The latest Google Doodle game tasks you with slicing pizza to suit the requests of a picky group of pie eaters while encouraging a look into the dish’s history and varieties.

History of pizza

You may be surprised to learn that humans have been eating pizza or something resembling it all the way back into ancient history, making it hard to determine when it was first created. The dish most likely has its roots in flatbreads like focaccia and matzah, which would often have toppings like cheeses, meats, and vegetables added to it, just like the pizzas we enjoy today.

The earliest known historical reference to a dish called “pizza” is from the year 997, in Italy. When thinking about pizza, one often thinks about the combination of the flatbread/crust, a layer of toppings, and crucially an amount of tomato sauce in between. However, the earliest “pizzas” didn’t have tomato sauce, as tomatoes originated in the Americas and weren’t introduced to Europe until the 16th century.

At the time, tomatoes were even believed to be poisonous and were instead only grown for their aesthetic beauty. Ultimately, this belief was corrected, and by the 18th century tomatoes were commonly cooked and eaten. At the time, in Naples, Italy, residents of poorer areas began putting tomatoes on their flatbreads, creating the pizza we know today.

As you might have guessed, this new pizza of Naples became renowned, with tourists going out of their way to visit poorer neighborhoods to try the dish. According to historical documents, by 1807, there were 54 different pizzerias in Naples.

One of the most traditional varieties of pizza still enjoyed today is the margherita pizza. While the true history of the style is uncertain, it’s said that in 1889 baker Raffaele Esposito had the honor of creating three pizzas for Italy’s King Umberto I and Queen Margherita of Savoy.

So the story goes, the queen selected her favorite pizza as one that best represented the colors of Italy’s flag, green from the basil leaves, white from the mozzarella, and red from the tomato sauce. Esposito and his pizzeria declared this combination the margherita pizza in the queen’s honor. Esposito’s pizzeria, which was called “Pietro… e basta così” at the time, is still open to this day with the new name “Pizzeria Brandi.”

As for why Google decided to take today to celebrate pizza as a time-honored favorite, on December 6, 2007, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) inscribed the traditional dish of “pizzaiuolo” into the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

Pizza Google Doodle game

Today’s Google Doodle, in honor of the rich history of pizza, asks you to be the designated pizza slicer. At first, you simply need to find ways to cut each pizza into the correct number of slices, then things get more complex as you’re asked to create specific numbers of slices that only have certain ingredients.

There are 11 levels in total. Speaking from experience, the final two levels are extremely difficult to get 100% on, as their designs are (purposefully) hard to decipher and divide into the correct mixtures of toppings.

  • Margherita Pizza
  • Pepperoni Pizza
  • White Pizza
  • Calabresa Pizza
  • Muzzarella Pizza
  • Hawaiian Pizza
  • Magyaros Pizza
  • Teriyaki Mayonnaise Pizza
  • Tom Yum Pizza
  • Paneer Tikka Pizza
  • Dessert Pizza

Should you ever feel a hunger to slice up pizzas again after today, the game will continue to be available to play over on the Google Doodle blog. There, you can also find alternate designs and drafts for the history of pizza Doodle.

How many stars were you able to score? And more importantly, how many of these pizzas have you tried for yourself? Let us know down in the comments!

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About the Author

Kyle Bradshaw

Kyle is an author and researcher for 9to5Google, with special interests in Made by Google products, Fuchsia, and Stadia.

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