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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Beginnings of Pizza

Guest Writer: Karly Berezowsky

The origins of pizza, the infamous crowd favorite, date all the way back to the Ancient Egyptians, the Babylonians, and other areas in the Middle East, way before the Greeks and Romans had it. Archeological historians believe that many Middle Eastern people of ancient times had a type of flat, un-raised dough that they put various sauces on. However neither the Egyptians, nor the Indians had toppings on their “pizza” but the Persians may have. Both the Greeks and Romans had a culinary creation that consisted of a type of flat bread adorned with some oil and spices . This goes totally against the common notion that the Italians were the ones to invent pizza.

This legend is derived from a story from around 1889 which stated that King Umberto I and Queen Margherita ate the food of the commoners which was a form of pizza and loved it. A man by the name of Raphaelle Esposito was charged with making a pizza for her, the Queen of Italy; he created a pizza topped with tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and basil; and to this day it is still called the Margherita pizza .

Over the years the pizza phenomenon went global, it became a fan favorite all around the world. It is just as huge in America as it was in Italy. In 1905 a man named, Gennaro Lombardi was the first to ever obtain a license to sell pizza in the United States. He opened up shop in New York City . Eventually people caught on to the idea that this was a profitable business so people began opening up pizzerias all over New York and then up in Connecticut and further north. It then spread down the coast. Traditionally New York style pizza has a very thin and crunchy crust. Pizza became extremely popular in the United States after World War II because many soldiers ate it when they were overseas and enjoyed it. The establishment of pizzerias across the United States began between the late 1940s-1950s.The deep dish Chicago pizza was supposedly created by Ike Sewell in 1943 . It took a while for the pizza makers to move out west; it was not until 1973 when Alice Waters started making veggie pizzas out in California.

 Do you love Pizza??, get the award winning book The Basic Art of Italian Cooking: Holidays & Special Occasions-2nd edition. Selected as the best Italian cuisine Book in the USA

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Saturday, September 18, 2010

Espresso- a Fast Food

Guest Blogger: Karly  Berezowsky

The word 'espresso' translated from Italian into English literally means fast. The first espresso machine was invented in France in 1822 . A man named Luigi Bezzera experimented with ways to speed up the brewing process of coffee. In 1903 is when he discovered that by increasing the pressure, directly causes the brewing time to be significantly shorter. He invented the Fast Coffee Machine. However, despite his best efforts he did not have the money or financial backing that was needed to market his machine.

In 1905 Luigi Bezzera sold the rights and patent to the machine to a man named Desidero Pavoni. It was Pavoni that successfully launched espresso and the espresso machine to the Italian people. In Italy alone there are currently well over 220,000 coffee bars.

Today, espresso machines transfer the water at an increased pressure level through the espresso grinds, thereby forcing it through the metal filter and into a person’s cup. Some believe that espresso should be consumed very quickly after being made because shortly afterwards it begins to break down, thus explaining why it is served in small quantities in short cups.

Espresso quickly spread throughout the globe. It was then incorporated as the main ingredient of numerous coffee drinks such as the macchiato, cappuccino, mocha, various lattes, as well as other blended drinks.

Espresso has a unique taste that is both bittersweet and rich. If one dislikes the strong taste of the shot it can be combined with any type of creamer to create a lighter taste.

One of the problems facing coffee marketers today is that many people are choosing to buy coffee that is of less quality because it is less expensive instead of opting to buy the high quality brands due to the poor economic situation, therefore the sales of expensive coffee beans has been slightly declining over the last few decades.

In addition to this, much of the younger population, especially in the United States are so entrenched in drinking overtly milk/crème based blended medleys from coffee chains that produce a lesser quality brew, presumably because of the sweeter taste, that they have developed a misconception of what real coffee or espresso is supposed to taste like.

So if you want to know what a real espresso should taste like venture to one of Italy's famous coffee bars-even if only once- to find out what a real espresso was meant to be.

For great info and recipes get your copy of the award winning book The Basic Art of Italian Cooking : Holidays & Special Occasions