My, my, all this pizza pie
Dustin Dugas bakes a pizza in the brick oven at Joe Momma’s, a favorite for its creatively named pies, including the Betty White and Natalie Portman.
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Americans love their pizza. So do Tulsans, which explains the abundance of options that have appeared for this cheesy, saucy favorite. From foldable New York-type slices to thick Chicago-style wedges and some uniquely Tulsa takes, there are plenty of slices to go around. Judy Allen reports on the best the city has to offer.
It has its own stand-alone section in the phone book and is the subject of many songs.
It is also a $37 billion-per-year industry, according to the National Association of Pizza Operators (NAPO). Approximately 3 billion pizzas are sold at around 70,000 locations in the U.S. each year. NAPO also hints that Americans eat approximately 100 acres of pizza each day, or 350 slices per second. Yes, we like our pizza.
But pizza wasn’t always so popular in the United States. It wasn’t until the late 1940s, when servicemen returned from Europe, that the flatbread began to get noticed.
“The pizza could be as popular a snack as the hamburger if Americans only knew about it,” The New York Times noted in 1947.
Pizza has since wedged its way into our culinary repertoire, whether dine-in, takeout or made at home on a hot pizza stone or fancy outdoor wood oven.
Cheese, the crowning ingredient on most pizzas, was not added until 1889, when the Royal Palace in Italy commissioned Neapolitan pizzaiolo Raffaele Esposito to create a pizza in honor of the visiting Queen Margherita.
He created three contenders, but the queen preferred a pie featuring the colors of the Italian flag: red (tomato), green (basil) and white (mozzarella). Pizza Margherita was born.
Hundreds of other toppers came along much later, but in the beginning, the simplest of toppings was considered the best.
Now, there are about as many different styles of pizza as there are states — and Tulsa is rife with options — so organizing them into a cohesive lot proved to be nearly impossible. Instead, I broke down the choices into the five most popular styles of pizza, giving you the information you need to make your own favorite picks.