Wednesday, 28 April 2021

The Inventions of Pizza

I

Pizza is not popular in China, and imported Western pizza chains have met with indifferent success. This is despite the fact that pizza was first invented there, more than two thousand years ago, during the Qin dynasty. It was eaten by all classes of society, high and low, and every village would have its own communal pizza oven and characteristic recipes.

But one day, at a great state banquet, one of the guests suddenly picked up his pizza and flung it, frisbee style, at the Emperor. The circular blade concealed inside by a treasonous cook decapitated him.

Pizzas were henceforth banned throughout the Middle Kingdom, pizza ovens and recipes were destroyed, and the very word was expunged from the language.


II

Once upon a time there was a baker. His genius was not content to bake the same loaves every day, and he experimented with every conceivable method of baking bread, and baking every foodstuff into it: aubergine bread, sardine bread, pistachio marzipan bread.

Once, he had a surplus of unsold bread, that would go stale. He broke it up and baked it into a new batch, creating the renowned “pane del pane”, or “bread bread”.

His greatest invention was to bake a layer of cheese onto a flatbread, and embed therein a variety of vegetables and meat. A fad for this novelty swept through his city, which thereafter gave its name to the dish: Pisa.


Shorter versions of these stories first appeared on Laurence Simon’s 100 Word Story Weekly Challenge.

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