Explaining the Dominance and Popularity of Pizza in the United States

pizza in a boxPizza has become a staple in the United States. Pizza consumption continues to grow and pizza franchise opportunities continue to crop up because of the persisting lucrative nature of this type of business. But how did this dish get so popular in the first place?

Brief History

The Italian food became so popular in large part because of the number of Italian immigrants coming into the country around the turn of the 19th century. Italians made up almost one-fifth of the immigrant population. They brought their pizza-making skills, and began to import ingredients from Italy.

The first pizza store emerged in the Little Italy neighborhood of New York. Other Italians set up shops and bakeries of flatbreads and pizzas across other cities.

A pizza slice cost only five cents in 1905. With families pressed for cash during the economic downturn, pizza became a popular option for food. In Boston 1936, the first pizza recipe appeared in a cookbook. This was a recipe for Neapolitan pizza, which was made of cheese, tomatoes, Parmesan cheese, olive, oil, and hand-stretched dough.

However, for the most part, pizza remained a food that was regularly consumed by Italian immigrant communities until the end of World War II. Later, American soldiers returning from their stations in Italy began looking for these dishes. With them, pizzas popularity continued to spread and new American styles emerged to suit the preferences of the population.

Chicago Deep- Dish

The Chicago deep-dish pizza was developed by Pizzeria Uno in 1943. This type of pizza is also called tomato pie and it is baked with the use of rectangular pans. The thick crust is seasoned with tomato puree and Romano cheese before it is heated in an oven. Later, meat and thick cheeses were also added so the dish could only be consumed with a knife and fork.

Appeal of Pizza

men eating pizza

Pizza had become an established part of American food by 1950. It was so appealing because it was an easy meal to order, pick up, and eat at home when parents were too tired or had no time to cook for their family. The meal itself was easily consumed, adaptable for sharing, and suitable for teenagers and students in college.

Communities throughout the country faced the large-scale emergence of pizza parlors. These places normally came with brick ovens, as well as booths large enough to fit groups of people.

Frozen Pizza

In August 1950, frozen pizza emerged and was distributed and made available on the market. It eventually started competing with other types of frozen dinners. Families that preferred to stay in could buy these frozen meals and have them reheated later.

Variations of frozen pizza emerged. Small pizzas were designed to be consumed by a single person. They included ingredients like cheese, tomatoes, olives, and spices. They were similarly easy to prepare, as instructions listed they be heated up in the oven for eight minutes.

The creation of these new forms of pizza spoke to the continued popularity of pizza in the country. This doesn’t seem to be changing anytime soon.