onions and so on may be used."
  • The pizza box is 70-plus years old: The pizze "may be ordered to take home. They are packed, piping hot, in special boxes for that purpose."
  • Cheese was the most popular flavor: "[P]izza with mozzarella proved most in demand."
  • The NYT had to define mozzarella cheese: "Italian goats' milk cheese"
  • Original pizzas were assembled backward: "Good sized pieces of mozzarella . . . are placed on the dough and over that is poured fresh tomato sauce. Then the top is sprinkled with grated cheese and covered with olive oil."
  • How pizza is different than pie: "The pie is slid off the board into the huge oven, without benefit of pie tin."
  • Pizza is an intriguing fast food: "[T]he oven is kept at an extraordinarily high temperature . . . [T]he whole operation having taken not more than ten or twelve minutes."
  • Crust is a miraculous feat: "Although pie tins do not figure in the procedure, the finished product has a full, rounded edge, which we were told, by thinning out the center of the uncooked dough to a greater degree than the outsides."
  • Tripe was considered an appropriate side dish to the pizza: "The pizze are usually served with wine or beer and may be accompanied by a green salad, or, as is often the case at Luigino's, by an order of tripe."
  • People have always gorged on pizza: "Each one will make four portions, although many people can do away with a whole pie single-handed."
Image Source: Flickr user Pug Girl
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