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!
The word pizza has been around since at least 997 AD. So pizza must have been around at least as long.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Scroll down for some ideas on celebrating this cheesy (in a good way!) unofficial holiday.GoogleAd-NSC-Middle (text-2)
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:
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!):
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?