There are not many things I like better than a hot, steaming pizza from my favorite neighborhood pizzeria, but there are nights when it’s easier to pop a frozen pizza into the oven at home. And on those nights, I thank Joseph Bucci, the unsung hero in pizza history. In 1954, Bucci was awarded a patent for “Method of Making Frozen Pizza.”
That might not seem like a big deal, but it was back then. Frozen foods were all the rage at the time. TV dinners were especially hot because TVs were becoming standard in American homes and families enjoyed gathering around it while they ate. Pizza would’ve been perfect for those watch parties except no one had been able to figure a freezing method that worked. There was a problem with the toppings soaking into the crust and making it soggy.
Bucci’s solution was to precook the dough with tomato sauce on it, flash freeze that, then add the cheese and toppings and freeze again. During baking, the sauce sealed the crust, so it stayed crusty. Seems like a simple solution, but it was a major break-through that paved the way for a five-billion-dollar-a-year industry.
Thanks, Joseph Bucci. I raise a slice in your honor.
More fun food history for kids coming April 6, 2021