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The History of Italian Pizza

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Pizza

Pizza

When you think of pizza, what comes to mind? Most picture a crispy round pie, laden with grease, cheese, and bright red tomato sauce. Like man and machine, the humble pizza pie has come a long way since its invention many years ago!

We all know that pizza originated in Italy, but do you know how this beloved delicacy got its start? What did the first Italian Pizza look like, and would you even recognize it today?

If you’re curious about the origins of pizza, read on to learn the history of everyone’s Friday night favorite! You might even learn some rustic pizza recipes to prepare the next time you have company!

Ancient Pizza

Pizza has been around in one form or another since antiquity. Not all of the earliest pizzas looked like the pizzas you might order today. Many of them resembled flatbreads, more like open-faced sandwiches with sweet and savory toppings.

Darius the Great of Persia was cooking up flatbread-style pizza as early as the sixth century BC. The Persians topped their pizza with cheese and dates. Without woodfired pizza ovens, they had to bake their pizzas on the shields that they used in battle!

You can even find something like pizza mentioned in Ancient Greek literature. If you read The Aeneid in school, you might have noticed that the characters enjoyed eating a meal of pitas topped with vegetables. This early pizza was even significant to the plot, as it appeared in a prophecy earlier in the epic poem!

Some of pizza’s earliest ancestors still exist today, only with different names. Have you had focaccia, pita bread, lepinja, or coca? If so, you have already experienced a piece of pizza history pre-dating the Italian pizza!

The Early Italian Pizza

Think about the best pizza you’ve ever had. It probably wasn’t a pile of vegetables on top of a pita! The pizza you know today was probably derived from the Italian pizza, which began its life in sixteenth century Naples.

A lot of us use pizza as a survival food while living in college dorms. In the sixteenth century, pizza was food for the poor. It was a “street food,” resembling a galette, and was rarely prepared in the kitchen like a proper meal.

Tomatoes wouldn’t become part of pizza history until after Europeans had come into contact with the plant in the Americas. These tomatoes, along with oil and fish, would top the galette crust.

Believe it or not, the earliest Italians thought that tomatoes were a poisonous plant and would not cook with them! The poorest Italians were the first to take a risk, and that risk certainly paid off. The rumors of the dish were enough to bring tourists into the poorest parts of Naples to sample the delicacy!

Pizza Margherita

It wouldn’t be until about the nineteenth century that all of the components of our favorite modern pizza would combine. Although apocryphal, the first Margherita pizza was supposedly prepared in honor of Margherita of Savory. She was a beloved Italian queen.

The chef responsible was Raffaele Esposito. He decorated the pizza with red sauce, white cheese, and green basil to represent the flag of Italy. The popularity of the monarchy would lead to the popularity of the dish, cementing these toppings as the “default.”

In many pizzerias, you can order a Margherita Pizza by name, even today! It is a simple, rustic slice – and a piece of pizza history!

During the 19th century, there were already about 120 operational pizzerias in Naples. They employed both pizza makers and pizza sellers. The pizza sellers worked on the street, as it was still a street food for many years.

Pizza Sweet Pizza

Even until the early 20th century, pizza looked and tasted different than you might expect. In fact, it was a sweet dish rather than a savory one! Today, “dessert pizza” is a novel specialty, but it used to be the most common iteration of our cheesy favorite!

The first mention of the Neopolitan pizza, the round, cheesy pizza we enjoy today, would be in a cookbook in 1911. The author described Pizza alla Napoletana as a pizza crust topped with mozzarella, tomato, mushrooms, and sardines.

True Neopolitan Pizza and Pizza Today

Did you know that there are strict standards for what we call Neopolitan Pizza today? The True Neapolitan Pizza Association was founded in 1984 to declare specific rules regarding what could be considered authentic pizza.

The rules state that authentic pizza must be baked in a domed, woodfired pizza oven. The dough must be kneaded by hand, without the aid of any technology, including a rolling pin! An authentic pizza also cannot be larger in diameter than 35 centimeters.

Given those strict standards, even the biggest pizza fans may have never enjoyed a “True Neopolitan Pizza.” Some pizzerias are even stricter in their standards. They may only use one specific kind of tomato, or dictate the direction that sauce and oil can be added to the crust!

The thickness and texture of the crust varies regionally. The famous Chicago Deep Dish would not be considered a true Neopolitan, nor would the massive slices served up in your average New York City pizza joint!

Today, you can frequently get a pizza delivered from the oven to your door in thirty minutes or less. On websites like https://wiseguypizzapie.com/, you can even order your pizza online, without speaking to a single human soul! Pizza has come a long way, and it has taken about seven thousand years to get here!

From Antiquity to the Freezer Aisle

No true pizza fan would deny that the Italian pizza has come a long way from its origins in the Mediterranean. Today, you can pick up a frozen pizza from the supermarket and have a hot slice ready in just a few minutes. Pizza is a beloved, accessible food, and it’s not going anywhere anytime soon!

Did this article make you hungry? Put your pizza in the oven and then check out the rest of the blog while it’s cooking. You’ll find plenty of articles about all of the foods you love!

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Education

Mouthwatering Smoked Meat: 6 of the Best Cuts of Meat to Smoke

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Meat

Meat

90% of Americans eat meat on a regular basis. It doesn’t matter how popular the vegetarian diet might become, most people love meat and are going to continue enjoying it.

But most meat-eaters do themselves a disservice by only eating a few basic cuts of meat over and over again. The vast majority of beef, lamb, and venison cuts are skipped by most Americans, simply because they don’t know what it is or how to cook it.

More people are smoking meat at home, however, and learning how to choose the best cuts of meat to smoke. So cuts like the leg or shoulder of lamb are finally being enjoyed by more people.

If you’re ready to start enjoying the best smoked meats, instead of eating ground beef every day, then the guide below was written for you.

1. Beef Brisket

This is one of the best cuts of meat to cook in a smoker, and most home chefs aspire to brisket perfection.

While it’s popular to try for those new to smoking, it can be tricky to get it right. And brisket is a bit more expensive, so you might want to try a few other cuts beforehand.

If you have a large cut, it can take a very long time to cook; upwards of 20 hours. Brisket often experiences a stall, where it gets “stuck” at an internal temperature of around 160 degrees. But you are aiming for a final internal temperature of around 195 degrees.

But with brisket, you need to remember that the temperature can continue rising, even after you take it off the grill.

It’s also a very cheap cut, making it a great meat to use as you’re learning the process of smoking on your new Masterbuilt electric smoker. Other cuts on this list can be much more pricey. So if you’re going to experiment and make mistakes, do it on something cheap like this.

2. Whole Turkey

If you use the spatchcock method of cooking a whole bird, it can cook much faster than traditional cuts of meat, and absorb more of the tasty, smoky flavor.

The spatchcock method is the process of removing the backbone of the bird. Doing this allows you to lay the meat flat, instead of in a big round bundle.

With more surface area exposed to heat and smoke, you can cook a bird in just a few hours. And the meat that typically doesn’t have any flavor, on the inside of the turkey, will be rich in a smoky flavor.

3. Ribs

Ribs just might be the best meat to smoke. There are plenty of types of ribs you can try smoking. All of which can taste amazing, as they fall off the bone in your mouth if done properly.

Beef ribs are a great option, as are spare and baby back ribs that come from pigs. Baby back ribs are the smaller, meatier, leaner ribs from the pigs, meaning a lower smoking time.

Spare ribs are larger and usually require more cooking time.

4. Lamb Shoulder

Most Americans don’t eat lamb on a regular basis. But since they only cook with their stove or govern, that’s understandable. But lamb shoulder can be absolutely delicious when smoked.

It’s full of connective tissues, meaning that it should be slow-cooked for many hours. When done, the meat will be extra tender and juicy. Lamb also boasts a naturally rich flavor, which the smoke only enhances over time.

Lamb’s leg is also a popular choice for smoking. With legs, you can choose the narrow shank end or the fattier upper end, which is better suited to the smoker.

The fat on the leg melts away during the three or four-hour smoke time, yielding an extra tender hunk of meat.

5. Whole Chicken

Chicken is one of the most consumed meats in the country. But most people eat bland chicken.

Smoking a whole chicken can create some of the richest tasting chicken you ever tried.

But since chicken is so lean, you can soak the meat in a brine of your choice to help the bird retain moisture as it smokes. You can also use the spatchcock method for fast, flavorful cooking.

Chickens are cheap, cook fast, and taste great once you learn the right method. With a sub-two-hour smoke time. this makes for a great mid-week meal.

6. Tri-Tip

Tri-tip has always been a flavor on the grill in the kitchen. But it has seen a surge in popularity among smokers as well, as many people have discovered the optimal smoking process.

Tri-tip is quite lean, so you don’t want to overcook it. That means you can get a slab of tri-tip cooked in just a couple of hours at most.

Since this triangle-shaped cut of meat retains its shape during the smoking process, it’s easy to slice up once you remove it from the smoker. Once cut up, you’ll notice the marbling.

Marbling is the strings of connective tissues that can make tri-tip unenjoyable if cooked incorrectly. But when cooked properly, and when sliced in the right direction, the texture will be perfectly tender.

Smoked trip-tip on a warm summer evening is hard to beat.

Experimenting With the Best Cuts of Meat to Smoke

If you’re ready to put that new smoker to work, then give anything of these cuts a try. They are among the best cuts of meat to smoke, with professionals and novices alike smoking these on a regular basis.

Of course, smoking is an art. It’s a skill that needs to be mastered. If you get it wrong, and your meat doesn’t come out, just keep experimenting and trying until you find a method that works for you.

Looking for more cooking inspiration like this? Head over to our blog now to keep salivating.

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Food

What Is Tex-Mex? A Quick Guide

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What Is Tex-Mex?

What Is Tex-Mex?

You sit down at your favorite restaurant, and without looking at the menu, you order their nacho appetizer. It’s the best one that they have. The yellow cheese and beef melt in your mouth.

Contrary to popular belief, this tasty dish isn’t Mexican in origin. It’s something entirely different called Tex Mex.

What is Tex Mex? It’s a delicious combination of two cultures. While many people associate it with Mexican food, it can’t be more different.

Tex Mex uses almost none of the same cooking ingredients. Check out this guide to find out more about this popular cooking method and learn about the common things used in all the dishes.

What Is Tex Mex? 

As the name suggests, Tex Mex is a combination of Texas and Mexican cuisine. It came about in the 1580s when the Spanish came to  Texas.

As the two cultures entwined, so did the food. Mexican meals started to become a lot more popular. People began trying to replicate the taste of common Mexican delicacies using Texan ingredients.

No matter how hard they tried, the taste ended up being a little far from the mark. Luckily, Tex Mex is pretty good too.

Common Tex Mex Ingredients 

Most of the differences between Tex Mex and Mexican food are found in the ingredients. Many people associate the spice cumin with Mexican cuisine, but it’s not really used there.

Tex Mex chefs mix various chili peppers into their recipes. When preparing dishes such as tamales and enchiladas, Tex Mex cooks use beef. Chicken, pork, and seafood are much more common in traditional Mexican food.

The best Tex Mex is associated with huge globs of yellow cheese. Cheese isn’t a huge fixture in Mexican cuisine. You’re more likely to see reasonable amounts of white cheese.

If you go to a Tex Mex restaurant and order fajitas, you’ll get a side of flour tortillas. Mexican dishes come with corn tortillas instead.

Tex Mex Recipes 

Now that you know some common ingredients found in Texas cooking, it’s time to talk meal ideas.

The first is the classic nachos. These were actually invented in Mexico. The catch is that they only came about because a bunch of Texan women entered a restaurant after hours and ordered a snack.

Chili con carne uses beef, spices, chili peppers, and beans. It was created by Texan settlers who needed to make a dish out of the few ingredients they had on hand.

Fajitas are an American tradition that’s inspired by common ingredients that we associate with Mexican cooking. It’s prepared with strips of meat and veggies and comes with a side order of flour tortillas.

These recipes are only the beginning. You have tons of tasty food options to choose from.

Enjoying the taste of Tex Mex 

What is Tex Mex? It’s a popular meal option that you can find all over the US. It’s an interesting combination of Texan and Mexican cooking and is commonly associated with yellow cheese, flour tortillas, and beef.

The recipes aren’t too hard to prepare. So, grab your kitchen gear and get to cooking. If you’re looking for more delicious meal ideas, feel free to explore the rest of our blog.

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Food

Superfoods for Winter Skincare

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Superfoods for Winter Skincare

Superfoods for Winter Skincare

You do not feel thirsty in winter; Therefore, you don’t drink a lot of water. You need to keep your skin hydrated and moisturized in winters. You’re also probably not eating enough skin-friendly foods. Your diet can also protect your skin from ultraviolet (UV) sun damage, dryness and reduce wrinkles and other signs of aging on the skin, and promote glowing and smooth skin.

Beetroot

Beetroot is a great source of vitamin C. By fighting free radical activity, vitamin C helps delay aging and makes your skin youthful and glowing. Either you can eat it in salad or make juice out of it. It make a great addition to your diet.

Carrots

Carrots are an excellent source of beta-carotene which is a skin-friendly nutrient that gets converted into vitamin A inside the body. Along with vitamins, carrots are also loaded with vitamin C. Carrots have antioxidant properties that protect your skin from oxidative damage caused by free radicals. The lycopene in carrots protects your skin from UV damage.

Avocado

Avocado contains loads of nutrients like vitamins A, C and E. They also contain monounsaturated fats, which help the skin gain and retain moisture. Avocado is also a storehouse of minerals that are essential for healthy skin.

Broccoli

Broccoli is one of the healthiest vegetables that is good for your skin. It is rich in Vitamin A and C to keep the skin healthy and reduce scars and maintain collagen production. Broccoli contains vitamin B that helps reduce dry patches on the skin.

Olive Oil

Olive oil is good for the skin, mostly during the winter season when the skin becomes dry. Foods rich in vitamins A and E and many other natural fatty acids and minerals help hydrate the skin to maintain its suppleness and elasticity.

It also prevents skin aging, when fine lines and wrinkles appear, and it protects the skin from damage caused by free radicals.

Green tea

Green tea is one of the best foods available on the planet, and it’s no wonder it’s full of antioxidants, which eliminate free radicals and prevent flaky skin. It also help reduce fine lines and wrinkles.

Chamomile

Chamomile is widely used in cosmetics. The mesmerizing scent of chamomile is a stress-buster. Chamomile oil can be applied for skin irritations. Simply brew some chamomile tea and use it as a facial water or as a base for your cream to get the best results. Chamomile is very effective to get rid of the problem of pigmentation, acne or to treat your dry skin.

Greens

Spinach, fenugreek or fenugreek leaves, carom seeds are now available in abundance. Add these to your dal, snacks or salads daily. Not only rich in iron but also rich in micro minerals that are vital for your skin.

Dark chocolate

They not only release good hormones but also contain antioxidants which are very good for your skin. Dark chocolate is one of the best foods to keep your skin beautiful and beautiful. It contains flavonoids which help in making the skin glow even in the cold winter. It also provides natural protection to your skin from the sun. Dark chocolate can be bought in many forms such as chocolates, cupcakes, brownies or online cake delivery in Bhubaneswar or wherever you reside.

Salmon

During the winter months, you need lots of fatty acids to nourish the body. Including salmon and other seafood in your winter diet helps. It contains high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids that nourish the skin from within. It helps in restoring the moisture and plumpness of the skin instead of drying it out. Also, a mineral called selenium protects the skin from UV rays while zinc stimulates the production of new skin cells.

Almond

It is very beneficial in the winter season. It works wonders for skin care in winters, combating many problems like dry skin and flaky patches. It is a good source of vitamins that nourish the skin and protect it from the harmful UV rays of the sun. It also has anti-aging properties that reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and other signs of aging.

Pomegranate

Pomegranates have a high water content, which means they help hydrate your skin better. Pomegranates contain vitamin C and a variety of antioxidants that help combat free-radical activity, which is responsible for deteriorating skin-health.

Water is very important even in winters as it not only helps in removing dehydration from inside but also keeps your skin moisturized. You can drink water in the form of green tea or other healthy concoction

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