• Celebrate National Pizza Month Every October

     

    October is National Pizza Month

    October is National Pizza Month
    Pizza image by StockUnlimited

     

    October is one delicious month. National Pizza Month!

    It doesn’t matter what kind of pizza either. Thin crust, stuffed, or deep dish. It’s all good. Plain cheese, meat lover’s, anchovies, or veggies. All perfectly fine choices for this celebration.

    Gerry Durnell created National Pizza Month in October 1984. That’s also when he published the first issue of the magazine devoted to all things pizza, Pizza Today.

    (And that was no coincidence!)

    But apparently a whole month isn’t enough for the pizza lovers of the world. There’s also a Pizza Day on February 9. And a National Deep Dish Pizza Day on April 5. Delizioso!

     

    A Bite of Pizza History & Trivia

     
    The word pizza has been around since at least 997 AD. So pizza must have been around at least as long.

    But there were no tomatoes in Italy back then

     
    That’s right. Those early pizzas didn’t look or taste anything like the pizza we know and love today.

    Back then tomatoes existed only in what we know as South America today. They grew wild in the Andes (Peru, Chili, Ecuador and Bolivia today). Half a world away from Italy.

    The Incas and Aztecs had also cultivated them. But it still took a few hundred years before they made it to Europe. That finally happened in the 16th Century.

    Even then, though, people didn’t eat them. Tomatoes were just for decoration, because they were thought to be poisonous.

    Toppings probably included oil and herbs

     
    Aside from having no tomato sauce, it’s not exactly clear what that first pizza may have looked like. It may have evolved from the Romans’ Focaccia bread, which usually included toppings. Or from the Greeks’ flatbread topped with oil and herbs.
     

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    Finally, the people of Naples put tomato sauce on a pizza.

     
    At the time (1700s and early 1800s) these pizzas were mostly street food.

    In fact, few people outside Naples ate pizzas until the 1940s.

    Oddly (or maybe not so oddly), it may have been America’s love affair with pizza that finally brought it to the rest of Italy.

    American soldiers loved pizza

     
    Immigrants from Naples brought their pizzas with them to America. For a long time though, pizzas were either made only at home or in unlicensed, informal restaurants.

    Then came World War II. American soldiers stationed in Italy came to love pizza.

    And when they returned home, they still wanted their pizza. Soon the rest of America wholeheartedly followed suit.

    And it was sometime after that when the rest of Italy came to love pizza, too.

    Of course, being Americans we also started playing with the toppings. Today we have gourmet pizzas topped with things like smoked salmon. And dessert pizzas made with fruits, chocolate, and other sweets.

    And Americans eat about 350 slices of pizza per second.

    Yum!
     

    Scroll down for some ideas on celebrating this cheesy (in a good way!) unofficial holiday.

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    Celebrating National Pizza Month

     

    We hope you know exactly how to celebrate this month …

    Eat pizza. Then eat more pizza.

    Have your favorite(s) of course. Then get adventurous. Try new topping or combinations of toppings.

    Some pizzerias offer free slices, reduced prices or special topping choices in honor of National Pizza Month. Some may also donate a portion of their pizza sales for the month to various charities. Check out your favorite pizza spots to see what they offer.

    Do you like to make your own pizzas? Or maybe you’d like to try for the first time? Try one of these recipes:

    • Pizza Pizzas, by Alton Brown: A simple three-cheese and herb recipe. Includes a recipe for the dough.
    • Pizza Rustica, from New York Times Cooking: A stuffed pizza with four meats and four cheeses.
    • Green Tomato Pizza, by Mark Bittman: A very simple but intriguing pizza. And a great way to use some of those green tomatoes you had to bring in before the frost hit!
    • Sausage, Red Onion, and Wild Mushroom Pizza: Wild mushrooms have tons of flavor, and red pepper flakes add a bit of kick.
    • BBQ Chicken Skillet Pizza: Baked in an oven-proof skillet and drizzled with ranch dressing for serving.

     

    Don’t forget to finish off your pizza meal with a dessert pizza!

     

    Or get a whole book of pizza recipes to try all month (and all year!):

     

    Sooo …

    What’s your favorite pizza topping?

    What new toppings are you trying for National Pizza Month?

    Do you have any other ideas for celebrating National Pizza Month?
     

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