Posted by: Jim E | March 4, 2010

My History of Pizza…

I have always said, “I never met a pizza I didn’t like.”…(if you will allow me to misquote a quote from the American humorist Will Rogers…Oh…and if you don’t know Will Rogers…you are so, so young…and you need to look it up…you will enjoy the information…the quote really was, “I never met a man I didn’t like.”)…you get the drift…

Now back to my history of pizza…I didn’t say, “the history of pizza”…but “my history of pizza”…but just for you history buffs…pizza arrived here with immigrants from Italy in the 1800’s…but other than in the Italian communities of larger cities, pizza was unknown to most of America…but WWII changed all of that…GI s who fought in Italy, and other parts of Europe, found pizza as they looked for good food…and after the war they wanted pizza at home…

I remember, during the 1950’s, you had to go to a Italian restaurant it get pizza…and it wasn’t until later in the 50’s that local pizza parlors sprang up all across the country…today, of course, you can’t turn a corner without passing a pizza parlor…and also home delivery…and though people have their favorites…pizza is (and I know I will get in trouble here) about the same…there are differences of course…and some are better, I suppose, but overall they are dough, sauce, fixings and of course cheese…okay, so some “fixings” are better than others…okay, okay so you like one more than another!…(he continues)…

Well, my history with pizza is more nuanced than all that too…in our home growing up, it was pizza-less…my Dad didn’t like pizza (not that he ever tried it, but he didn’t like it none-the-less)…so we didn’t have it at home…it was later that we tasted it at Cafe DiNapoli in downtown Minneapolis…(DiNapoli, after over 60 years closed a few years ago)…it was unusual pizza…and this is where I join the chorus of boos that I heard when I said all pizza was basically the same…DiNapoli pizza was not the norm or basic…it was wonderful…and I know you have had pizza like that too…

Now let me go back to the misquoted quote, “I never met a pizza I didn’t like.”…there was one pizza I had I really didn’t like…it started out basic…the crust…then, yup…Campbell’s Vegetable Beef Soup as the “toppings”…now this would not attract even the most hungry kid I know…eatable?…well, yes…the kind of pizza you were looking for?…well, no…but compared with some of the frozen ones I have had…not bad…also courtesy and good manners was something my Mom was big on…so down it went!!!…

But early on we made Geno’s pizza at home…with their sauce, crust…and our fixings…it has changed over the years…and about 25 years ago we started making our own pizza crust…using, and still do today, Contadina pizza sauce…and then the world was open to the “fixings”…5 kinds of cheese…black olives, green olives, Italian sausage, mushrooms, fresh tomatoes…!!!Wait a Minute!!!…let me start at the bottom or I will forget…homemade crust, sauce w/ a few sloshes of Louisiana hot sauce, Parmesan cheese, chopped onion, fresh diced tomatoes, Italian sausage, Romano cheese, green olives, Paul Prudhomme’s Pizza magic seasonings, sauteed sliced mushrooms, black olives, a mix of Colby and Monterrey Jack cheese, then mozzarella cheese, topped w/pepperoni and if willing and able…Mancini’s Long Hot Fried Peppers…and it comes out something like this:

And this my friends is pizza of the highest order…those who choose frozen pizza over this are over the edge, so to speak…Papa John, Papa Murphy, and Papa anybody…are now drooling…as I am…so there are thousands of pizza’s across this land…and this is the one I love…and I know you have one you love too…but remember this is “My History of Pizza”…not yours…bon appetit…

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Responses

  1. YUM!!!! Oh the memories!!So hungry for Elmquist pizza…when is the pizza party?!!!!

  2. Mmmm…pizza is grand. My favourite (discovered in recent years) is chicken bacon ranch.


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