Go to any pizza parlor in the U.S., and you’re sure to find pepperoni pizza on the menu. This pizza variety is perhaps the most famous in the country, but a lot of people have misconceptions about its origins and even its components.
Those offering pizza business opportunities might know the history of the pepperoni pizza, but the ordinary person has a lot to learn about this tasty dish. The first thing that most Americans don’t know about the pepperoni pizza is where it exactly came from.
The history of pepperoni
Pizza lovers should know, at least, that the dish they adore came from Naples, Italy. Back then, Italians used anchovies or mushrooms and a whole lot of cheese to dress up their pizzas. It was the traditional way of making pizzas, which Italian immigrants brought with them to America.
But when those immigrants came to America, they found out that their Italian pizzas became more popular when they merged Southern European flavors with American ingredients. One particular ingredient that became a hit amongst Americans was the pepperoni.
Some sources claim that as early as 1919, Italian immigrants in New York City started making pepperoni pizzas. The term “pepperoni” is just as mysterious as how it became a popular pizza ingredient.
According to some historians, the term “pepperoni” could have been attributed to the Italian term “salame picante,” which means “spicy salami.” They say that Americans came up with pepperoni to describe the pizza ingredient, which consisted of beef, pork, and pepper spices.
What’s surprising about this is that the pepperoni pizza came into existence more out of necessity than anything else. Italian immigrants who put up their pizza parlors back then reportedly had to use ingredients that were convenient for them to make.
They discovered that their traditional way of preparing meat for their pizzas took too long. According to one pizza historian, the traditional meats Italians used on their pizzas took months of preparation. It wasn’t feasible to prepare meat like that for a business that promised to serve food right away.
So, they looked for another way to prepare their pizzas, and that’s when they discovered pepperoni. Pepperoni is easier and faster to prepare, which is why a lot of Italian pizza makers substituted it for other popular meats like capicola.
Why it became famous
The reason pepperoni pizza became famous in the U.S. had something to do with the ease in preparing it, as mentioned earlier. When Italian immigrants settled in America, some of them decided to put up pizza parlors as their primary business.
Because pepperoni was easier and cheaper to prepare than all the other more popular Italian meats, more pizza restaurants chose to offer this ingredient to their customers. When Americans flocked to those pizza parlors, they fell in love with pepperoni pizza only because they didn’t have enough chances to try other ingredients.
So, that’s how pepperoni pizza became one of the most beloved pizzas in the U.S. Out of the desire to mass-produce pizzas, the pepperoni pizza became America’s top choice for an ingredient in an Italian dish.