Unesco cites original Italian pizza
IN MY BASKET - Lydia D. Castillo (The Philippine Star) - March 11, 2018 - 12:00am

These days, pizza is a delightful and satisfying food for everybody.

Our Italian friend, Mr. Bet, proudly emailed us a report on UNESCO’s confirmation finding the original Italian pizza as the World’s Most Accepted Food, listing it as an “intangible” treasure. As such it must be protected like a National Treasure. He added that members of UNESCO meet periodically in Paris to decide what is, culturally and non-culturally speaking, the most accepted food around the world. Pizza came out on top of a survey that included two million signatures. The group considered the art of preparing pizza which has its beginnings in Naples, Italy, as well as the passion that accompanies making each pizza. They also gave credit to the traditional technique and ritual connected to it, deserving a rating of Excellence.

Our own initiation to pizza came decades ago when a team of three sisters introduced the 3M Pizza in Manila. It came as a small, saucer-size flat white base topped with tomato sauce, slices of ham and sausage. Soon, pizza fans and their outlets expanded and we now have ever increasing pizza outlets in the country.

Without doubt pizza has become a quick-fix snack/ meal for Filipinos, who bring it as well to potluck events and dine on it at various times of the day and night.

Pizza was originally street food in Italy when focaccia bread, the precursor of the pizza, was used with simple toppings like oil. In the year 1889, pizza chef Raffaele Esposito of the historical Pizzeria in Naples was assigned to prepare pizza for Queen Margherita, who was visiting the Capodimonte Museum. He decided to improve on it by adding more flavors. He did two variations, but the queen preferred the one topped with tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, anchovy, basil and olive oil. He called it Pizza Margherita – and the name has remained until today. He actually elevated the stature of the pizza by serving it to the elite. These days, pizza is a delightful and satisfying food for everybody.

Variations on the toppings have been made through the years, including herbs like basil and arugula, different sausages such as pepperoni, seafood including scallops, and beef. The Four Cheese is a favorite of our family. Thin crust pizzas were introduced some years ago.

Actually, even homemakers can make their own pizzas by topping the dough with different elements to satisfy the pleasures of their families. Ready-to-heat pizzas are available in supermarket freezers.

Get a pizza – or make you own.

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E-mail me at lydiadolores34@gmail.com.

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