How was pizza invented? The facts and some fun theories!
If you type “who invented pizza” or “the origins of pizza” into a search engine, you will find a load of underwhelming information about some 19th century Italian chef wanting to impress Queen Margherita of Savoy, first off her name (sounds like a Game of Thrones Character) with a delectable new dish!
Well, that story is absolutely true. in 1889, Neapolitan chef Raffaele Esposito was so enamored with Queen Margherita that he felt she deserved her own special dish. The traditional ingredients of a margherita pizza – mozzarella, tomato and basil – signified the colours of the Italian flag and the first ever pizza was born! Certainly Mr. Esposito is a man deserving of our love…
…But since 1889, we believe the pizza has developed in so many ways that we thought it might be fun to hypothesize* the origins of some of our personal favourite pizzas!
The BBQ Ostrich Pizza
According to folklore, the BBQ ostrich pizza was first invented by famed ostrich racing champion Dustin Murley.
Murley loves two things in life: racing ostriches and BBQ food. One day, during a trip to visit BBQ mecca Memphis, Tennessee, Murley found himself wondering about the possibility of combining the two. After weeks of research and testing, he was unable to come up with the perfect recipe, until a delivery of Papa John’s pizza arrived at his door one evening. The arrival of pizza that night was the light bulb moment he needed and the idea for the BBQ ostrich pizza was born!
2. Garden Party
The idea for the garden party pizza has its roots in British aristocracy. After all, no one does a garden party quite like the English elite. They spent their weeks planning the weekend’s gathering, recruiting other established – but slightly less-rich – figures, organising hundreds of staff, planning menus and choosing themes. Henrietta Ponsonby, Countess of Bessborough first of her name, is one of the most famous socialites in British history and it is she who, many believe, can be credited with the invention of the famous garden party pizza.
Ponsonby was known for throwing lavish parties, but she had grown a reputation for serving the same drab canapes – caviar, partridge, and venison. The elite are known to gossip…
Desperate to regain her reputation for being the hottest party in town, Ponsonby dreamed up a new kind of food that could be enjoyed by large groups of people with their hands – how novel! It would have dough bottom with freshly sliced red onions alongside crisp green peppers, complemented by cherry tomatoes, juicy sweetcorn and baby portobello mushrooms – all combined with delicious mozzarella cheese! It was a smash hit and it propelled her back to the pinnacle of the British party scene until the invention of television laid the path for the “sorry, I’m busy” generation.
3. The Mexican
The true origins of this pizza are somewhat disputed. Some believe it has it’s routes in the Chihuahua region of Mexico when a huge flour yield led to tortillas of enormous proportions. Others believe it’s simple modern cultural appropriation and the result of Americans celebrating Cinco de Mayo. However, the most common – and likely – theory is that it was invented by Brad Pitt on the set of his smash Hollywood hit “The Mexican.”
Pitt spent weeks south of the border filming the movie. And while he’s generally a fan of Mexican food – who isn’t am I right? – he began longing for a taste of Americana. Pitt demanded an aide make him a pizza with meat, onions and chilies, and the Mexican pizza was born! Pitt was apparently so pleased with his creation that it remains his favourite pizza to this day*
*No actual evidence to support this but it could be true, right?
We hope you’e enjoyed our frivolous story of pizza history. Obviously, we have used our share of creative license, but you can too!
Join the discussion by coming up with your own pizza ideas or simply let us know your all-time favs on Twitter using the hashtag #MyFavPizza here https://twitter.com/PapaJohnsUK.