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Pizza: A Global History
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Pizza: A Global History (The Edible Series)

3.29  ·  Rating details ·  70 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews
You can pick Chicago deep dish, Sicilian, or New York-style; pan crust or thin crust; anchovies or pepperoni. There are countless ways to create the dish called pizza, as well as a never-ending debate on the best way of cooking it. Now Carol Helstosky documents the fascinating history and cultural life of this chameleon-like food in Pizza.

Originally a food for the poor in
Hardcover, 128 pages
Published October 15th 2008 by Reaktion Books (first published October 7th 2008)
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Oct 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic little book that uses historical context, gastronomic analysis, and socio-cultural anthropological reflections to tell the story of one of my favourite foods.
Desiree Koh
Apr 28, 2010 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Obsessive pizza lovers
Shelves: chow
When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that's amore! When a book shits on your brain like a pile of stale crust, that's a bore.

I know a lot of pizza, but I don't profess to know everything, so I read the pizza volume in the Edible Global History series. Maybe Ken Albala set too high of a standard with his "Pancake" edition, because nothing else has been very good since. The author Carol Helstosky is an associate professor of history at the University of Denver, but you wouldn't have g
Margaret Sankey
Aug 10, 2011 rated it liked it
Another in the good series, written by the author of Garlic and Oil, which traced Italian government food decisions from unification through Mussolini's pasta in every pot. Pizza began as the easily thrown together and eaten in the street food of the lazzaroni of Naples, took its modern form with the introduction of tomatoes (New World) and water buffalo mozzarella (Asia), was adopted as a token of unification by the monarchy with Pizza Margharita and started appearing as a family business in It ...more
Karen Happson
Mar 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
Honestly, I don't understand the comments on this book. I was given this book by a friend and I read it last month. It was a fun read and I learned a lot about the history of pizza. I have read other books in the series and they are all supposed to describe how a food became popular throughout the world in just a few chapters. I think the author did a good job comparing pizza's history in Italy with it's history in the United States then describing how it became popular everywhere else. Some peo ...more
Leslie Ann
Jan 29, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: food-wine
Read for a reading challenge (category: a book with pizza or sushi). At times, the prose is dry or unorganized, but there are some interesting bits of information. I think the contradictory characteristics of pizza help explain its global appeal (as evidenced by an American franchise using an Indian model to advertise pizza in Poland):

It is both a simple Italian food produced through poverty and want, and an American celebration of abundance and wealth. It is both a local and a global food. It i
Jul 25, 2009 rated it liked it
C. Helstosky states, "Wherever pizza becomes popular, it takes on different meanings for those eating it." (p. 107) This is made evident by the massive amount of types of pizza availalbe around the global. Helstosky explains the humble beginnings of a now-everywhere food. The chapters are well defined and simply written. I learned a lot about the background of several pizza chains, most notably: Pizza Hut and Dominos. I would recommend this book, as well as others in the series, to other foodies ...more
Louise Chambers
Sep 20, 2009 rated it did not like it
Too repetitive. Badly organized. Good history, but not in order, as if the author was writing spoilers into the text herself.
Recipes seem OK; I haven't tried any.
Internet sources aren't the non-mainstream ones she mentions in her text; sources are Pizza Hut and Dominos, and others almost everyone knows.
Bill Rand
Feb 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is a quick, but insightful history into the world of pizza. I partially read it because one of my pictures is used (I get a photo credit), but I thought the book provided a nice look into where pizza came from and how it evolves. It also has a bunch of recipes at the end that I'm planning on trying out.
megan c
Nov 07, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I love this series. It is such a good idea. Cute, informative, and surprisingly scholarly - the perfect food history. I challenge anyone to argue that food isn't a useful source for social and cultural history.
Oct 12, 2011 rated it liked it
Quick read but seemed repetitive at times; maybe it was due to stretching too little material into a longer book. Also, a few points were glossed over, as if the reader should already know what the author was referring to. But for a quick historical overview of pizza, this book is adequate.
Jan 05, 2012 rated it liked it
Not too interesting history of pizza. I guess I learned a few things, like how Domino's and Pizza Hut really made pizza world famous and how pizza began as a poor people's food in Naples and wasn't eaten in other parts of Italy until much later.
Maureen Forys
Jul 17, 2015 rated it it was ok
Lol I read a book about the history of pizza. How embarrassing. But I thought it would be lighthearted and cute! But it was dry and boring a repetitive.
Dec 11, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: food
Pretty lightweight, but still an engaging introduction to pizza. The book traces the rise of pizza from a humble street food in Naples to the most popular global fast food today.
Feb 22, 2010 added it
Shelves: food
Aug 16, 2011 rated it did not like it
Barely even a book... more like a grocery store pamphlet about pizza.
Sep 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A good, easy read, it's only 109 pages, but pretty informative.
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Other Books in the Series

The Edible Series (1 - 10 of 72 books)
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  • Beer: A Global History
  • Brandy: A Global History (Edible)
  • Bread: A Global History
  • Cake:  A Global History
  • Caviar: A Global History
  • Champagne: A Global History