The History of Pizza

Follow the evolution of America's favorite food

Since MF revealed how fit guys can eat pizza, we thought you'd be interested in its history.[via mf]

Circa 1000 A.D.: Pizza gets its start when peasants begin baking leftover, covered dough.

Early 1500s: Spanish conquistadors bring tomatoes to Europe from the New World.

Late 1500s: The first known recipes for the production of mozzarella cheese begin popping up in cookbooks.

Late 1600s: Although tomatoes are feared to be poisonous, peasants in Naples are the first to add them to their pizza.

1830: Port'Alba the world's first pizzeria, opens in Naples. The proprietor bakes pizzas in an oven lined with lava harvested from Mount Vesuvius.

1889: Naples chef Raffaele Esposito prepares a red, white, and green pizza of tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil to honor a visit by Queen Margherita Teresa Giovanna. He names the pie the margherita.

1905: Gennaro Lombardi opens the first American pizzeria: Lombardi's pizzeria, which was located at 53 ½ Spring St. in New York City. (The restaurant would later move to 32 Spring St.).

1943: Ric Riccardo Sr. and Ike Sewell invent a deep-dish pizza and begin serving it at their new Chicago restaurant, Pizzeria Uno — creating a flagship for the future chain.

1945: Buying a slice becomes increasingly popular as WWII veterans return from Italy and spread the pizza gospel.

1957: The first frozen pizza — Celentano's — appears in supermarkets.

1958: The first Pizza Hut opens in Wichita, Kansas. The first Domino's opens just two years later in Ypsilanti, Michigan.

Mid-1970s: Chicago pizzerias add a top layer to their deep-dish pie, creating the miracle of stuffed pizza.

Early 1980s: Pizza goes gourmet, with upscale toppings such as duck and Gorgonzola.

1995: Kraft introduces DiGiorno pizza, the first "self-rising" frozen pie.

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