By Mita Chaturvedi, Deputy Editor
Do you like pizza? Chances are- you probably love eating pizza. Well, here’s a question for you then: Where do you think pizza originated? And where do you think the modern day pizza toppings we all love originated? If you’re thinking of Italy- you’ve got half an answer wrong.
The pizza we love so much today would just not be the same without our favourite toppings, but did you know that pizza toppings are actually an Italian-American creation? Modern day pizza toppings were actually developed among Italian immigrants in the United States, where the original pizza (in its simpler state) was initially looked down upon. This new Americanised pizza was then exported back to Italy to be interpreted as an Italian delicacy. Much later, as American tourists sought after authentic Italian pizzas and this demand was met with the introduction of original brick-oven pizzerias in the United States.
This phenomenon we’re looking at above is now known as The Pizza Effect. The Pizza Effect essentially describes the tendency for cultures to influence one another in a loop. The Pizza Effect has had an impact on virtually every aspect of culture, including films, language, traditions, cuisine, and art . Another popular example of this effect is of Salsa Dancing, which despite contrary belief that it was invented in Latin America, was actually invented by Puerto Ricans in New York City.
The Name’s Effect, Pizza Effect
Another brilliant example of the Pizza Effect is of the 2015 007 movie Spectre. One of the film’s many famous scenes was the opening scene where James Bond is shown strolling through a Dia de los muertos or Day of the Dead parade in Mexico City (before changing into a suit and carrying on with his work).
The Day of the Dead is an important holiday in Mexico, celebrated throughout the country, where friends and family come together to remember those they have lost. While being a significant holiday in the country, it had never actually been celebrated with a parade (unlike what the film displayed). However, inspired by the film, Mexican officials decided to host a similar parade that year. The parade was attended by roughly 250,000 people.
Human development has been an amalgam of various different cultures. Various languages have words of similar meanings and are derived from similar roots. This influence that different cultures have on one another has, at times, taken a derogatory turn, and taken the form of another (in)famous phenomenon- cultural appropriation. Such examples include the terrible incidences of Caucasian Americans wearing Native American war bonnets as fashion statements, or cultures making fun of or belittling other cultures. Such incidences belittle and insult communities and tend to make them feel isolated from their now inappropriately adapted cultures.
It is thus important that we ensure to bring in cultural influence without traces of mockery or insensitivity. When done with respect and purely for the sake of inspiration, cultural influences can lead to exemplary creations- like pizza.