Green Room

Video: Shortage of pizza makers in … Italy?

posted at 10:48 am on May 11, 2013 by

This is a curious story, and not just for the obvious irony:

Italy has a massive unemployment problem. So why do they need immigrants to flood into the country in order to meet the pizza demand? Is this “a job Italians won’t do,” or is it a sign of perverse incentives that make being unemployed more attractive than working in a pizzeria? Is it because it costs too much to hire, for tax and regulatory reasons? I’m genuinely puzzled, and not just because my first job was working in a pizza shop.  It’s not that awful to make pizzas.

By the way, I agree with the American tourists interviewed in the spot.  With only a couple of exceptions, the pizza in Italy (or Rome, at least) is superior to most of what one finds in the US.

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Pizza may well be superior in Italy, but in it’s present form it is most assuredly an American invention.

A crude version of flat bread baked with some cheese and herbs was known as far back as Republican Rome, but it took Americans to make it as a crust with a rim, cover with tomato sauce, and add pieces of mozzarella.

Most of the common pizza I found in Naples (the armpit of Italy due to it’s smell and lack of even 2nd world sanitation systems) was some form of thin bread with a rim, holding melted butter, olive oil and garlic. Occasionally a bit of cheese was added if you asked nicely and appeared to have money.

The “rise” of any decent pizza in Italy has it’s base in the increase in American tourists following the American occupation after WWII.

TKindred on May 11, 2013 at 11:00 AM

Wow. I’m hungry.

ExpressoBold on May 11, 2013 at 11:52 AM

With only a couple of exceptions, the pizza in Italy (or Rome, at least) is superior to most of what one finds in the US.

Fightin words, ED, fightin words…

abobo on May 11, 2013 at 1:00 PM

My 17 yr old son makes pizzas at Little Caesar’s.

itsnotaboutme on May 11, 2013 at 2:35 PM

I love pizza. Love Italian food in general. I’ve been to Italy several times. Never had a pizza there that wasn’t great. In fact, I never had any food there that wasn’t great. I’m fairly certain I’d walk out though if I saw that an Egyptian was making it (unless he was wearing a cross to indicate that he was a Copt). I do that here in the US too. I make no apologies for it. I won’t buy food that I know is prepared by a Muslim.

Meanwhile, here in the metro area where I live, I can’t find a decent pizza to save my life. Of course, I usually stick to delivery. I don’t go out to eat that much, so maybe that’s not a fair comparison. I never had a pizza delivered in Italy.

WhatSlushfund on May 11, 2013 at 2:35 PM

Wow, that plain cheese pizza looks marvelous. I want it.

The Rogue Tomato on May 11, 2013 at 4:47 PM

Well, they sure as hell didn’t go to Chicago.

Bring it.

CurtZHP on May 11, 2013 at 6:11 PM

With only a couple of exceptions, the pizza in Italy (or Rome, at least) is superior to most of what one finds in the US.

I never found an edible pizza–let alone a superior one–anywhere in Europe.

ElectricPhase on May 11, 2013 at 7:49 PM

Pizza may well be superior in Italy, but in it’s present form it is most assuredly an American invention.

A crude version of flat bread baked with some cheese and herbs was known as far back as Republican Rome, but it took Americans to make it as a crust with a rim, cover with tomato sauce, and add pieces of mozzarella.

TKindred on May 11, 2013 at 11:00 AM

Tomatoes were discovered in the New World so the original Italian pizza could not have had tomato sauce if they’d wanted it.

I do that here in the US too. I make no apologies for it. I won’t buy food that I know is prepared by a Muslim.

WhatSlushfund on May 11, 2013 at 2:35 PM

Order pepperoni, sausage, or Canadian bacon. No Muslim would be caught dead handling pork. As for your inability to find good pizza, you should give let us know what metro area you live in. Perhaps we could provide some suggestions.

Odysseus on May 11, 2013 at 9:20 PM


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