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Beginning as early as the 17th century in and around Naples, Italy, when anyone had a hankering for a pizza, all they needed to do was take a stroll through the streets of the poorer sections of the city, and share the favorite cuisine of the locals . . .

There pizza was sold at all times of the day  — served for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Considered a peasant dish because it was made with inexpensive ingredients, and considered a curiosity by out-of-towners, it was made and peddled by men called pizzaiolis.

Pieces were cut from a large tray pizza whose crust had been cooked in the local baker’s oven after being sprinkled with simple toppings, usually *mushrooms and anchovies. Whatever was on hand became an ingredient! The coal-fired pizza ovens reached temperatures of nearly 750°. Stories and folk tales from those by-gone times note repeatedly that the flavor of that pizza — made, baked and served in the open air — was an unbeatable delight for whomever was lucky enough to eat it, poor or rich. (Unbeatable no longer! Your favorite Pizza of the Month Club is elated to bring you the modern “unbeatable delight!”)

As demand for pizza expanded, stalls were set up and the pizzas were specially shaped, assembled and cooked as ordered by the customers. It was at this time that alternative toppings were “invented” and used, the most notably being the tomato, having just arrived via ship from the New World.

*Could it be possible that the 17th century Italians were a healthy    bunch because they ate mushrooms on their pizza? Today researchers tell us that eating 2/3 of a cup daily can double our natural defenses against viral attacks. Mushrooms are ripe with betaglucan, lentinan and other compounds that improve our white blood cell function.

F.Y.I.: For centuries it was thought that the very small yellow tomato, the type first introduced, was only good as an ornamental plant — not to be eaten.

Take a Close Look at this Month’s Pizza Selections:  

#1 – CHEESEBURGER GOURMET PIZZA

Voted Most Likely to be Eaten by the kids, this one has perfectly spiced ground beef and aged mild cheddar cheese. Topped off with your favorite Pizza of the Month Club’s signature tomato sauce (with onions, garlic, spices, Romano, oils and Chablis), you’ve got yourself a happy bunch of kids – both young and old!

#2 – TERIYAKI CHICKEN GOURMET PIZZA

Our chefs begin by covering this deep dish pan crust with sweet and satisfying Teriyaki sauce flavored with brown sugar, pineapple and lemon juice, and soy sauce. Then they add generous portions of tender spiced chicken breast strips and handfuls of mozzarella. How sweet it is!

#3 – SPINACH & ZUCCHINI GOURMET PIZZA

Cooked spinach, fresh sliced zucchini and mozzarella are cuddled by our special garlic sauce made with olive and corn oils, garlic salt and powder, cayenne pepper and spicy Romano cheese. This is veggies at their best!

 

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Tracie Burket
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