It’s “National Pizza with the Works Except Anchovies Day!” Yes, that is a day and it happens on November 12. A majority of pizza lovers will take the chance and revel in the day. Although my mother may find this day in bad taste, she often likes to supplement her slices with the little guys. I’m sure there is a day reserved just for Anchovy Lovers, who knows, there’s a day for everyone. How did the idea of putting anchovies on pizza even get started, where does that stem from? Strike that, better question, how was pizza invented?
Well, I did some work for you and found that pizza and anchovies go way back to ancient Rome. It has something to do with Naples being an ally of the Roman Republic and the working class. Far earlier forms of pizza existed in in Egypt, Rome, and Greece, though their versions was far more similar to focaccia. Naples, being a waterfront city, had an abundant of working poor, otherwise known as “lazzaroni,” who needed an inexpensive food that was also good for on the go. In walks pizza, or flatbread with various toppings. This inexpensive convenient meal could be consumed any time of day and could easily be sold by street vendors. Since Naples workers primarily worked on the bay and had flour, olive oil, tomatoes, herbs, and anchovies available to them, it was often what topped the flatbread.
The earliest form of pizza as we know it today was made in 1889 for King Umberto I and Queen Margherita of Italy visited Naples and asked Raffaele Esposito to make them a pizza once they grew tired of their regular French diet. Queen Margherita’s particular favorite was the one that featured mozzarella, tomatoes, and green basil. This may have popularized the now-famous food. Though it take some time to get to the United States, the first documented pizza to be made in the States was in 1905 by Pizzeria G. Lombardi’s in Manhattan.
The rest is history, the pizza craze grew stronger and various new toppings began to emerge. I’m looking at you Hawaiian pizza — that may be worse than anchovies! The Works is a delicious culmination of pizza experimentation throughout the years, except, you know, anchovies.
[Featured Image by ADfoto/Shutterstock]