By Ian MacAllen, April 4, 2022
Millions of Italians arrived in the United States during the great wave of immigration from the 1880s until the Second World War.
Dishes like spaghetti and meatballs, veal parmigiana, and oven-baked lasagna evolved during these years, yet Americans perceived these as the food of foreign ethnics with too much garlic.
One dish would profoundly change that perception forever: pizza. A popular street food in nineteenth century Naples, pizza served the working class and poor.
In New York City, the first commercial pizzerias baked pies in big bread ovens which resulted in the large round pies common in American pizzerias today. However, pizza did not achieve widespread popularity until after the war as American troops returned home. Everything was about to change.