Italians Hated Pizza for Centuries—Tourism Changed Everything – Karima Moyer-Nocchi

Sometime around the 12th century BCE, Troy fell to the Greeks. As the Roman poet Virgil recounts the story, the mythical hero Aeneas then fled his ravaged city aboard an uncooperative ship with a motley crew. The son of a goddess and a prince, he carried the ancestral burden of begetting a lineage of rulers in a foreign land. After many days at sea, Aeneas and his band disembarked on the shores of Latium (where many generations later, Rome would be founded). Exhausted and famished, they hastily prepared a meal. So hungry, the crew even ate their plates.

Admittedly, these plates would have been like trenchers, sturdy supports made of baked dough. When dry, they still posed a substantial dental challenge—akin to those ornaments made out of salt dough. In theory, they were edible, but eating your dishware was still considered uncouth. Aeneas looked on incredulously, as his men voraciously gnawed on their plates, like dogs with a rawhide bone, when suddenly he remembered the prophecy his father had foretold: When you find yourself in a foreign land and are so driven by hunger that you eat your own plates, that is when you can hope for home. They had found the “Promised Land.”

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