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Doreen’s Pizzeria – A Quick Look at Pizza’s Colorful History

Ah, pizza – one of the most beloved food worldwide and one enjoyed by people of any age, culture, or social status. It comes in countless varieties that it’s almost impossible to know and try all. You’ll find it extremely difficult to go from one city to another and find the same pizza (except, of course, those that you get from fast food).

For example, you go to New York, and you’ll be told that their hand-tossed, thin-crust pizza served in wide slices are the best. But in Chicago, you’ll hear about their famous Chicago stuffed pizza or dip dish that sounds divine. Travel to Italy and the simplicity of pizza Margherita will surely win you over. Pizza has truly evolved so much over the years, that it’s hard to imagine how it was during the times when there was no pizza.

Curious to know about pizza’s history? Doreen’s Pizza tells you all about it, so read on:

The Early Days of Pizza

The idea of pizza may have started when focaccia was invented around 700BC by Etruscans. Yes, it’s the same focaccia that you still enjoy today. Back then, focaccia was often eaten with cheese, garlic, and onion toppings. More affluent people liked adding pork on top, too.

In Greece, their version of pizza was called plakous, which was basically a flatbread with cheese, herbs, garlic, and onion for toppings.

But what’s probably closest to our present-day pizza was Pinsa, a food made during the Ancient Romans’ time. Pinsa was made by combining millet, oats, and barley with water and turning it into flatbread. It was cooked on hot stone and ashes. Compared to today’s pizza, pinsa was more fluffy or airy. Pinsas were more oval than round, but they had the same toppings as some of the pizzas we have today.

The Birth of Italian Pizza

As we know and love it today, Italian pizza became possible when in 1522, tomatoes were first brought by Americans to Europe. While it wasn’t popular at first, thanks to its similarity to poisonous nightshade fruits, people from Naples soon learned they tasted terrific when added to their flatbread. Because of how cheap tomatoes were, flatbread with tomatoes was used to feed the poor in and around Naples.

Marinara pizza came about when the seamen’s wives from the Bay of Naples prepared flatbread with tomatoes, oregano, garlic, and a dash of extra virgin olive oil. This was the food they served their husbands when they came home.

Another popular pizza variation in Italy is the pizza Margherita which was created by Raffaele Esposito from the Pizzeria di Pietro in 1880. He played with the flatbread by adding red cherry tomatoes, lots of mozzarella cheese, and fresh green basil leaves. The pizza was named after the Queen of Italy, Margherita of Savoy, who was said to be a big fan of this particular pizza.

Pizzas From All Over the World

With its heavenly taste, it’s not surprising that pizza gained worldwide popularity.

In the late 19th century, Italian immigrants in the United States sold pizzas in the streets of New York and Boston. As they grew more popular, some cafes and even grocery stores decided to offer them in their establishments.

Some say it was a man named Filippo Milone who owned the very first pizzeria in the US. He then sold it to Gennaro Lombardi, who secured the very first license for a pizzeria. The year was 1905.

When World War II broke, pizza was one of the very few things that brought positivity to the world. Pizzas were tweaked to fit into local cultures. For example, Icelandic Pizza is a Hawaiian pizza with bananas. Bulgogi replaced pepperoni in traditional Korean pizza. Pizza in Indian usually has more spices than parmesan cheese. Indeed, because of its flexibility, pizza has taken many different forms – most of which are truly mouthwatering.


Pizza is one of the few types of food that are universally loved. As long as there are pizzerias like the pizza restaurants in Dyer that try to hold on to tradition through their pizza, this amazing food will be enjoyed by people generation after generation.

If after reading all that interesting stuff about pizza you find yourself craving for a slice (or a box, it’s okay, we don’t judge), don’t hesitate to call Doreen’s Pizzeria – the best place to get the world-famous deep-dish Chicago stuffed pizza. Contact us today to find out what we have on our menu!

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