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Wednesday, February 01, 2006 

MVPizza: What's your game-day fave?

Super Bowl Sunday is the big pie's time to shine, and Gruyère, artichoke hearts, even Spam are ready to play

By DAI HUYNH Houston Chronicle

Pizza in one hand, remote control in the other and eyes glued to the quarterback on television. Sound familiar?

More pizzas are sold on Super Bowl Sunday than any other day.

Some good background in this article on the history of pizza, and how it has evolved down through the decades and centuries.

Americans have been eating pizza since the first U.S. pizzeria, Lombardi's, opened in 1905 in New York. And if longevity is a testament to popularity, then know that Lombardi's is still making pizza on Spring Street in Manhattan.

But the history of pizza goes back much further, and not to the Italians but to Greek traders in Naples.

"They made a bread in the oven called the pita, which in Neapolitan dialect became pizza," Dolce Vita Pizzeria Enoteca chef-owner Marco Wiles said.

"The first pizza was simple -- drizzle with oil and top with garlic," Wiles said.

Tomatoes didn't leap atop pizzas until the mid-1700s. Originating in South America, they first were introduced to the English, then to the Italians by Catholic priests. This member of the nightshade family catapulted the poor man's pie onto the tables of wealthy Neapolitans. The popular pizza marinara was topped with chopped fresh tomatoes, garlic, oregano, olive oil and buffalo-milk mozzarella cheese.

I love pizza, but I'm making chili for the Super Bowl...