Is it a pizza or a pie? It’s a pizza pie! It’s not uncommon to say both terms depending on where you are in the world.
Mention pizza anywhere, and people will instantly know it. But there are other names for this universally loved comfort food, and sometimes it’s also popularly known as pie. So what’s the history behind pizza’s famous names?
When Did Pizza Become a Pie?
Tune into Dean Martin’s 1953 hit “Amore,” and you’ll hear the iconic lyrics droll out, “When a moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that’s amore”. The term “pie” was already a common alternative for the name pizza, but its history and popularity date way back to the 1800s when Italian immigrants went to the United States and introduced the beloved pizza.
Gennaro Lombardi: the Father of American Pizza
Gennaro Lombardi, the first pizza maker in America, is the brains behind the first pizzeria to open in the United States. Lombardi’s in New York City opened in 1905 and has been a family-run business ever since.
Pizza was coined “pie” for its similarities to the dish, with its crust, circular shape, and sliced triangle portions that fit the description. By the 1900s, pizza became known as street food and the pie saw sales soar. By the 1950s, pizza was so popular that businesses and food joints that sold the dish were opening up across the country and the world.
New York’s Finest: Pizza Pie’s Roots
An article from the New York Tribune back on December 19th, 1903 put the spotlight on the growing pizzerias in the city that never sleeps, saying that “the Italian has invented a kind of pie.” Pizza was also known as “Pomodoro pizza,” wherein Pomodoro translates to “tomato” in Italian. As for a pizza pie, it actually means a slice of pizza to New Yorkers.
From Rags to Riches: Pizza’s Steady Rise in America
In the 1930s and 1940s, pizza was half a cent on train rides, which was the cheapest food you could buy. By that time, it had become a common street food in New York City, but not everybody was into the idea of a pie.
Pizza’s success in the United States and worldwide came after the Second World War when more and more families from the middle class were going out for pizza. As pizzerias adjusted to the American palate, the pizza pie grew in popularity as more toppings were added to the pie, like pepperoni, sausages, and more cheese.
Pizza or Pie? But first, What is a Pie?
A pie has a crust, filling and a top crust, or top layer. In the United States and the United Kingdom, pie has come to mean a filling baked in a pastry case. In the United States, pie is defined as a baked dish with a crust, regardless of its shape or filling, whereas pizza is defined as a circular dish with a topping.
What is a Pizza?
A pizza can be round or rectangular, with or without cheese, veggies, meat, or seafood. They can be either savory or sweet and are often called by their toppings, such as the famous “pepperoni pizza” or “Margherita pizza”.
The Bottom Line: A Taste of History Behind the Term Pizza Pie
The term “pizza pie” will always be associated with pizza, with both terms having historical roots. But the two terms are not interchangeable; “pizza” refers to the dish and “pie” refers to its shape and presentation. Pizza has become a part of our culture, part of our everyday language, and we can’t get enough of it!
Why Dine With Us?
If you’re craving to indulge in something delicious and healthy in every bite, check us out at Doreen’s Pizzeria. We’re the best pizza restaurant in Dyer, Indiana, that serves a hearty selection of unique pizza options that can take you for a gastronomic ride. Get in touch with us today and check out our healthy options – from supreme veggie toppings, gluten-free pizza, and more.