The Battle of Pizzas: Embracing Regional Variations in Traditional Dishes

When it comes to pizza, the debate over authenticity can get as heated as a wood-fired oven. Italians, proud of their culinary heritage, often dismiss American versions of pizza as inauthentic. However, this perspective overlooks the beauty of regional variations in traditional dishes. Just as languages evolve and dialects emerge, so too does food adapt and change as it travels across borders and cultures. The battle of pizzas is not about authenticity, but about embracing the diversity and creativity that comes from regional adaptations.

The Italian Perspective

For Italians, pizza is more than just a dish; it’s a symbol of their culture and history. The traditional Neapolitan pizza, with its thin, soft, and chewy crust, simple toppings of tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, and olive oil, is a testament to the Italian philosophy of using high-quality, fresh ingredients. The Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana even has specific rules about what constitutes a “real” Neapolitan pizza, from the type of flour and tomatoes used to the cooking method.

The American Take

When pizza crossed the Atlantic to America, it evolved to suit local tastes and ingredients. The result is a wide variety of styles, from the thin, crispy New York slice, to the deep-dish Chicago pizza, loaded with cheese and chunky tomato sauce. These variations may not adhere to the traditional Italian recipe, but they are a reflection of America’s melting pot culture and innovative spirit.

Embracing Regional Variations

Instead of arguing over what constitutes a “real” pizza, we should celebrate the diversity of pizza styles around the world. Each variation tells a story about the place and people who created it. The deep-dish pizza, for example, is a testament to the hearty appetites of Chicago’s working class in the 1940s. The California-style pizza, with its unusual toppings like smoked salmon and goat cheese, reflects the state’s emphasis on fresh, local ingredients and culinary experimentation.


At the end of the day, whether you prefer a traditional Neapolitan pizza or a loaded American slice, it’s all about personal taste. The beauty of food lies in its ability to evolve and adapt, reflecting the tastes, resources, and creativity of people around the world. So, let’s put aside the pizza wars and instead, celebrate the delicious diversity of this beloved dish.


What is the difference between Italian and American pizza?

Italian pizza is typically thin and soft with minimal toppings, while American pizza comes in a variety of styles, from thin and crispy to thick and cheesy.

Why do Italians think American pizza is not real pizza?

It’s mainly because American pizza often deviates from the traditional Italian recipe. However, this perspective overlooks the creativity and diversity of regional adaptations.

The thin, crispy New York slice is probably the most iconic, but other styles like the deep-dish Chicago pizza are also popular.