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World Pizza Makers Day

Today we celebrate those who make pizzas. Some of us throw frozen pizzas into the oven when we are hungry, but real pizza makers toss dough by hand and choose the right balance of spices and herbs to make their own sauces. Pizza is one of the world's most popular foods, and it takes a certain expertise to make it well. Today we honor those who have that expertise and salute them by enjoying their pizzas.

Being a pizza maker has been a profession for hundreds of years, first starting in Naples. Pie-shaped flatbreads with toppings were first eaten there in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. At the time, this coastal city was not part of Italy, but its own kingdom. The working poor, or lazzaroni, lived outside or in small homes, and needed cheap food. Pizza consisted of flatbread with toppings such as tomatoes, garlic, cheese, oil, or anchovies, and it was sold by street vendors and informal restaurants, and eaten for any meal. Pizza didn't end up becoming popular in the rest of Italy until the 1940s.

It was in the United States, where Neapolitans immigrated to, that pizza gained in popularity. The first pizzeria in the United States was Lombardi's, which was started in New York City in 1905. Lombardi's is still in business, and although it is in a new location, the original oven is still in use. Neapolitans brought pizza to many other cities, including Trenton, New Haven, St. Louis, Chicago, and Boston. Pizza became popular all over the country, especially following World War II. Many styles of crusts and different toppings became popular in different regions. Eventually, pizza made its way back to Italy, as well as to other parts of the world.

How to Observe

Celebrate pizza makers by going to a pizzeria where pizzas are made by hand. Stop at a place that has one of the best pizzas in the country, where you know the pizzas are being made with care. You could also celebrate the day by being a pizza maker yourself. Learn how to hand toss your own dough and how to make your own sauce. There are many ways to cook a pizza: on a grill, over a fire, in a pizza oven, or in a conventional oven. Now matter how you choose to celebrate the day, your celebration will involve eating pizza, so there is no way to go wrong.

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