My little brother has always had a passion for meat: steaks, sausages, beef jerky, KFC buckets of fried chicken, meat lovers pizza from Domino’s and pepperoni sticks. I have an old memory of him sitting in front of the TV watching cartoons, impatiently ripping the plastic wrap off one of those sticks. He would eat it with enough gusto to convince me to eat one too.
Fast forward to 2008: my Italian boyfriend lands in New York, New York for the first time. He’s one of the most open-minded and curious Italians you will ever meet so much so that he is even willing to risk his taste buds and buy a slice of American pizza. He sees a VERY interesting choice of pizza that he had never encountered in Italy before. Pepperoni pizza! It’s spelled wrong but he figures it could be promising! “One order of ‘pepperoni’ pizza, please!”
One look at the pizza and my Italian boyfriend is confused and disappointed. This isn’t peperone…che diavolo è????? (what the hell is this?)
So what is “pepperoni” and why was my understanding of it different from my Italian boyfriend’s understanding?
- The word “pepperoni” doesn’t exist in the Italian language.
- “Peperone” = bell pepper
- “Peperoni” = bell peppers
So you can imagine my boyfriend’s confusion when he saw a pizza with pieces of American salami on it.
Check out my infographic on how this misunderstanding came about:
I know what you’re thinking: “but who came up with the idea to name the American salami, “pepperoni”? No one really knows. I have a theory though: Originally, it seems that American salami was intended to be a little spicy and the word MAY have derived from the Italian word for hot pepper: peperoncino. Do you know the answer?
Pepperoni pizza image: http://freefoodphotos.com