After an English club dinner last night, good company and many laughs, I pass a commercial pizzeria on my way home. I wake up this morning and think pizza. But I wouldn’t dare or advise anyone to eat Domino or Pizza hut, it is worthless. Even in America it is often the deep dish commercial pizzeria.
More and more across the Americas, new and young establishments are trying to compete with fancy wood burning ovens or other novelties. Often they lack the real discipline and tradition with more of a focus on catering to their clients needs; makes sense if you want to stay in business.
But Pizza it isn’t only about the atmosphere. But don’t forget, it is truly one of the very well-respected fast foods, made to be enjoyed quickly. You sit, order, eat, drink and go. It isn’t an eating experience, it is a pizza experience. Some of the best pizzerias only serve pizza maintaining their focus on the pizza, keeping it to a simple looking perfection.
When it comes to Naples pizza, it isn’t so easy to copy. One of the basics to a pizza, is the water, we can’t easily export it. The ambient conditions, the know-how of the mixing the “dough”, which is often the secret of pizza, and then the skill of the Pizzaiolo.
There is are obvious differences between the traditional Naples pizzeria and all other pizzas we enjoy in the Americas and in other Italian cities. In Rome, “do as the Romans do”, and their tradition, is producing a classic snack that is soft and chewy on the inside, crispy on the bottom and lightly toasted on the top. You can even carry it away, so it more similar to focaccia. They even make a Bianca that is naked of tomato sauce and is enjoyed by many.
After researching the origins of pizza, I discovered that in the early 15 Century Glossary of Beszterce, a historic administrative county of Hungaria. In their “dictionary,” it reveals that the ultimate ancestor of flat breads was the Panis Focacius, another modern day relevant fast food. This was attributed to the Romans, where the Italian flat bread called focaccia originates.
The flat bread baked in the ashes of the fireplace or most probably on the hearth. The word is derived from the Latin focus meaning “hearth, a place for baking. The basic recipe is thought by some to have originated with the Etruscans or ancient Greeks, but today it is widely associated with Ligurian cuisine.
The Sicilian-style pizza, and the Roman pizza bianca (white pizza) can be considered a variant of focaccia. Focaccia is used extensively as sandwich bread outside of Italy, another relevant adaptation developed in America.