February 9 – National Pizza AND Bagel Day


Posted on February 9, 2017

When I read that today was National Pizza Day AND National Bagel Day, I remembered that my husband really enjoys an occasional pizza bagel!

Pizza has been around since ancient times. Many, many cultures have created flat breads with toppings, but the word pizza comes (no surprise) from what is now central Italy. 

We think of dessert pizzas as being
innovative, but most of the history of the
pizza has been sweet, not savory.
Of course, back in ancient times, there was no tomato sauce or toppings on pizza, because the tomato is a New World food. (Indeed, most pizzas were sweet, not savory.) The world had to wait until the late 1700s before tomato or tomato sauce was used on pizzas.

Who am I kidding? Italy started to enjoy tomato-y pizzas starting in the late 1700s (and immigrants to elsewhere enjoyed pizzas in their Little Italy neighborhoods), but the world had to wait until World War II. The Allied soldiers stationed in Italy loved pizza, and soon pizza began to be enjoyed by almost everyone, almost everywhere. Now pizzerias are the second most common kind of restaurant in America -- beating out Mexican food and hamburger restaurants, at #s 3 and 4, respectively. (The most common kind of restaurant in the U.S. is "varied menu.")

There are loads and loads of variations
of pizza and bagels!

What's your favorite?

Bagels are dense, chewy bread rolls made, like doughnuts, with a hole in the middle. This food got its start in Jewish communities in Eastern Europe; many people say it was invented in Poland. Jewish immigrants fleeing from war and repression took bagels to new lands. But like pizza, bagels were only made and bought and sold and eaten in Jewish communities, for years. 

The holes in bagels make them easier to
carry, either on a cord (as in above) or
on rods (as in below).
Also like pizza, bagels began to be popular with everyone after World War II. Nowadays, these rolls -- which are boiled, then baked, unlike most breads -- are especially popular in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. 

A newly popular breakfast became bagels with lox (salmon that has been brined, that is, cured with salt) and cream cheese. Those who aren't crazy about fish still tend to enjoy bagels with cream cheese.

These days many cities have bagel bakeries, and people can often buy bagels at the grocery store. I have my choice, in most grocery stores, of bagels freshly baked in the store's bakery, or fresh but shipped in from a manufacturer, or frozen.

Bread tends to be very yummy, and pizza and bagels are both, ultimately, special kinds of bread. So delicious!!!

Plan ahead:

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