Have you ever wondered about the history of pizza in America? Here at Angelia’s Pizza in Imperial, PA we thought a little history on Pizza in America would be something of interest to all the pizza aficionados out there.
What is it about pizza that draws even the pickiest of eaters in nearly every single time? Perhaps it’s the convenience and ease of combining just a few key ingredients to feed a large group. Or maybe it’s the delicious merriment of golden brown crust, tangy tomato sauce and warm melted cheese that creates such an irresistible reaction. Whatever the case may be, there is no denying Pizza in America is as timeless as Turkey at Thanksgiving. And with all the possible variables in toppings, you can never go wrong with Pizza. Yet, have you ever wondered how Pizza became such a popular staple in American homes, parties, restaurants, and large scale stadium events? Let us take a journey back to the early 1900’s, when Pizza in America first made its mark.
If you were asked where Pizza was first born, you would most likely credit this delicious creation to Italy. Rightfully so… but did you know that Pizza was initially thought to be “peasant food”. The Pizza we know and love was born in Italy in the mid 1800’s. This was a time of economic hardship and political turmoil in Italy. This time was especially dark for families, who had little resources for food. The creation of pizza was born from the ingenuity of families, who found combining flat bread and tomato sauce to be both practical and hearty. Yet, resources continued to dwindle, forcing Italian’s to resort to massive emigration. Between 1880 and 1924, over four million Italians immigrated to the United States. With them they brought the spirit of entrepreneurship and flare for creation. The road was paved for Pizza in America
In 1905, Italian Immigrant and entrepreneur, Gennaro Lombar, became the first to debut pizza in America. This opened the flood gates for Pizza in America. Between 1905 and 1950, Pizzarias began to spread like wildfire. However, at the time, Pizza in America could only be found in New York, Chicago, and the neighboring New England States. This was in part because pizza in America was still considered “peasant food”, and mostly consumed only by Italian Americans. At the time, the largest concentration of Italian Immigrants settled in these areas and were fighting to overcome poverty. Pizza in America was still a practical innovation for Italian families.
The mainstreaming of Pizza in America came shortly after World War II. Soldiers returning home from their stations in Italy longed for an American taste of the Italian Cuisine they discovered overseas. In 1945, World War II Veteran, Ira Nevin, set out to satisfy his urge, developing the very first Pizza Oven. The innovation of these pizza ovens allowed retailers to bake pizzas quickly and efficiently. Pizzerias became a lucrative business and within 20 years, pizza in America had become an American favorite. Pizza in America has evolved over time, and is still a favored choice for events, family dinners, and just about any occasion that brings people together. Pizza in America today is a classic tradition. And with the rapid influx of technology and convenience, getting Pizza in America is still the most practical and favored choice. Perhaps the most intriguing fact about Pizza is that it was created out of a need for survival. Yet, the spirit of perseverance and camaraderie early Italian-Americans embodied, transformed Pizza in America into a household name and a symbol of unity and celebration.