I’m sitting in the Starbucks at Third and La Brea. My leg taps nervously. I don’t know what the shady point person I’m meeting will look like — just that she’ll arrive soon. It’s daylight, and I’m surrounded by happy people. People who are working, sipping coffee, living their lives. And here I am, waiting for a hot cheese infusion.
It’s a reflection on me and how far I’ve fallen. I don’t even care. All I can think about is the imminent delivery; the two DiGiorno pizzas I’ve been promised in exchange for a fair and honest review.
How did I get here? In our culture, pizza is widely accepted as a celebratory food. It would seem strange to not have it at every kids’ birthday party, every family get together. A New York slice, a Chicago pie. It’s loosens up a room. Brings a smile to the face. So growing up I thought it was normal to polish off an extra-large double meat pie on a Friday night. It’s what my parents did, what my friend’s parents did. Everyone was doing it.
I was young the first time I had a slice. I don’t even remember it. That’s how normal it was. My first didn’t even leave an impression. But I know it was at home. With my Mom and Dad making sure I didn’t choke or pass out.
“If she’s going to eat pizza,” my parents always said, “she might as well eat it here, where we can supervise.”
In college it got worse. I would go to class, eating pizza on the way. I’d get a pepperoni fix sometimes two…three times a day. Sometimes I ate pizza at 2am. Sometimes I ate it cold. Sometimes I ate it even after it had been sitting out on the counter all night long, unrefrigerated. Quality didn’t matter. Sure, Whole Foods slices made me feel classy, but I would just as easily eat pizza in an alley behind a bar, off a paper plate.
Which brings me to last week, sitting in a Starbucks, pregnant, and waiting for a DiGiorno representative. Now, before the mommy bloggers tear me apart for being a pregnant addict, know that I get it, and I’m ashamed. I’ve read the articles saying to lay off the pizza, to eat mostly fruits and vegetables. But, if anything, the stress of pregnancy have only led me to increase my cravings, to want more and more.
The drop was to be made by a woman named Allison. Funny right? I could write a whole paper on the irony of someone with my exact name supplying me with my destruction. I could blame my parents, other pizza-eating kids who pressured me, even Pizza Hut’s “Book It” program, but at the end of the day it was Allison making me eat more pizza. Maybe I just needed to look in the mirror.
The other Allison arrived — looking more normal than I expected — and quickly swept me outside, where no one could hear us. Away from the prying eyes of moms with babies, and straight-laced business folks grabbing a coffee on a break, she told me about the product. The truth is that I can barely listen to her with all that pizza near me. I wanted to eat it right there. Shovel it in until I passed out, a smile on my face, the words “it’s not delivery” slipping from my lips. But there are formalities, even when it comes to an illicit pizza hand-off, and I was grateful that she didn’t request we go back to my house, pre-heat the oven, pretend we’re friends, and then share a slice together.
This pizza? It’s all for me.
I rushed back to my house, relieved to find that my husband wasn’t home yet. He didn’t need to see this. He eats pizza too, so he can’t really tell me to stop. But I know from the veggies he keeps cooking me “for the baby” that he wouldn’t approve. Who would?
When my DiGiorno pizza binge was over, I decided to rank the best frozen pizza products on the market. I know them all well. Really well. Uncomfortably well. AND I HAVE OPINIONS. With all of these I went with the pepperoni option unless (like in the case of Amy’s) there was no pepperoni option.
My rating scale is “how many scalding hot bites you would take (deadening all of your tastebuds) before letting it cool.” Because, let’s face it. Frozen pizza could be used as a torture device in an offshore prison to get people to talk. It ALWAYS burns the roof of your mouth no matter how long you wait, and you can still never wait. Especially if it’s any good.
These are the best and worst frozen pizza experiences you can have, power ranked.