As a first entry on this website, it only seemed fitting to talk about the food that constantly fascinates me and pushed me to quit my job: pizza. On the surface this food seems extremely straightforward, it's just bread topped with stuff, and it's this simplicity and easy customisation that make it so appealing. But, despite being simple in appearance, making pizza requires time, patience and techniques closely tied to those used in bakeries.
One of the most unique things about pizza is that it combines the rigorous precision of baking bread along with the creativity of being able to put whatever you want on it. And that's what makes it such an interesting food, you can make it however you want, be it round, square, thin, thick, heavy on the toppings or just lightly brushed with olive oil, and it will still be pizza. For example in Italy the two most common styles couldn't be more different. On the one hand, Rome is known for its pizza al taglio (pizza by the cut) which is generally thin, crispy and very well suited for eating on the go, and on the other hand, Naples is home to the world famous pizza napoletana, with its large airy crust.
Naples is widely accepted to be the birthplace of the modern pizza, despite the idea of topping some form of bread with local ingredients being common all over the world, like the Turkish lahmajun or the Alsatian flammekueche. However, pizza differentiates itself from a lot of them by being made with a leavened bread, which means it was risen using some form of yeast.
Along with Italy, the other country that most people think of when they are talking about pizza is the USA. Thanks to the immigration of many Italians in the late 1800s, pizza found a new home there, particularly in New York, where the love for pizza is as intense and passionate as anywhere in Italy.
These are all reasons why I've become so fascinated with this food. It's versatile, diverse, has arguably one of the largest influences of any food on the planet, has an interesting history spanning multiple continents, can be eaten walking down the street or sat down at a restaurant, is simple yet requires years to even scratch the surface of how to master it and, most importantly, it's absolutely delicious.
In the future, expect to see many posts concerning pizza, from showcasing styles from all around the world to talking about the many influential pizza makers and how they have made this dish their own.