Considered a peasant's meal in Italy for centuries we cannot say who invented the very first pizza pie. Food historians agree that pizza like dishes were eaten by many peoples in the Mediterranean including the Greeks and Egyptians.
Eventually the idea of flat bread found its way to Italy where, in the 18th century, the flat breads called "Pizzas", were sold on the streets and in the markets. They were not topped with anything but were enjoyed au naturel. Since they were relatively cheap to make, were tasty and filling, they were sold to the poor all over Naples by street vendors.
In about 1889, Queen Margherita, accompanied by her husband, Umberto I, took an inspection tour of her Italian Kingdom. During her travels around Italy she saw many people, especially the peasants, eating this large, flat bread. Curious, the queen ordered her guards to bring her one of these Pizza breads. The Queen loved the bread and would eat it every time she was out amongst the people, which caused some consternation in Court circles. It was not seemly for a Queen to dine on peasant's food.
To honor the queen who was so beloved by her subjects, Rafaelle decided to make a very special pizza just for her. He baked a Pizza topped with tomatoes, Mozarella Cheese, and fresh Basil (to represent the colors of the Italian flag: Red, white, and green).
This became Queen Margherita's favorite pizza and when word got out that this was one of the queen's favorite foods, she became even more popular with the Italian people. She also started a culinary tradition, the Pizza Margherita, which lasts to this very day in Naples and has now spread throughout the world.
Pizza spread to America, France, England and Spain, where it was little known until after World War II. While occupying Italian territories, many American and European soldiers tasted Pizza for the first time. It was love at first taste! Italian immigrants had been selling Pizzas in their American stores for some time, but it was the returning soldiers with a lust for the saucy delight that drew the Pizzas out of the quiet Italian neighborhoods into the main stream of city life all over the continent.
It's the second favorite food of Americans, after hamburgers. So do you go out for pizza, have it delivered, use purchased frozen pizza or make your own from scratch or a combination of these? ? If you make your own, please share your method and recipes. What are your favorite toppings? Does everyone in the family like the same kind? If not, how do you handle that difficulty?