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Pizza is a flatbread generally topped with tomato sauce and cheese and baked in an oven. It is commonly topped with a selection of meats, vegetables and condiments. The term was first recorded in the 10th century, in a Latin manuscript from Gaeta in Central Italy. The modern pizza was invented in Naples, Italy, and the dish and its variants have since become popular in many areas of the world.
In 2009, upon Italy’s request, Neapolitan pizza was safeguarded in the European Union as a Traditional Speciality Guaranteed dish. The Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana (the True Neapolitan Pizza Association) is a non-profit organization founded in 1984 with headquarters in Naples. It promotes and protects the “true Neapolitan pizza”.
Pizza is sold fresh, frozen or in portions, and is a common fast food item in the United States. Various types of ovens are used to cook them and many varieties exist. Several similar dishes are prepared from ingredients commonly used in pizza preparation, such as calzone and stromboli.
The origin of the word pizza is uncertain. The term “pizza” first appeared in a Latin text from the southern Italy town of Gaeta in 997 AD, which states that a tenant of certain property is to give the bishop of Gaeta duodecim pizze (“twelve pizzas”) every Christmas Day, and another twelve every Easter Sunday”.
Suggested etymologies include:
The Ancient Greek word πικτή (pikte), “fermented pastry”, which in Latin became “picta”, and Late Latin pitta > pizza. Compare Greek pita bread and the Apulia and Calabrian pitta.
The Ancient Greek word πίσσα (pissa, Attic πίττα, pitta), “pitch”, or pḗtea, “bran” (pētítēs, “bran bread”).
The Italian word pizzicare meaning “to pluck”, which refers to pizza being plucked quickly from the oven (pizzicare was derived from an older Italian word pizzo meaning “point”).
The Old High German word bizzo or pizzo meaning “mouthful” (related to the English words “bit” and “bite”), which was brought to Italy in the middle of the 6th century AD by the invading Lombards.
Main article: History of pizza
Pizza Margherita, the archetype of Neapolitan pizza
The ancient Greeks covered their bread with oils, herbs and cheese.
Modern pizza evolved from similar flatbread dishes in Naples, Italy in the 18th or early 19th century. Prior to that time, flatbread was often topped with ingredients such as garlic, salt, lard, cheese, and basil. It is uncertain when tomatoes were first added and there are many conflicting claims. Until about 1830, pizza was sold from open-air stands and out of pizza bakeries, and pizzerias keep this old tradition alive today. Antica Pizzeria Port’Alba in Naples is widely regarded as the first pizzeria.
A popular contemporary legend holds that the archetypal pizza, pizza Margherita, was invented in 1889, when the Royal Palace of Capodimonte commissioned the Neapolitan pizzaiolo (pizza maker) Raffaele Esposito to create a pizza in honor of the visiting Queen Margherita. Of the three different pizzas he created, the Queen strongly preferred a pie swathed in the colors of the Italian flag: red (tomato), green (basil), and white (mozzarella). Supposedly, this kind of pizza was then named after the Queen as “Pizza Margherita”, although recent research casts doubt on this legend.
Pizza was brought to the United States with Italian immigrants in the late nineteenth century; and first appeared in areas where Italian immigrants concentrated. The country’s first pizzeria, Lombardi’s, opened in 1905. Following World War II, veterans returning from the Italian Campaign after being introduced to Italy’s native cuisine proved a ready market for pizza in particular. Since then pizza consumption has exploded in the U.S. pizza chains such as Domino’s, Pizza Hut, and Papa John’s, pies from take and bake pizzerias and chilled and frozen from supermarkets, make pizza readily available nationwide. It is so ubiquitous, thirteen percent of the U.S. population consumes pizza on any given day.
Courtesy : Wikipedia