Don’t Eat Nostalgically
Today, with my wife out of town, I made a poor decision. Wandering around the grocery store, I cruised past the frozen pizza and an item from my childhood leapt out at me from the freezer case, french bread pizza. For those who grew up deprived of this culinary masterpiece it is exactly what it sounds like, sauce, cheese, and toppings on a half baguette. French bread pizza was something rare growing up, a treat usually reserved for when my parents were going out. So, standing there, looking at a slew of crappy pizza, the pizza from my childhood lured me in with a combination of nostalgia and curiosity. Let’s be clear, I knew buying a french bread pizza was probably a poor decision, but what if they were actually as good as I remember?
The Brand: The local Safeway had two french bread pizza options, Stouffer’s and Red Baron. Stouffer’s has no other pizza options, so I went with the Red Baron, figuring the pizza pedigree was more important than the frozen foods pedigree.
Signs of Trouble:
The first sign of trouble was the packaging, no food stuff should be this space age looking. This looks like something that should go into a Back to the Future II food rehydrator, not my oven. I don’t know which item is more appetizing the weird white on blue polka-dots on the numbers stamped across the plastic wrapping. This cardboard tray brings us to the second sign of trouble.
IT HAS MICROWAVE DIRECTIONS!! I’m no pizza purist but nothing good has ever come from putting a pizza into a microwave. Rest assured I cooked my french bread pizza in the over, but it can’t say anything good about it that it was deigned to be microwavable.
The final sign of trouble was the disturbing similarity in appearance between the cooked and uncooked versions of the pizza.
Look at these pictures, besides the melting of ice crystals, has any transformation taken place while these cooked?
The Taste: I had low expectations for my french bread pizza and they were largely met. The rubbery cheese and the cheap pepperoni and sausage were inoffensive in that the had basically no flavor what so ever. The sauce on the other hand really brings things down, it has an odd, slightly bitter taste that doesn’t resemble anything close to tomatoes or the usual Italian spices. The real standout here was the crust. It turns out that Red Baron can make a pretty damn good french bread pizza crust. It was pleasantly crispy on the outside and warm and soft and chewy in the center and even had good flavor. In the end the french bread pizza wasn’t nearly as bad as I feared but neither did it have remotely enough flavor to justify ever buying one again.
Did I Eat the Whole Thing Anyway? Yes I did.