Pizza, A Slice of American History Review
One day in the near future The Complete Encyclopedia of Pizza will be published. This distinguished work will contain at least 150 volumes and will explain in detail the impact pizza has had in America and the known universe.
There will be a volume on every type of pizza, including New Haven, New York, Chicago, California, Old Forge, Detroit and much more. Some volumes will be dedicated to those influential pizzaioli such as Frank Pepe, Salvatore Consiglio, Jonathan Goldsmith, John Arena, Peter Reinhart, Ike Sewell, Dom Demarco and Ed Ladue to mention but a few.
Until the Encyclopedia of Pizza is completed, you will be more than satisfied to discover Liz Barrett’s: Pizza, A Slice of American History. This volume covers numerous types of pizza in America, those persons who influenced the regional pizza and how the various styles developed.
As a student of pizza, I was somewhat skeptical how one book could explain the history of pizza in America and the various styles included. My fears were immediately laid to rest when I started reading the introduction by pizza activist, Scott Wiener.
Barrett discusses Neapolitan and New York style pizza. She opens with the history of pizza and the differences between AVPN, New York, Tomato Pie and New Haven Apizza (Ah-beets). Sprinkled throughout the book are sketches of pizza luminaries such as Penny Pollack (Everybody Loves Pizza), Mark Bello (Pizza A Casa), Roberto Caporuscio (Don Antonio by Starita), Peter Reinhart (American Pie) and Adam Kuban (Slice).
Each type of American pie is described and dissected. She covers Detroit, St. Louis, California, Sicilian and Grandma style pizzas. Barrett’s pizza knowledge is extensive and she has a unique gift to distill the information into delectable slices. As an added benefit recipes for most styles are included. This makes this a true hands on volume as the recipes can be replicated by the home pizza chef. You can learn not only the history of each type of pie but also how to make it with step by step instructions.
She even added to the knowledge base of pizza by describing Pizza Strips created by Rhode Island Italian bakeries and found throughout the “Ocean State”. These were slices of pizza I enjoyed growing up and have only found them in that region. The pictures included are a wonderful addition and fit in nicely with the character of the book. The images are impressive and create a brilliant visual history of pizza. You will discover some rarities which are true nuggets of the pizza saga.
For anyone who loves pizza, this book will fit nicely on your library shelf. Some of the topics are brushed over, but understanding the depth of the subject matter, that is not an issue. I would have liked to have seen a discussion on the strong influence of the Internet on Pizza, but maybe that can be included in a volume of the Complete Encyclopedia of Pizza.
This is a well written book for anyone who ever held a slice. Grab your own copy, and discover the wonders of “a magical little disk that makes things happen”. You will encounter with this book how pizza is very much a part of the fabric of America. Pizza, is A Slice of American History.
Claim your own copy, right here: Pizza, A Slice of American History
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