Home Page

Stefan's Florilegium


This document is also available in: text or RTF formats.

pizza-msg – 7/20/18


Period pizza, or at least similar dishes.


NOTE: See also the files: bread-msg, breadmaking-msg, mushrooms-msg, cheese-msg, fd-Italy-msg, tomato-hist-art, Bagels-art, cheese-breads-msg, It-Stufd-Lofs-art.





This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that I  have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.


This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium. These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org


I have done  a limited amount  of  editing. Messages having to do  with separate topics  were sometimes split into different files and sometimes extraneous information was removed. For instance, the  message IDs  were removed to save space and remove clutter.


The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I make  no claims  as  to the accuracy  of  the information  given  by the individual authors.


Please respect the time  and  efforts of  those who have written  these messages. The copyright status  of these messages  is  unclear  at this time. If information  is  published  from  these  messages, please give credit to the originator(s).


Thank you,

   Mark S. Harris                  AKA:  THLord Stefan li Rous

                                         Stefan at florilegium.org



From: L Herr-Gelatt and J R Gelatt <liontamr at postoffice.ptd.net>

Date: Wed, 30 Apr 97 08:28:48 -0700

Subject: SC - FWD: Pizza Origins


In light of the recent Pizza Discussion, I forward this post from

rec.food.historic. I don't necessarily agree with all the findings, but

there are a few interesting facts towards the end and a high-school type bibliography.




"Adam Nolley" <nolley.deerfields at worldnet.att.net> wrote:

>(Note: this is the paper I wrote for English class on the subject that I

>promised I'd post.  There was more to it, but I've only posted the

>important part.)

>_The Origin Of Pizza_

>      I'll start with the things that are certain.  Pizza originated in Naples,

>Italy. The word pizza means pie in Italian, referring to any type of pie.

>The dish we refer to as pizza is really pizza alla Napoletana, pizza

>Americana, or pizza Margherita.


>      That is about all the historical information about pizza that is known for

>sure. Most of the other evidence about the origin of pizza is largely

>speculative. The majority of it was put together by Neapolitan (the people

>of Naples) chauvinists.  However, since there is no better source of

>evidence, it's what we have to use.


>      Pizza probably evolved from the Greek wafer bread laganon.  In fact, the

>term laganon survives today in Greece as a name for a type of pizza.  The

>idea of baking thin yeast breads like laganon has been around for thousands

>of years.  These breads are first cousins of pizza.


>      When pizza is made, the thin wafery bread becomes a portable meal.

>Toppings are added, and the crust enables it to be eaten by hand.  It can

>be thought of as the first fast food!


>      To think of pizza brings to mind, at the very least, tomato sauce and

>cheese. The original pizzas, known as pizza bianca were rather plain and

>resembled a garlic bread.  The tomato wasn't central to the pizza bianca

>because of its fairly late arrival in Italian cooking.  In fact, the plain

>pizza can still be found all over Italy today.


>      The traditional date for the invention of what we regard as basic pizza is

>1889. Raffaele Esposito, a famed pizza maker, was invited to the palace of

>King Umberton I of Savoy and made three different types of pizza for Queen

>Margherita. She preferred the pizza with tomato, mozzarella, and basil.

>It was named after her (pizza Margherita) and is still called by this name

>in Italy.


>      Pizza became really popular in America during the 1950s.  It is now a

>staple food for people of all ages, races, and cultures.  Pizza has become

>an integral part of our culture, and many new ideas have come from this,

>like Mexican pizza and others.  Pizza, no matter where it came from, is

>here to stay.


>Bromey, Haworth.  Email interview.  March 21, 1997.  rec.food.historic.

>"Food." The World Book Encyclopedia.  v 7.  1993.

>Isaacs, Howard.  Email interview.  March 23, 1997.  rec.food.historic.

>Moss, Tim.  Email interview.  March 21, 1997.  rec.food.historic.

>"Naples." The World Book Encyclopedia.  v 14.  1993.

>Nielson, Susan.  Email interview.  March 26, 1997.  rec.food.historic.

>"Pizza." Women's Day Encyclopedia of Cooking.  v 9.  1966.

>Shein, Barry.  Email interview.  March 21, 1997.  rec.food.historic.

>Slokolov, Raymond.  "The Pizza Connection."  Natural History.  February,




Date: Thu, 06 Aug 1998 20:27:20 -0500

From: Mike and Pat Luco <mikel at pdq.net>

Subject: SC - OOP- Margarita Napolitana et al...


Dear Adamantius and interested others,


PIZZA the Naples way.  Start with a simple foccia dough, grab a BIG fistful and throw it until you get a thin disk. Lay it out and drizzle olive oil, not

tomato sauce, onto the dough.  Then sprinkle small pieces of tomato, fresh basil leaves, and cubed bufalo cheese (made from water buffalo milk)  Bake in

a wood fired brick/stone oven till the dough puffs and slightly burns and the cheese melts.


You have just made pizza Margarita!!  Don't forget a salad of fresh greens, arugula and (again) olive oil with balsamic vinegar.


Other varieties of PIZZA available, most without tomato sauce (yea)!  Oh, I do like tomato sauce, just not on my pizza.  (Dominos does not know how to do



Noncanned freshly preserved anchovies are a treat when served with octopus, clams, and other fruits of the sea, Fruti de Mar.


Oh Italy, gastronomic motherland.


Henri and Antea



Date: Sun, 09 Aug 1998 10:32:14 -0400

From: Phil & Susan Troy <troy at asan.com>

Subject: Re: SC - Views on British Food


THLRenata at aol.com wrote:


> Adamantius writes:

> >>since very few places in America grasp the basic

> concept either. They make some very nice dishes _called_ pizza in places like

> California and the Chicago area. They just aren't pizza.<<

> So, tell us, Master A -- just what *is* pizza?


Hmmm. How to explain. Rule number one seems to be that pizza simply means a flat

bread. What most people mean by pizza, though, is a pizza margarita, and its

variations, which involve a tomoato-ey topping and cheese. Basically Henri and

Antea are correct about what constitutes a pizza margarita. The people who first

made them used very specific ingredients and methods to attain a very specific

effect, and either the pizza maker achieves this or doesn't: there are no half

measures. Extremely fine, white, high-gluten flour is used, kneaded just right,

and then hand-thrown, either on a board or marble slab, or stretching by hand,

the method most often seen in the States, to produce a fine web of gluten strands across the upper and lower surfaces of the pizza. This is what gives pizza its characteristic crunch, and the fluffy chewy layer under the outer crust.


Unlike other breads, pizza is not left to rise for any length of time after

forming: the reason it has large bubbles in it is what is known as oven spring.

The large bubbles come from steam, not CO2-producing yeast, which is why a pizza

needs such high heat.


My experience with virtually every chain or franchise pizzeria is that they don't achieve the effect. The places in America where they _do_ achieve this tend to be small pizzerias where the people making them have been doing it for years. It's also very difficult to make a good pizza and have it travel for anything more than a mile or so, maximum. Putting a steaming hot pizza into a cardboard box for transport for more than a couple of minutes is disastrous.


Lessee now, what else? It's probably easier to say what pizza is _not_. Pizza is

not made in a pan of any kind. It is _never_  topped with cheddar cheese, ar

anything mixed therewith. It rarely, if ever, has any additional toppings other

than tomato (and I do mean tomato, not tomato sauce), seasonings, and cheese.

Anchovies are acceptable, and mushrooms or sausage are all right, if not strictly canonical. Same for peppers or onion. Pineapple is _right out_. In general more than one or two toppings in addition to the tomato and cheese are looked down upon in Naples, which appears to be the birthplace of what most people call pizza.


The city of Naples, BTW, more or less claims the legal right to call itself the

birthplace of the pizza. I actually read an interview on the subject of pizza

with the mayor of Naples and the chairman of the Neapolitan Chamber of Commerce,

and they were pretty clear about what constitutes a pizza, and what doesn't

(although it was ever so slightly tongue-in-cheek). They discussed a specific

date (1762?) for the invention of the pizza margarita, and although this seems a

bit late to me, I've been unable to document the pizza most of us know any

earlier than that. I have no reason to believe that previous incarnations would

have been the same thing sans tomato, either.


> Granted, one of the best pizzas I ever ate was in Venice, Italy (as opposed to

> Venice, CA, where I've also had good pizza) but aside from my chosen topping

> -- fresh mussels steamed in wine -- it was not all that different from other

> pizzas I've had before or since.


I can't decide if that means you've been extremely lucky (as I've said, there is

real pizza out there, it's just that most of the people selling what they claim

_is_ pizza, isn't) or consistently unlucky. I have no way to even guess, but I

have to confess that the idea of mussels, probably out of their shells, in a

pizza oven at a temperature upwards of 800 or 900 degrees Fahrenheit, seems

ill-advised. Maybe the cooking is brief enough to heat them through without

drying them out.


In any case, I concede again that inauthentic pizza, or even pizza that doesn't

qualify as pizza (anything sold by Pizzeria Uno or by Wolfgang Puck at Spago,

f'r instance) can be perfectly fine food, even if the mayor of Napoli would






Date: Fri, 18 Apr 2003 14:09:51 -0400

To: sca-cooks at ansteorra.org

From: "Phil Troy/ G. Tacitus Adamantius" <adamantius.magister at verizon.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] YKYITSCAW...


Also sprach Decker, Terry D.:


While I would agree that Michelangelo Buonarroti probably did not eat

Neapolitan pizza and I would suggest a 1528 date (Cortez's return to Spain)

for the introduction of the tomato into Europe, Michelangelo lived until

1564.  It is possible he did eat tomatoes.  It's just that there is no

evidence to prove or refute the claim.





It's also possible, and in fact fairly likely, I suspect, that he ate

something called pizza that did not contain tomatoes. I was reading

only the other day a book (whose title I forget and would have to dig

for) about changes in immigrant Italian, Irish, Jewish, and other

foodways once the cultures entered America. Somewhere in there is a

quote from someone (possibly a Sicilian immigrant -- my memory could

be faulty on this, but while it may be inaccurate, it usually doesn't

make up stuff out of whole cloth), to the effect that the pizza in

America is weird: they put tomatoes and cheese on it, instead of

olive oil and onions like any right-thinking person. This would have

been post-1880 C.E., and the idea being that, for example, a Sicilian

would be more likely to encounter Roman or Neapolitan food in America

than if he had stayed in Italy.


P.S: "Hungering for America" by Hasia R. Diner (good name, huh?)





Date: Thu, 15 Apr 2004 06:33:48 -0700 (PDT)

From: Louise Smithson <helewyse at yahoo.com>

Subject: [Sca-cooks] Re: period pizza

To: sca-cooks at ansteorra.org


Stefan wrote: <snipped>

Helewyse, or anyone else, can you post this recipe from Scappi?

It has been several years since we discussed period pizza or period

pizz possibilities. A lot of it really depends upon your definition of

"pizza". Anyway, I'd love to see some additional information.



Stefan, here is the recipe from Scappi, the original in Italian, the

translation and how I redacted it for my recent feast.

(Scappi, B., Opera : (dell' arte del cucinare).  Reprint. First

published: Opera di M. Bartolomeo Scappi. Venice, 1570. 1981, Bologna:

Arnaldo Forni. [20], 436 leaves [ca. 888 p.], [28] p. of plates. )


Per fare pizza sfogliata dal vulgo detta sfogliat ascuitta. [1]

Cap CXXVIII, quinto libro,folio 367.

Piglisi un sfoglio di pasta tirato sottile, fatto come gl’antescritti,

& habbisi una tortiera onta di butiro liquefatto, & sopra essa tortiera

pongasi un sfoglio d’essa pasta, alquanto grossetto, & sopa esso

sfoglio mettansi dieci altri sfogli sottile, onti tra l’uno, & l’altro

di butiro, & spolverizzati di zuccaro, & fiore di sambuco secchi, o

verdi, & faccisi cuocere al forno, o sotto il testo; & cotto che sarà,

servasi calda con zuccaro, & acquarosa sopra.  A un’altro modo si

potrebbe fare, tirato il sfoglio come s’è detto, ongasi di butiro

liquefatto, & lascisi alquanto raffreddare, & spargasi un’altra volta

d’esso butiro, & spolverizzisi di zuccaro, & faccisi un tortiglione di

sei rivoltur, & come è fatto ongasi per il lungo, & rivolgasi à foggi

di laberinto, & mettasi nelle totiera, dove sia un’altro sfoglio di

pasta onta di butiro, & con la mano onta di butiro caldo (acciò la

pasta no s’attacchi) venga a spianarsi, di modo che non rimnga piu

alta d’un dito, & col !

  nodo del

  pugno vadasocaldando in modo che gli resti il segno, spargasegli

butiro liquefatto sopra, & facciasi cuocere al forno con lento fuoco, &

servasi caldo con zuccaro, & acqua rosa sopra, se non si volesse

spolerizzare di zuccaro, & acqua rosa sopra; mettasi il zuccaro nella

pasta, & per bellezza si puo fare essa pizza col tortiglione sfogliato



To make pizza of many layers, commonly cold dry layered pastry.  [1]

Take a sheet of pasta that has been plled thin, made as is described

in the previous recipe, have a tart pan greased with melted butter, and

into this pan add a sheet of this pasta that is large enough.  Above

this sheet put another 10 thin sheets, greasing between each one with

butter ad powdering with sugar and elder flowers, either fresh or

dried.  And put it to cook in the oven or underneath a “testo”, and

when it is cooked serve hot with sugar and rose water on top.  There is

another way that one can make this, pull a sheet as is described and

grease with melted butter, and let it chill a little, and sprinkle

again with this butter, and powder with sugar and make a ring shaped

pastry of six turns (roll pastry on itself).  And when it is made

grease it along the length, and turn in the shape of a laberinth or

knot, and put in the tart pan, where there is already another sheet of

the pastry greased with butter, and with hands greased with melted

butter (in order that the pasta does not stick to them) begin to turn it, in the way that it doesn't become any higher than a finger, and with the flat of your fist push it down so that it remains within, sprinkle with melted butter and put to cook in the oven with slow fire. And serve hot with sugar and rose

water above, and if one does not want to powder it with sugar and

rosewater above, one can put sugar in the pastry, and for beauty one

can make this pizza with little layered tarts that are in circles.


Layered pastry


1/2 pack filo dough thawed

1/4 lb butter1 cup sugar

2 tablespoons cinnamon


Melt the butter and keep warm so that it will spread.  Working quickly

remove a sheet of filo dough from the packet, keep the remainder

covered with a damp towel.  Lay the filo dough on a board, brush with

buttr, cover with another sheet of dough and repeat the butter, cover

with another sheet of dough butter and then sprinkle with cinnamon and

sugar.  Repeat this layering, 3 sheets filo then cinnamon and sugar,

until 12 sheets of filo have been used. Finis with a layer of

cinnamon and sugar.  Slice the sheet into triangles.   Bake in a

pre-heated 400 F oven (or at the temperature recommended on the filo

packet) until golden brown.  Allow to cool, serve cold.

Note: After taste testing this dish made withboth dried elder flowers

and with cinnamon the consensus was that cinnamon tasted better.  It

also prevents the dessert menu from becoming overpowered with flower

scented dishes.





Date: Thu, 15 Apr 2004 09:03:25 -0700 (PDT)

From: Louise Smithson <helewyse at yahoo.com>

Subject: [Sca-cooks] Re: period pizza

To: sca-cooks at ansteorra.org


Huette wrote:

>Have you ever made this with pasta rather than filo?


Huette, I worked up this recipe for a feast.  Consequently I had no

intention of making my own dough (there is a limit to how much insane

work I will put myself through).


The recipe for the pastry for the dough has as ingredients (if I

remember correctly) - flour, water, sugar, rosewater, butter and egg

yolks.  I can look it up tonight if you are interested.





Date: Thu, 15 Apr 2004 12:05:09 -0400

From: "Phil Troy / G. Tacitus Adamantius"

        <adamantius.magister at verizon.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Re: period pizza

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>


Also sprach Huette von Ahrens:

> Have you ever made this with pasta rather than filo?

> Huette


It seems to me it could be done; I suspect we're

looking at a strudel, or something very close to






Date: Thu, 15 Apr 2004 09:34:05 -0700

From: david friedman <ddfr at daviddfriedman.com>

Subject: [Sca-cooks] Re: period pizza

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>


Helewyse wrote:

> Stefan, here is the recipe from Scappi, the

> original in Italian, the translation and how I

> redacted it for my recent feast.

> (Scappi, B., Opera : (dell' arte del cucinare).

> Reprint. First published: Opera di M. Bartolomeo

> Scappi. Venice, 1570. 1981, Bologna: Arnaldo

> Forni. [20], 436 leaves [ca. 888 p.], [28] p. of

> plates. )

> Per fare pizza sfogliata dal vulgo detta sfogliata ascuitta. [1]

> Cap CXXVIII, quinto libro,folio 367.

> Piglisi un sfoglio di pasta tirato sottile, fatto come glíantescritti,

> ...


What is the preceding recipe? And does "pasta"

here mean pasta in the modern sense or is it like

the English recipes which say "paste" and it

could mean any kind of dough?


> To make pizza of many layers, commonly cold dry layered pastry.  [1]

> Take a sheet of pasta that has been pulled thin,

> made as is described in the previous recipe,...


Elizabeth of Dendermonde/Betty Cook



Date: Fri, 14 Apr 2006 09:34:30 -0400

From: "grizly" <grizly at mindspring.com>

Subject: RE: Food-related Meta-Issue

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>


Here's for the one trying to make it work with his preferences and OUR RULES.  I didn't include the period latin text plus translation by Scully on my webpage for some odd reason, but can get it for you if desired:




Crosini/crostoni with a light sprinkling of cinnamon sugar and fat cheese. He never said what size cheese pizza he needed . . . so a 2" circle would fit.  I'll bet there are other versions, like even the one version of Savory Toasted Cheese that was served open-faced on toast.  It might have been the Northwest heresy version :o)


niccolo difrancesco



Date: Thu, 6 Aug 2009 16:35:11 -0700 (PDT)

From: Raphaella DiContini <raphaellad at yahoo.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] 16th Century Pizza

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>


There were variations of "pizza" pre-1600, but none that I know of mention anything about tomato. If you're just talking about flat disks of some sort of dough with toppings, most of the recipes that I've seen tend to be much more often fruit, sugar and sweet spices.


Just a quick run through Scappi yeilds a menu entry for the 8th of October, first dish, first service from side board:

Layered pizza made with fine wheat flour, egg yolks, sugar and butter                  

Translation from Helewyse de Birkestad



She also posted an interesting paper on the nature of 16th century Italian pizza, and there's not a tomato in site. :)






Date: Thu, 28 Apr 2011 21:18:15 +1000

From: "Cary" <lenehan at our.net.au>

Subject: Re: [Lochac] period pizza?

To: "'The Shambles: the SCA Lochac mailing list'"

        <lochac at lochac.sca.org>


I strongly commend the following book to anyone interested in the complete

history of the evolution of Italian food.  Don't make too many assumptions

about pizza.


Dickie, John (2007) 'Delizia! The epic history of Italians and their food'

Hodder & Stoughton, London

ISBN 978 0 340 89641 9


I love the section on the futurists and fascists.




<the end>




Formatting copyright © Mark S. Harris (THLord Stefan li Rous).
All other copyrights are property of the original article and message authors.

Comments to the Editor: stefan at florilegium.org