Saturday, December 29, 2007

Origin of pizza

In the space of one generation, Italy has gone from being a land of net emigration to a land of net immigration.

One of the strangest results of this is that Italy is now awash in (get this) Egyptian pizzamakers. What's more, they are not hiding behind the scenes pretending that their pizza is made by natives. No, they are even naming their pizzerie after the Pharaohs (see inset) and the Pyramids. Even more amazing, in a country that is so nationalistic and particular about its food, is the fact that they are very well-regarded by the pizza-loving populace.

Obviously, food from throughout the Mediterranean shares underlying similarities. But some scholars maintain that pizza may have originated in Egypt (notice the similarity of the words for pizza and pita). From there, it may have been transported by Greek culture to the Italian colonies in Southern Italy, of which Naples was one, going by the name of Neapolis (New City).