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nowhereman136 t1_jdt6991 wrote

Pizza was already popular in New York, especially within Italian communities.

However, back then if the restaurant wasn't within about 5 blocks of your home, you would never hear about it. WW2 not only got Americans to experience European culture, they got them to experience each other's culture. Imagine being from Kansas, and only knowing other people from Kansas your entire life. Now you are living and working with guys from New York, Miami, San Francisco, and Texas.

"I served with a guy named Gino in the Pacific, he kept raving about this thing called pizza"


InterPunct t1_jdt9bnh wrote

> >"I served with a guy named Gino in the Pacific, he kept raving about this thing called pizza"

You're not very far off at all. My dad joined the navy in 1944 at the Brooklyn NY Navy Yard and ended up spending time in occupied Japan. He got a kick from telling the other sailors about all the exotic food from back home like pizza, bagels, Coney Island "frankfurters" (as he called them,) and this crazy food called spaghetti and meatballs.


JoeFelice t1_jduogfd wrote

And the people who'd never heard of those things, what was their diet like?


henryclay1844 t1_jdup0f4 wrote

Hunks of meat and potatoes, with a few other spare vegatables. Source: my family of non WW2 vets.


Nwcray t1_jdv2rfg wrote

Close. Really it was mostly vegetables and starches, with regular meat in there too. Meat was expensive, that’s why the phrase “brings home the bacon” means someone who is financially successful. They can afford to eat meat with their breakfast.

Depending on the place and time, of course. But pre-WWII was the Depression, and money was tight for most folks. Before that, in the plains anyway, was the dustbowl.

Interestingly, pork was the most common meat. Chickens are too valuable because they keep producing eggs. Cows would rarely be slaughtered because they are an enormous investment of time and resources (plus they can make milk). Goats are good, but pigs put on a lot more meat much more quickly. As a result, pork (bacon, ham, sausage) were the regular go-to for most people.


GreenStrong t1_jdvju8v wrote

The modern broiler chicken was only bred in the late 1940s. Undoubtedly, the breeds that create it mated many times in the past, but the farmers thought it was a useless defective monster. Chickens used to be expected to forage around the barnyard, and cornish cross broiler chickens aren't capable of it. They need to be kept in a highly regulated environment, they're constantly hungry and incredibly lazy. They reach maturity in 60-90 days and die of heart failure around one year.

Traditional chickens have about half the meat of a modern broiler. Roosters don't produce eggs, and they to destroy each other through combat, but testosterone makes the meat tough, so they would only be used for slow cooked stew. The really desirable meat was capon, produced from a castrated male chicken, but the testes are internal and the procedure had a high fatality rate.


fiendishrabbit t1_jdvu81v wrote

Although a properly made rooster stew is quite tasty (coq au vin being the most famous example).

Though frequently it wasn't a rooster, and instead a hen that had gotten too old for laying eggs.


p38-lightning t1_jdvj32o wrote

Yes - I grew up in the rural South in the 1960s. Beef, pork, chicken, and garden produce was the standard fare. I never had pizza or any other ethnic food until I went off to college.


MolassesFast t1_jdu17b7 wrote

War was also a catalyst for the massive postwar music scene, the compilation of tons of folk songs with blues led directly to the creation of rock and roll in the post war era.


nowhereman136 t1_jdu4c5c wrote

Radio technology used by the military was also used commercially after the war. Stations could broadcast further, reaching wider audiences


SpookyLilRaven t1_jdum3vl wrote

And yet people still choose to eat jello mayonnaise in the 50s.


EclecticDreck t1_jdus615 wrote

A thing to remember about the many questionable recipes from this era is that they were built upon novelty. Jello and mayo existed earlier, but by the 50s they'd transitioned form ingredients that would be a difficult and time consuming to make and use to common prepared staples.

Also: the combination is not nearly so disgusting as you might expect.


ZylonBane t1_jdwmgvk wrote

>A thing to remember about the many questionable recipes from this era is that they were built upon novelty.

Like the Dorito Taco and Crunchwrap of today.


FrankenWaifu t1_jduwl9m wrote

I remembered in the old WW1 black and white movie, Sergeant York, York lived most of his life in rural America and one of his buddies from the war lived in the city and told him about subways. When York was brought back to the States and celebrated as a war hero, the first thing he wanted to do was to take a train ride in the subway.


dewayneestes t1_jduyj4k wrote

My wife’s grandmother divorced her grandpa because he wanted to leave Harrington Kansas. She ended up dying there in the late 1990s. Imagine never leaving Harrington Kansas.


valgrind_error t1_jduve0v wrote

A food already quite common and popular in immigrant communities being profiled as a “new discovery” in the NYT food section? What a quaint and completely foreign concept in 2023.

Next you’re going to tell me that pizza shops opened up in non-Italian neighborhoods serving worse product for a 500% markup.


PM_ME_BUTTPIMPLES t1_jdw2ni2 wrote

lol idk the downvotes this def is a fair assessment of the NYT food section.


LipTrev t1_jdve7xp wrote

> Pizza was already popular in New York, especially within Italian communities.

New Haven (Connecticut) dwellers are furious with anyone who does not recognize American Pizza as coming from New Haven originally.


Zendub t1_jdvilcs wrote

I think you're thinking of hamburgers. New Haven doesn't typically claim to have invented pizza, only perfected it.


fridayfridayjones t1_jdvd21q wrote

Yep, pizza was my grandma’s favorite food when she was a little girl and she was born in 1927. She was Italian American and grew up in New Jersey. The best part was her mom used to make extra dough and fry up the extra, then they’d eat it hot out of the pan with jam. They called it pizza fritta.


HarveyTheRedPanda t1_jduw6ay wrote

moral of the story, war = good yesyes


nowhereman136 t1_jdwsfkr wrote

Morbidly, war has usually spured innovation and exploration. Canned food, bug spray, microwave ovens, airplanes, GPS, and Cheetos were all developed for the military and trickled down to everyday civilian use. Look up DARPA the US agency that developed new tech for the military. The amount of products they've made that we use everyday is ridiculous.

This was kinda the plot to The Eternals, they were tasked with keeping humans safe enough from alien threats to keep advancing as a species by waring with themselves.


electronp t1_je2ol0v wrote

Canned food was not developed for the military, nor was the airplane, nor was the microwave oven (though the magnetron tube was invented for military radar).


nowhereman136 t1_je2scg8 wrote

As soon as the Wright brothers proved that motor powered flight was possible they got funding out the wazoo from the military to further develop the technology.

Canned foods were developed by Nicolas Appert in France after the French government offered a cash reward for who can develop a method to store food for the army

The microwave was discovered by accident but the technology was further developed, as you yourself said, by the military.


electronp t1_je31kal wrote

Ok, thanks.

You are correct about Appert (bottled food). The Wright brothers did not invent the airplane.


nowhereman136 t1_je32vpb wrote

That's a whole other can of worms. Different people invented different planes all around the same time and its debatable who did what first. But if you can tell me who you believe "invented the airplane", I'll tell you how they got military funding for it


WindTreeRock t1_jdwqhet wrote

My mother, who attended college around 1941, told me that her Italian/American room mate named Roxy, would get pizza's in the mail from her parents and they would re-heat them on the steam radiators in their dorm room. Lol.


Ksradrik t1_jduu786 wrote

> WW2 not only got Americans to experience European culture

Wat? But thats literally where most Americans came from.


bungle123 t1_jduw76h wrote

It got them to experience contemporary European culture, and culture from European countries other than where their ancestors came from.


LeafsWinBeforeIDie t1_jdwuezl wrote

Don't forget it was mostly poor, weirdos, outcasts, and the weirdly religious that escaped or were rejected by the normalcy of Europe and came to north America so for their ancestors European culture was as foreign as anywhere else.


hatersaurusrex t1_jdt3fsa wrote

This article is interesting because it shows how innovative and foundational Greek immigrants were in creating some of our favorite foods - most especially when they're clueless about what the food in question should taste like so they just wing it.

Similar stories:

The Detroit Coney Dog was created by two Greek brothers who had been to Coney Island and eaten hot dogs there and wanted to create something similar in Detroit. They created the now legendary 'Coney Sauce' which is a delicious saucy chili topping, added onions and cheese and bingo - a classic is born.

Charlie Vergos was another Greek immigrant in Memphis who famously found an old coal chute in the basement of his restaurant and wanted to cook BBQ pork ribs in it. But he had no idea what they were supposed to taste like, so he just sprinkled dry seasonings on them, smoked them and hoped for the best - and Memphis-Style dry rub ribs were born.

I always get a kick out of these stories because it's clear these dudes could and did innovate wonderful things but don't really get the credit they deserve for it.


Derekd88 t1_jdt6t4r wrote

There’s two types of people in this world. people who are Greek and people who wish they were Greek.


DarthGuber t1_jdt9z93 wrote

What about people who have some Greek heritage but wish they were more enculturated?


Derekd88 t1_jdtdud6 wrote

give me any word I will show you the root of the word comes from Greek !


SeanG909 t1_jdvjjup wrote

I have never read a 'two kinds of people' adage that was more untrue.


LadyBug_0570 t1_jdwi67q wrote

You've also clearly never seenMy Big Fat Greek wedding, which is what the poster quoted.


CrieDeCoeur t1_jduqyjy wrote

Thumbs up. I swear, every restaurant in my city that has really good food, big portions, and super friendly service is owned and operated by Greeks. And only a handful of them are actually serving ethnic Greek cuisine. The rest are just really kickass diners and family places.


fridayfridayjones t1_jdvdnw0 wrote

The best diners I’ve ever eaten at were owned by little old Greek people. I used to go to one in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and the little old lady who owned it would pinch my arm and tell me to eat more because I was too skinny. I still miss that place.


Groundbreaking_War52 t1_jdv8ld9 wrote

Don't forget Tom Carvel and the invention of soft serve ice cream.

Cincinnati-style chili - also from Greeks (although some would argue that isn't something to be proud of...)


jopnk t1_jdvq484 wrote

I’ll defend cinci coneys til I die. But you can fuck right off if you put that pig slop on spaghetti


ZylonBane t1_jdwmv3g wrote

What I've realized now is that Greeks are to blame for both pineapple on pizza and Cincinnati chili. There will be a reckoning.


kagoolx t1_jdul29i wrote

That’s awesome. Also inspiring as it shows how much awesome stuff can come from a bit of creativity and winging it


paradise-trading-83 t1_jdudgfl wrote

It was referred to as pizza pie when I was younger. Still the most perfect food ever invented.


Redditforgoit t1_jduxo7g wrote

"When the moon hits your eye

Like a big pizza pie, that’s amore"

Dean Martin


hobbykitjr t1_jdv6371 wrote

the OG NYT article it references ... calls plural pizza "pizze"


[deleted] t1_jdunyt5 wrote



chockfulloffeels t1_jdupopi wrote

Tacos are Mexican.


LipTrev t1_jdvdvf3 wrote

You know what they had to do when they opened the first Taco Bell in Mexico City?

Give explanations for what all these things were.

Tacos (as sold in America) are an American remix of some regional Mexican food that Mexicans know from being introduced to them by Americans.


Traditional_Ad9764 t1_jdw4z6o wrote

Im Mexican, it still throws me off when I order a taco somewhere and it’s crunchy. Soft tacos ftw


chockfulloffeels t1_jduyho2 wrote

Lebanese roots, right. But a taco is far enough away to be considered it’s own cuisine.


HorseBeige t1_jdvgfru wrote

The above commenter didn't read the article they posted. Al pastor, the specific type of meat used for Tacos al pastor, are Lebanese in origin. Tacos predate the Spanish conquest.


HorseBeige t1_jdvg6ju wrote

Read the article more closely. Tacos al pastor (which is just a type of filling) have immigrant roots. Tacos as a concept are Mexican and predate them by centuries.


CircaSixty8 t1_jdvqc6z wrote

I'm just saying, they had help from another culture. It's all good.


HorseBeige t1_jdvuqoy wrote

One specific filling did. Not tacos as a whole. Your comment is misleading


thegoodrichard t1_jdt2mim wrote

American soldiers returning from Italy after the war made pizza popular.


tullystenders t1_jduf4b0 wrote

Just cause a legacy media says that something is new, doesnt mean its new.


OakParkCemetary t1_jduk32e wrote

Ah, my favorite New York pizzeria - Sbarro's


LadyBug_0570 t1_jdwn7ks wrote

Oh man, they used to have a personal stuffed crust pizza there in the 90s that was to die for!


OakParkCemetary t1_jdwq9yo wrote

I was never allowed to eat at Sbarro's as a kid (there was one in the local mall but my mom was a single mother and didn't like spending unless we had to) and now there aren't any Sbarro's near me.

My original comment is a bastardized referrence to The Office.


LadyBug_0570 t1_jdwrh4w wrote

Got ya.

Look,, I grew up in Brooklyn and yes there were great pizzerias everywhere. But Sbarro's was the best of large chains. (Dominoes is the worst... it's like cheese on cardboard with hetchup.)


waffles-n-gravy t1_jdt1fc0 wrote

And it has pineapple on it. Take that naysayers!


hatersaurusrex t1_jdt2dig wrote

The New York Times version didn't have pineapple. The article says that didn't come along until 1962.

That said, eat pineapple or whatever on your pizza if you like it. Life is short. Eat tasty things.


DeValera15 t1_jdt6322 wrote

Yup, 1962, Windsor Ontario, Canada. Thank you Sam!


G8kpr t1_jdv220p wrote

Yup, we brought the world Justin Beiber, Pineapple Pizza, and Celine Dione... you're welcome.

But we also brought the world Jim Carrey, Mike Myers, William Shatner, Brandon Fraser, Nanaimo Bars, Butter Tarts, Basketball, and Hockey.. so I guess it all balances out.


loneranger07 t1_jdxs0op wrote

Basketball? No sir


G8kpr t1_jdxv71a wrote

Yes sir. Look it up

It was invented by James Naismith (a Canadian) while he was teaching at a YMCA in Massachusetts


loneranger07 t1_jdxvsxw wrote

Yeah... It says the dude invented it after he moved to Springfield, Massachusetts in the 1890s so I would say yes a Canadian did it but "Canada" did not as he did it in the USA. It's an American sport, therefore, as we are a nation of immigrants. Doesn't matter where he came from. Melting pot. Checkmate, eh?


Igor_Strabuzov t1_jdvf9wq wrote

It's interesting that in 1944 Pizza was much more common in New York and the north-eastern United States than it was in central and especially northern Italy, where before the late 1950's it was basically nonexistent.


jmads13 t1_jduw63u wrote

I get why thicker Chicago-style pizza could get called “pie”, but it still infuriates me when “pie” is used as a synonym for pizza


SJHillman t1_jduyzog wrote

>but it still infuriates me when “pie” is used as a synonym for pizza

That's a weird thing to be infuriated by, but I've never seen it used as a direct synonym to pizza, but rather to the amount of pizza - specifically, a whole round pizza. It makes sense, too, to see it as a type of open-faced savory pie. Both tend to be circular dishes with toppings/fillings on a baked crust, and typically served in wedge-shaped portions.


Fat_Bearded_Tax_Man t1_jdx6bok wrote

There is a restaurant near me called citizen pie. As a big fan of pies who doesn't care for pizza, I was infuriated.


UWCG t1_jdt1ray wrote

And the rest, as they say, is history; where would we be without pizza?


oxymoronisanoxymoron t1_jdt5uhr wrote

I don't judge, I used to put sardines on my pizza 🤷‍♀️


magicbeansascoins t1_jdtxanb wrote

Anchovies my friend. Olives and anchovies. We may not make friends, but the taste is divine.


Old-Satisfaction-564 t1_jdw6he9 wrote

During 16th century the word pizza (from greek πιττα (pitta) meaning 'focaccia') appeared to describe a flat bread sold as street food.Until the 17th century was topped with oil and erbs or garlic, later other toppings were added like olive oil, lard, tomatoes, goats' milk cheese, anchovies. It was well described by Alexandre Dumas after a trip to Napoli in his Le corricolo (Éd.1846) .

Pizza margherita was probably created in 1889 adding mozzarella cheese as a topping, but it was not diffused since mozzarella was expensive and rare.

It was only after the war that pizza become ubiquitous in Italy, Ancel Keys was the researcher who associated the traditional Mediterranean diet with a low risk of CHD, attempted to but pizza in Rome in the '50 but it wasn't available anywhere, he was told that only neapolitans eat pizza.

It was only during the '60 that pizza became ubiquitous in Italy whan Luigi Giordano from Tramonti began mass production of mozzarella cheese in northern Italy.


brohio_ t1_jdv9e6o wrote

My grandma told me when she moved to the “big city” from the holler that Pizza was the big new thing. We have square cut pizza here and back then they’d serve it to go in a paper bag


[deleted] t1_jdt3dwb wrote



hatersaurusrex t1_jdt50er wrote

Those people can't seem separate 'I personally don't like that' from 'That doesn't belong there and if you do it you're wrong'

I personally dislike pineapple on pizza (except a few I've tried where the pineapple is cooked down into more of a jam/chutney and seasoned with warm spices - those were phenomenal)

But just because I don't like big hunks of fruit on my pizza doesn't mean other people can't eat whatever the fuck they like on there. Especially on something like pizza where the whole point is to put different toppings on it. Eat a whole barbecued goat on there for all I care.


Sassy-irish-lassy t1_jdt5pzg wrote

They only say it because it's a hilarious epic reddit meme. The people who say that have probably never had it, and are the same ones who say "birds aren't real". You know, because acting like a hivemind with no personality is "funny".


m3guitarist t1_jdtcccf wrote

I predict this will be big. You're welcome.


Iber0 t1_jdvwz9o wrote

And one year later the war ended, can't be a coincidence


Turkeyoak t1_jdvxuc9 wrote

Hawaiian Pizza crosses into the magical realm with the addition of jalapeños. It needs some bite to counteract the sweetness of the pineapple. At least use banana peppers.


Horrible_Harry t1_jdxb396 wrote

Pepperoni, pineapple, and jalapeños are a wonderful combination. The sum is greater than its parts. The ham/bacon can fuck off, IMO.


myhihi1 t1_jdx0oke wrote

The saltiness of the other ingredients counteracts the sweetness. If your pizza isn't salty enough to counteract the sweetness of pineapples then something is wrong with it.


Turkeyoak t1_jdxh96t wrote

Pickled peppers are brined, so there you are.


botglm t1_jdv3h16 wrote

And that pizza’s name: Alber- oh fuck this.


TLDReddit73 t1_jdt55vq wrote

I clicked on an article that was supposed to be about pizza. And instead, I’m shown some disgusting pineapple monstrosity. How about a NSFL tag, people!

Edit: You people are monsters!