Some of the most nostalgic (and delicious) memories of childhood come straight from grandma’s kitchen. The hustle and bustle of grandkids running around and craving their next meal borne the concept of Grandma Pizza, or Grandma Pie. Although the exact origins can’t be pinpointed back to that first oven bake, the Lloyd Pans Food Solution Team did some digging on where Grandma Pizza might have came from — and made some predictions on where it’s rising next.
Grandma Pizza is a concept innovated from inside the Italian home, but it isn’t quite a household name in the United States — yet. Origin stories vary, mainly because after Italian grandmothers who had immigrated to America started to create the pie and bring it across the Atlantic, it was a thinly veiled secret not sold in commercial restaurant atmospheres. In general, Grandma Pizza was held sacred and made for the staff, i.e. the family, to enjoy after hours — not paying customers.
However, in a nod to Italian-American Week, Food Republic’s account says that the North American version of the Grandma originated on Long Island somewhere in the 1970s. Traces show that New Hyde Park-based Umberto’s may have been the first to sell it stateside. As for the spread of popularity, Grandma didn’t start showing up on other menus until about 10 to 15 years ago. Then, in 2012 Umberto’s owner flew the Grandma Pizza to Indianapolis for the New York Giants to enjoy before the Super Bowl — a true sign of the advantage of pop culture’s window of opportunity.
Just like stories of who made it first, the exact nature of Grandma Pizza also varies. However, there are common themes. Generally, the traditional Grandma Pizza consists of thin, soft, crisp crust, and it’s a square- or rectangle-shaped concoction, not round. It’s cooked in an olive oil-coated pan and covered in a thin layer of mozzarella cheese and uncooked canned or fresh tomatoes. However, layering of cheese and sauce can alternate with Grandma Pizza. Some pizza makers slather on the sauce first, others lay down the cheese and top with sauce. While Sicilian pizza also features these qualities, Bon Appetit notes that the dough in Sicilian-style pizza “is left to rise a little between the time that it’s stretched on the pan and put in the oven.”. And, Grandmothers didn’t have time to wait. They stretched and pressed the dough, quickly added the ingredients and put the pizza directly into the oven.
Huffpost.com says because of the origins of the pizza, it’s developed a sort of “cult” following. We’ve noticed it’s growing popularity thanks to the New York eateries who have opened up their kitchens to the idea of selling them to the masses: New York City’s Motorino and GG’s and Brooklyn’s Roberta’s and Il Porto to name a few.
Perhaps one of the simpler pizzas to create (after all, the pizza was created in a home baking atmosphere), Grandma Pizza needs no fancy pizza stone or huge brick oven, just a great recipe. Some of our favorites include ones from Bon Appetit, King Arthur Flour, Epicurious and Pizza Today.
Nothing is made with love more than something made by Grandma! We’ve duplicated our love for this pizza with Grandma Pizza pans that Italian-American grandmothers would be proud of. They are metal utensil safe and feature our stick-resistant Pre-Seasoned Tuff-Kote® (PSTK) toxin-free finish.