Pennsylvania Pizza

Another semester, another research paper. Last month I went to my professor with two paper topics: an exploration of race relations in the coal regions or an examination of the history of Pennsylvania pizzerias. He said the latter looked like more fun. I agreed.

My interest was first piqued by an article which cited a 2005 survey giving Northeastern PA the distinction of having the highest number of pizza joints per capita. I don’t know about anywhere else, but it always struck me that we had more than our fair share. Of all the different kinds of cuisine, how and when did pizza come to dominate here? Who runs these places? Why does it all taste so damn good?

Apparently, pizza as we know it, was invented by Italian immigrants in NYC around the turn of the century. It’s popularity didn’t really take off until after WW2. By the end of the 50’s, it’s everywhere. I’m going to comb through old magazines and newspapers and city directories from this time period and see what’s what. Hopefully enough to write 10-15 pages!

So, now that I’ve spent half of my day off (yay F&M spring break!) researching pizza, I’m gonna go eat some leftover Chinese for lunch. Hmm…I wonder where all those Chinese places came from?

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2 thoughts on “Pennsylvania Pizza

  1. Now that is one topic I wouldn’t mind ‘digging’ into- literally! I could taste test a whole bunch of pizza for you!

    Where I live, we have 3 pizza places all within 5 minutes–two on the same street. I have no idea how they all stay in business!

    Good luck and enjoy!

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