The Story Below Pizza Toppings
July 27th, 2021
It is undeniable that Americans adore pizza. This ancient dish entered the United States with the italian immigrants travelling from Europe in the beginning of the 20th century. It took only a few decades for the pizza madness to spark, and it still fires our ovens at Amicci’s Hamtramck. The versatility of pizza allows for an eclectic mix of ingredients to come together over a delicious dough. But you would not think that, for example, meat lovers pizza was a thing back in the early days. Is there an explanation for the choice of ingredients throughout the years? Keep reading and we will find out.
Pizza melts into the American culture
It all started with the enthusiastic approval from American patrons that led to bigger menu options and more cities opening stores. In the 1950s, the mouth watering pie spread across American pop culture. Celebrities with italian backgrounds such as Joe DiMaggio and Frank Sinatra introduced pizza into the mainstream such as their predecessors once introduced it into the country. Pizza played leading roles in many popular features such as Home Alone, Breaking Bad, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Saturday Night Fever. The pizza family, which was already growing steady since the opening of the first ever pizzerias, soon expanded to a national tribe. But there is an obvious clash between mass culture and tradition. Many contemporary recipes are far from resembling the original pizzas prepared in the old continent.
There is a method in the pizza madness
There are several regional variations of pizza in the United States. Detroit, California, New York, Chicago and pizza Hamtramck have their own versions of this pie. Changes are found in the dough as much as the amount and choice of ingredients. In the same way, Italy has different styles of pizza based on locality. While American variations seem to come from a desire to create a unique alternative to such a popular dish, Italian variations depend on the availability of local produce.
You say tomato, I say tomato
For example, let’s think about tomatoes. While Amicci’s Hamtramck pizza has a delicious tomato sauce, this ingredient was not topping the flatbreads before the 1700s. The reason is that this versatile fruit (playing incognito as a vegetable) was brought into Europe from Peru in the 16th century. Only in the 18th century did poor Naepolitan peasants begin adding this presumably poisonous ingredient into the pizza ancestors.
Margherita pizza was allegedly created for Queen Margherita of Savoy in 1889, honoring her with ingredients representing the italian flag: red tomatoes, white cheese and green basil leaves. By that time, tomatoes were growing lusciously in the mediterranean. They were happily sharing soil with garlic, with whom they would meet again on the italian pie. This imported fruit, which later became an emblem of Italian cuisine, was also good friends with basil. Not only did they pair exquisitely over a pizza, but they also became a great companion planting combination. Basil enhances the taste, improves the growth and repels insects from the tomato plant.
The original Naples-style pizza uses San Marzano tomatoes or pomodorino vesuviano, a specific variety of grape tomatoes found in Naples. In Rome, tomatoes were not as popular during the early developments of pizza. Roman pizza omitted them and instead veered towards a much loved native fruit: olives.
The cheese used in Neapolitan pizza is either buffalo mozzarella from the milk of mediterranean buffaloes, or fior di latte from a south Italian breed of cows. On the other hand, the authentic Sicilian pizza originated in Palermo and called sfincione, uses grated hard cheese as an optional ingredient. Most of the milk produced in Sicily, which turns into their world famous cheeses, comes from sheep and goats.
Something fishy in your pizza?
Salmon used to be abundant on the East and West coasts of the United States, with many indigenous tribes relying on their nutrition. The East provided the entire country with canned salmon around the 1840s, until the Atlantic salmon disappeared from their coast. By 1864, the West stepped up with California as a national supplier of canned salmon, an industry that still prevails. It is no surprise that the breezy California-style pizza sometimes features this tasty fish. Avocados, native to Central America and the West Indies, were initially planted in California around the 1850s and the first commercial orchard appeared in 1908. From then onwards, California led the US avocado industry, with so much production that they might as well add it to their pizza.
The American breakfast
As pizza made it into the American mainstream, it is not surprising that people wanted to eat it at any time of the day. Breakfast pizza resembles the typical American homestyle breakfast. Pizza fans enjoy their beloved pie with their favorite breakfast ingredients: bacon and eggs. But believe it or not, this breakfast combination was not always associated with American culture. The majority of Americans used to have modest, meatless breakfasts including fruit and oats. An advertising campaign to promote a producer of pork products spoke about the benefits of starting the day with a heavier meal, such as bacon and eggs, that was endorsed by doctors. That is when this famous duo gained popularity.
Pizza Hamtramck style
Amicci’s Hamtramck pizza offers a homage to the italian origins of pizza. Since 1981, our family has been striving to perpetuate the pizza tradition. Respecting every ingredient and featuring a secret dough recipe transferred through generations of pizza craftsmanship, we proudly offer a delicious pizza Hamtramck style to our community. We also honour the American passion towards these pies, and the continuous expansion of interests towards diverse ingredients and healthy alternatives. That is how Amicci’s Hamtramck stays on top of the game. Try our pizza Hamtramck with your favorite ingredients!