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.

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

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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!

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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?

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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.

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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

31 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.

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