Sunday, April 08, 2007

The pizza-orgie is on!

Okay, here is the test plan for the frozen pizza bake-off:

  1. All pizzas shall be purchased at the local supermarket, in order to insure that this penguin has not been subverted by the frozen pizza conspiracy
  2. Each pizza shall be a pepperoni pizza, with the exception of the California Pizza Kitchen frozen pizza (they do not offer a pepperoni). Pizzas shall be enhanced slightly with some crushed red peppers but not to the extent that it interferes with ability to taste the ingredients.
  3. For comparison purposes, two ringers shall be brought in: A Little Caesars $5 pizza, and a Premier Pizza gourmet pizza.
  4. For comparison purposes, a "home-made" pizza will be created based upon a pizza "kit" provided by a notorious "Italian" chef
  5. All pizzas shall be prepared according to the directions upon the carton. If the directions give a choice between baking it on the rack and baking it on a cookie sheet or pizza pan, the pizza shall be baked directly upon the rack.
  6. Pizza shall be tested in two modes: 1) Hot out of the oven, and 2) cold for lunch the next day.
The following criteria will be used to judge each pizza:
  1. Crust: Thick-crust pizzas should have a crust that tastes like a fine loaf of Italian bread. It should be relatively light and firm, not soggy or heavy, i.e. throwing flour at the problem is not allowed to make up for lack of adequate rising time. Medium-crust pizzas are allowed to have a denser crust but it still must taste like a flatbread, not like the crust of an apple pie. Thin-crust pizzas should have a crust that is firm, not soggy, and somewhat crisp and are allowed to have a sharper taste to compensate for the lack of volume. In no case shall a pizza with a crust redolent of lard or vegetable oils receive a passing grade. This is pizza, not peach cobbler.
  2. Sauce: The amount of sauce must be appropriate for the amount of crust and other toppings. The sauce should have a firm distinct taste with spices rather than taste like watered-down tomato sauce, but should not be so sharp as to overpower the flavors of the rest of the ingredients.
  3. Cheese: The cheese should be a mild mozzarella that provides a stable base of flavor beneath the flavors of the other ingredients, rather than stepping out in front and overpowering everything. The amount of cheese provided should provide ample coverage for the entire pizza, but not to the extent that it is allowed to overpower any other ingredient.
  4. Pepperoni: Pepperoni is of course the main reason for a pepperoni pizza. There should be ample sliced pepperoni to cover a significant percentage of the surface of the pizza. Diced pepperoni is allowed only to fill in between the sliced pepperoni, not in place of sliced pepperoni. Pepperoni must be geniuine pepperoni i.e. an Italian sausage, not a "pepperoni-like food product" that is "enhanced" with fillers. It should be nicely spicy and a bit greasy.

The first pizza is in the oven. Let the bake-off begin!

- Badtux the Soon-to-be-more-rotund Penguin

Note: click on the 'pizza' link below for the latest results!

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