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Pizza, the World’s Food

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Liz Waid and Adam Navis look at a food people eat all around the world: pizza! They look at the history and culture of this world food. What is your favorite topping?

Voice 1 

Welcome to Spotlight. I’m Liz Waid.

Voice 2 

And I’m Adam Navis. Spotlight uses a special English method of broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand, no matter where in the world they live.

Voice 1 

Today’s Spotlight is on a food people eat all around the world. It is pizza! Very simply, pizza is a food made by putting meat and vegetables, called toppings, on top of bread. But pizza is not the same everywhere. All around the world, people enjoy different toppings on their pizzas.

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Voice 2 

In Brazil, green peas are popular on pizza.

Voice 1 

In Japan, food from the sea, like eel and squid are popular.

Voice 2 

In Costa Rica, people enjoy the coconut fruit on top of their pizzas.

Voice 1 

In Italy, the bread, or crust, of the pizza may be the most important part. It can be more important than anything that goes on it!

Voice 2 

But in the Netherlands toppings are very important! A popular pizza in the Netherlands is called the “Double Dutch.” It has two times the cheese, two times the onions, and two times the beef! It has two times the toppings!

making crust
Image by Daniel Naor from Pixabay
Voice 1 

As you can see, there are many different ways to eat pizza. And each way is correct! The simple design of pizza is the same all over the world. But everyone likes something different on top of it. It is common for different cultures to have their own kinds of food. A food that is popular in one culture will not always be popular in another culture. But pizza seems to cross all these barriers. Pizza is popular in almost every part of the world! So, why is pizza so popular? Where did it even come from?

Voice 2 

No one really knows where the idea for modern pizza started. But experts do agree that the design, or recipe, for modern pizza was probably put together using different ideas from different cultures. A few cultures already had a simple common recipe for pizza almost 2000 years ago!

Voice 1 

Even before that, Middle Eastern cultures had something similar to pizza. Babylonians, Israelites, and Egyptians liked to eat flat, cooked bread. They would add olive oil and good tasting spices to the bread. Then they cooked this flat, spiced bread in hot ovens made of earth or on top of hot, flat stones. It was a small food that people ate between meals. Or they added it to a meal.

Voice 2 

Another version of this flat round bread was also popular in Greece. The Greeks called it “plakountos.” They put vegetables and meat on top of the flat bread.

Voice 1 

But many experts believe that the version of pizza that people know best today started in the city of Naples, in Italy. It was a street food. Poor people there spent a lot of time outside of their very small homes. They could buy this food and eat it easily as they walked outside.

Voice 2 

One more thing added to the creation of the modern pizza. They put tomatoes on their pizza street food. Today, this soft, red fruit is the most popular fruit in the world. But back in the 1700s, people thought it was poisonous. But that did not stop them from eating it!

tomatoes
Tomatoes; Image by Dapur Melodi from Pixabay
Voice 1 

Finally, the popularity of pizza began to grow.  Shops opened where people could buy pizza. In 1830, the first pizzeria opened in Naples, Italy. This restaurant only sold pizza. But the pizza of that time still looked a little different from the modern pizza we know today. However, in 1889, Don Raffaele Esposito created the first modern pizza. Katy Blake tells the story.

Voice 3 

Queen Margherita Theresa was visiting Naples. She had heard of pizza, but she had never tried it. During her visit to Naples, she finally decided to try it! Don Raffaele was a famous pizza maker. She asked him to make a special pizza for her.

So, Don Raffaele created three pizzas. But he designed one pizza especially for the Queen. He added three toppings to the pizza. The first topping was mozzarella cheese. Mozzarella cheese was made from the milk of a water buffalo – a kind of local cow. It is a white cheese. The next topping was red tomatoes. Finally, Don Raffaele added basil leaves. Basil is a green plant with a mild spicy taste. These three toppings were white, red and green – the colors of the Italian flag. He called this pizza the Margherita Pizza. The Queen was very happy — she loved the pizza! And the Margherita Pizza is still a very popular kind of pizza today!

margherita pizza
Image via Pixabay
Voice 2 

After this event, people no longer considered pizza a poor person’s food. Everyone, rich or poor, enjoyed this easy-to-eat, delicious food. As people began to travel more often, they began sharing the news about pizza.

Voice 1 

Today, people all over the world eat more than five billion pizzas every year. The recipe for pizza has changed over the years. Today people usually make pizza by putting sauce, a kind of thick liquid, over the crust. The most popular kind of sauce is made from tomatoes. Then cheese and toppings of all kinds go on top of the sauce. But pizza makers have tried to put almost any kind of food you can imagine on top of a pizza!

Voice 2 

People all over the world have helped to create the recipe for pizza. It is a food that combines different foods from different countries. And it is probably one of the oldest foods you can think of! But one of the best things about pizza is this: you can create your own special kind of pizza. You can put anything you like on it. You can mix different foods from different cultures and create something wonderful. Who would have expected that such an ancient and simple food would be popular today? Pizza is just one example of how great things can happen when cultures come together.

pizza on a cutting board
Image by Aline Ponce from Pixabay
Voice 1 

Do you enjoy pizza? What is the strangest topping you have ever had on a pizza? Tell us about your experiences. You can leave a comment on our website. Or email us at radio@radioenglish.net. You can also comment on Facebook at facebook.com/spotlightradio. Visit us on Youtube at youtube.com/spotlightenglish1.

Voice 2 

The writer of this program was Liz Waid. The producer was Michio Ozaki. The voices you heard were from the United States and the United Kingdom. All quotes were adapted and voiced by Spotlight. You can listen to this program again, and read it, on our website at www.radioenglish.net. This program is called “Pizza, the World’s Food”.

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Voice 1          

Visit our website to download our free official app for Android and Apple devices. We hope you can join us again for the next Spotlight program.

Question:

What is your favorite pizza topping? What is the strangest thing you have ever eaten on a pizza?

Watch Liz make pizza in this Spotlight Extra video
Join the discussion

97 comments
  • Hi team!
    My favourite pizza is a Margherita Pizza.
    There’s one joke about cooking of pizza. If our Mom cleans the fridge, then we’ll have pizza for dinner.

  • My favorite pizza is Bulgogi with marinated beef on the topping. Bulgogi is a famous food of Korea. It tates good.

  • I like normal pizza without cheese ، sometimes I eat just pizza with tomato sauce I don’t like additions very much

  • Dear Spotlight,
    I like pizza a lot but I have never made it by myself.
    I really want to say something to you but i do not know where should i write, so i will share in this topic.
    I would like to express my thankfulness to spotlight programmer because after listenning and shadowing your voice 3-4 time/week, l can not amaze my English ability can up much more like that.
    The last week i had 2 big guests in by job from Korean and I can use English fluently I feel confident to hear and communicate with them.
    I think i improve my English skill a lot thanks for your program so i would like express my thanks to you.
    Wish you have a good things always!
    From Lan Anh – Vietnamese.
    I think my

  • I love pizza. I’m Italian and I think this is the national dish!
    My favorite pizza is Margherita pizza with a lot of fresh cheese and basil.

  • I like pizza too. I like pizza with cheese and meat and some green plants.
    I have tried many times to do it myself, but I can’t make delicious bread for it.

  • I knew about the pride of the Neapolitans for their pizza but I learned everything else. The thing that surprised me most, however, was to see how the pizza with pepperoni, which is my favorite and which in my limited experience I believed to be absolutely minority, is instead enjoying some success among Spotlight friends.

  • My favorite pizza is called four cheese. It contains four kind of cheese and pears. I’m a vegetarian. I like all kind of pizza without meet and seafood.

    • Wow! I have never heard of a pizza with pears on it before! It sounds really interesting. Do you cook the pears first? Or do you cut up fresh pear to put on the pizza?

  • Pitzza it is my favorite food,i like him with two topping the first topping is beef and the next one is mazzarita cheesewow it’s very delicious.

  • I liked it’s the subject and I enjoy when I heard i again to listen more than 3 time , actually I don’t eat a lot pizza it’s not favorite food for me but i enjoy eat with my friends .

  • My favorite pizza is Ranch pizza. It is so delicious . The Ranch pizza has a ranch sous, small chicken ,of course pizza sous and some cheese on the topping.

  • mmm… I love the cheese of course and some of rocca

    I think the strangest thing i ate with pizza in pineapple It was so strange .

  • I make my pizza with the available components in my home, I don’t know what it’s name!
    often the ingredients are chees, tomato, chicken tender and salt.

  • My favorite toppings are beef, pork, and seafood like Shrimp. That’s the main topping that can make pizza delicious. In Korea, I ate a pizza with sweet potato topping and that’s the strange pizza I had eaten in my whole life.

  • My favorite pizza toppings are tomato, onion, olive, and a looooot of cheese. Mmm i think the most stranger thing I have ever seen is cucumber

  • I have never eaten pizza since it appeared. It looks delicious and I want to try this food once. I have heard my friends that they ate pizza in some restaurants. I hope I will try this food in the future with someone. Who knows?

  • My favorite kind of pizza is cheese with tomato sauce, vegetables, and beef.
    The strangest pizza I have eaten is pineapple pizza.

  • Hello Spotlight. Pizza it is one of my favorite food.Sometimes I prefer to cook it.I like to add triple kinds of cheeses to become stretchy.Also, the main ingredient of my recipe the tomato sauce I prefer to cooking rather than buying.Also sometimes I like to eat Pizza at Italian restaurant.

  • I tried made the pizza , it’s was delicious and all my family , my neighbours like it .
    I enjoyed with it.
    I like when I put on the top of the bread : sauce , bell pepper , Onions , mushrooms , olives and finally a lot of the cheese it was nice

  • I enjoy pizza, pizza is my love , pizza is my favorite food , I like pizza with toppings mushroom, tomatoes, peppers, cheese, ketchup, and olive , I like pizza hot because it is always give me favorite flavor. my wife prepares pizza with complete care where prepares sauce with vegetables and put cheese on top.

  • Hello!
    My name ist Ethel and I‘m Brazilian.
    I love pizza, but pizza with green peas ….? Doesn’‘t even exist here in. Brazil.

  • I love the nature pizza with a tomato and cheese and other topping i don’t try a lot of kind of pizza but i know the pizza is a have delicious in a different ways

  • I like eat pizza but not alwayes because it’s not very healthy.
    Amm when l wanna put some thing on pizza I will choose some thing healthy like tomato sauce, cheese, crumbled kapap, some spices and sweet sauce this is topping pizza favorite on me.

    I have never eaten anything weird on pizza before but I hared for the first time about a lot of thing that are put on pizza and that are strange to me.

  • my favorite pizza margarita amazing my cooking by self but tomatoes sauce more chees my favorite type three cow and finally but onion or any type of vegetable
    some time using meat like hot dog i loved spicy pizza

  • I was born and raised in the countryside so when I was a child, I didn’t know pizza. When I went to the university, I have lived in the city, at that time I knew pizza. The first time, I ate pizza, I ate pizza with seafood, fruit, and beef topping. It was delicious. after that, I ate pizza more. My favorite pizza topping is fruit, beef, and cheese. I have never eaten the strangest topping at this time. but I think if we combine the toppings perfectly, it will make a deliciuos pizza.

  • I like pizza so much , it is the beast food choices for friends gathering . I tried many kind of pizza top and my fab on is with chicken, the beast for me.
    I like home made pizza more than one that bought from restaurant.
    We cooked pizza every day in Ramadan ( fasting month)
    Big thank for Italians for this delicious meal.

  • I eat pizza once a month because it makes me gain weight. I like pizza with mozzarella cheese and tomato sauce. I never try the pizza with stranger topping but I’ve heard about it before. That’s pizza with shrimp paste (mam tom) – a fermented condiment widely used in Vietnam. It has a stinky smell and I think it just perfect when you eat shrimp paste with noodles and fried tofu. Pizza with topping Shrimp paste is so terrible.

  • I love pizza so much, I have eaten pizza many times, can not count the total times. It’s very delicious.
    I often eat pizza in the weekend with my family, my friends. Because I can not eat 1 big pizza by my self.
    Pizza have many flavor, beef, vegetable, sea, …. And I love beef pizza the most!
    I remember that I have try the pizza that it’s special, it includes both peach and seafood on the top of flat bread. The flavor of it is stranger, call Peach seafood pizza.

  • Pizza is my favorite food, my favorite pizza topping is cheese and seafood. the strangest thing i have ever eaten on a pizza is mushroom.

  • I used to despite this food until I got to enjoy salmon pizza. Its taste is really delicious. Now I understand why the whole world loves Pizza. Salmon Sashimi Pizza is the weirdest I’ve ever seen. I didn’t know this combination before but I think it’s a great combination. In my opinion, this food will be much better If eaten with a little spicy sauce. Let’s try this pizza with this special topping If you want to know how delicious it is.

  • Yes, I like pizza, because it’s a delicious fast food.
    My favorite pizza is with pepperoni and cheese and my disliked is with pineapple

  • I like a mexican pizza and the pepperoni white mushrooms. But i dislike a Hawaiian pizza because dont agree the taste the pineapple under the pizza

  • I LOVE PIZZA , MY FAVORITE PIZZA IS “THE MEXICAN” , I DONT LIKE THE HAWAIAN PIZZA BECAUSE I DON’T LIKE TO COMBINING FRUIT WITH FOOD

  • my favorite pizza is the mexican with extra cheese.
    The pizza I don’t like is hawuaina, because of the pineapple.
    I really like the piza for the great cheese flavor it has and its delicious touch of tomato.

  • My favorite pizza is “Pizza with Boneless”
    Pizza who I don’t like is “Hawaiian”
    I like pizza because all of the ingredients it have are delicious.

  • I like pizza because it is a very delicious and fast food. I can buy pizza all over the world.
    My favorite pizza is the Mexican one, and least favorite is Pizza Hawaiana. ☺

  • I like pizza because it has a lot of flavors and styles and I’m never finish to try all.
    My favorite pizza is rim pizza stuffed with cheese because with the chesse in the rim it’s more nice to it eat. I don´t like Hawaiian pizza because it has many flavors and I don’t like that.

  • I like pizza because it’s a delicious fast food, my favorite pizza is Traditional pizza and I disliked hawaian pizza

  • I like pizza because you can combine many rich ingredients in a single meal

    my favorite pizza is cold meat,
    because?
    I love meats

    the pizza I don’t like is pizza with pineapple, it is in bad taste to put pineapple on it

  • MY FAVORITE PIZZA IS PEPPERONI BECAUSE I LIKE THEM A LOT. I LIKE PIZZA BECAUSE IT IS A VERY COMMON FOOD. I DISLIKE HAWAIIAN PIZZA

  • I like pizza for its rich taste and smell.
    I have two favorite pizzas, extra cheese and the Hawaiana.
    The pizza I don’t like is the Mexican when it has beans

  • My favorite pizza topping is the extra cheese and pepperoni, the strangest thing that I have ever eaten on a pizza is the pineapple

  • my favorite pizza is the mexican style and the strangest ingredient in my pizza was pineapple, I hate pineapple on pizza

  • My favorite toppings are pepperoni, beef, green pepper, mushrooms and black olives.
    The strangest topping I have ever had on pizza was Machaca.

  • My favorite pizza is a pepperoni pizza with extra cheese, and the strangest thing i’ve ever eaten on a pizza is black olives

  • My favorite pizza topping is maybe the boneless pizza or pepperoni pizza. And the strangest thing that I have ever eaten on pizza is very basic but is with pineapple and beers.

  • my toppings favorites is ham and bacon with extra cheese , the strangest thing I’ve ever had on a pizza is cherry and I didn’t like it

  • My favorite topping on pizza is mushroom and black olive, and the stragest thing i have ever eaten on a pizza is shrimp.

  • I really like pizza, I can make my own pizza, the most important in pizza are the liquid cheese, chicken and tomato. It’s so delicious when I make it like this.

  • My favorite pizza topping is a variety of things that I put together, such as tomatoes, cow meats, cheese, and many other foods of various types. I’m not sure how popular pizza is across the world, but I’ve only had one in the last year and it was very delicious.

  • I really like to eat pizza. I like the fat, spicy taste of pizza. They help me fell relax. But pizza has a lot of calories. If i eat a lot, i will get fat.

  • I like a classic pizza , cheese , tomatoes and basil leaves , I think it has wonderful taste , it’s made especially for a Queen.
    I like the Italian pizza , and I hate the meddle East’s pizza , they put on top a lot of things , the make a combination of many things , this make it traffic food

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