Anyone who has spent time in Italy knows that if you ask for pizza con peperoni, when your order comes out, there won’t be any pepperoni in sight. Rather, you’ll be served a paper-thin, intensely aromatic pizza covered with thick strips of red peppers. This happened to me on my first trip to Florence. Seventeen years later, it is still the most delicious lesson I’ve ever learned.
In 1905, Gennaro Lombardi, an Italian immigrant living in New York, opened America’s very first pizzeria. Since its introduction to our country, we have accepted pizza without fuss. It may not always taste quite like Lombardi or his ancestors made it, but according to the United States Pizza Team‘s recent report, between January and December 2009, American pizza sales hit $36,286,230,000 (10+10); and as of 2010, there are nearly 65,000 U.S. pizza stores (10+04). L’amore per la pizza is going strong.