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The History of Pizza and the First Frozen Pizza in America

Pizza was actually considered a meal for peasants in Italy for centuries. And as we really cannot determine who made the first pizza many food historians would agree dishes that were similar to pizza can be traced back to the Greeks and Egyptians. That said people have been enjoying such a delicious dish for many years.

The pizza as we most know of it today has been traced back to an individual by the name of Raffaele Esposito of Naples Italy. Raffaele was an Italian owner of a Tavern by the name of Pizzeria fi Pietro e Basta Cosi in the Nineteenth century. And as suggested above he has been traced back to the inventor of the modern day pizza. Raffaele has cooked his pizzas for Queen Margherita of Savoy to welcome her to Naples in 1889. This is when Raffaele made a pizza to resemble the Italian flag which was a combination of tomatoes, mozzarella cheese and basil, The Famouse Pizza Margherita.

The first pizzeria in the United States came from an Italian immigrant named Gennaro Lombardi. And in 1905 Lambardi’s was opened when the City of New York provided the establishment with the first license for a pizzeria in the US.

With the rising popularity of pizza in the United States many chains started to appear. The early pizza chains were Shakey’s Pizza founded in 1954 in Sacramento California. And by the way Shakey’s was one of my favorite pizza places when I was a kid. Also some other earlier pizza chains were Pizza Hut founded in 1958 in Kansas, Josey’s Pizza founded in Georgia in 1943.

Of course we cannot forget about the frozen pizzas. In fact the first frozen pizza was invented by an individual by the name of Rose Totino. Rose went to high school not far from my high school in Minnesota, Edison High in Northeast Minneapolis was her school. Rose and her husband Jim opened their restaurant in Minneapolis in 1951 on shoe string budget, but they achieved success pretty quickly, so quick that Jim was able to quit his job at a bakery within 3 weeks.

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Anyway, Rose and Jim’s invention of the first frozen pizza started petty much as a take and bake, yes the first Papa Murphy’s. Jim would work the crust and Rose would apply the sauce. Thae idea evolved into Rose and Jim contracting the crust out of Chicago and then they would apply their sauce. That separate business of frozen pizzas started in 1962 and it grew so big the couple sold the rights to Pillsbury in 1972 for $20 million, not bad for an idea and a dream.

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