The American Evolution: The Americanization of Pizza
America's fascination with pizza began following World War II when American soldiers who were stationed in Italy came back to the United States. They spread the word and the demand for pizza grew. Of course, with such a large demand, the Italian specialty has become highly Americanized.
According to the Brooklyn Pizza Works and Italian Restaurant Web site, the 1950s saw an explosion in mass produced pizza parlors such as Pizza Hut and Shakeys. The Web site also says that Americans eat approximately 150 acres of pizza each day and the pizza industry grosses approximately $35 billion annually. That's a lot of pizza, but it includes not only pizza from restaurants and fast food locations, but also frozen pizzas.
The Celentano brothers marketed the first frozen pizza in 1957. Now, a multitude of different frozen pizzas exist, including Tombstone, Di Giorno, Totino's and Red Baron. This wide assortment has led to pizza becoming one of the most popular frozen foods. Although frozen pizzas are rarely favored to homemade pizza in taste, they have gained so much popularity over the years simply for convenience. Teenagers could easily prepare a frozen pizza for a snack or for visiting friends.
Now, not only has pizza gone mainstream through the different varieties of frozen pizza in grocery stores, but they also have been incorporated as snack items. Some examples include Totino's Pizza Rolls and Hot Pockets. Pizza flavors have also been introduced to some already well-established snacks, such as Pringles, Combos and Goldfish.
So what's the verdict?
The Americanization is neither a good thing nor a bad thing. It simply is an expression of how much America has fallen in love with pizza. Of course, Italian chefs of authentic pizza may have a problem with the proliferation of fast food pizza parlors, frozen pizza meals and pizza-flavored snacks, but these creations only serve as a way to simplify the stressful American life.
We live in an age when pizza gets to your home before the police. Jeff Arder