Results 1 to 15 of 15

Thread: Frozen pizza: six brands, head to head

  1. #1
    Elite Member celeb_2006's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    13,468

    Default Frozen pizza: six brands, head to head

    Frozen Pizza: Six Brands, Head to Head - Slice America on Yahoo! Food

    Curious about frozen pizza, my Serious Eats colleague Ed Levine tried out six kinds of frozen pies that can be found across the country. Here are the results. -Adam
    I've always had a thing for frozen pizza. As a kid, I devoured box after box of Pizza Fours, individual snack-sized pies that unsurprisingly came four to a box. By the time I got to college, I had kicked the frozen pizza habit, mostly because we could buy pizza pretty late into the evening at Pagliai's and Ahrvano's. It wasn't the greatest pizza in the world, but I was in Grinnell, Iowa. I needed sustenance, and it was cheap and filling.
    Frozen pizza has come a long way since my Pizza Four days. In fact, according to a May 2004 article in the New York Times, "In strictly frozen-pizza terms, the year 1995 was every bit as momentous as 1066 or 1492. Before that date, frozen pizza was a gourmand's worst nightmare: overly chewy crusts topped with bland sauce, rubbery cheese, and meat specks tougher than jerky." In 1995, Kraft Foods came out with the first DiGiorno Pizza, featuring a rising crust.
    According to Brendan I. Koerner in the aforementioned article, rising crust was a "food technology coup. Kraft's researchers were inspired in large part by three patents taken out in 1983 by General Foods of White Plains, which combined with Kraft in 1989. The patents covered the preparation and safe storage of frozen, yeast-leavened dough, a complex process involving the meticulous addition of hydrophilic colloids for stability and surfactants to 'facilitate flour hydration and initial dough development.' Kraft also developed modified atmospheric packaging, which keeps the pies bathed in inert gas rather than oxygen, which erodes the dough."
    My son, Will, has introduced me to DiGiorno Rising Crust Pizzas (and their fierce competitor, Freschetta, which introduced a similar product a year later, in 1996) and while they are marginally better than the Pizza Fours of my youth, they are not as good as the slices I can get from any of a dozen pizzerias within three blocks of my Manhattan apartment. But, as someone who works at Freschetta told me, New York is the single worst frozen-pizza market in the country, because of the number of high-quality independently owned pizza shops in Gotham.
    In 2004, Schwan's, which was sued by Kraft for allegedly obtaining vital pizza secrets by hiring a former Kraft contractor (the suit was settled in 2001), upped the ante in the frozen pizza category with the introduction of a line of "Brick Oven" pizzas made with a "fire-baked crust." DiGiorno has responded with "Thin Crispy Crust" pizza. It seems to me that both companies are hoping these pies will satisfy customers looking for a crisp-crusted, New York-style slice anywhere in the country.
    In addition to these two new entries from the industry leaders, other companies are also coming out with upscale, gourmet pizza, some of which are made with supposedly more healthful ingredients. To sort out this Darwinian struggle for frozen pizza supremacy, I enlisted the aid of my friend and colleague Jeffrey Steingarten, Vogue magazine's food critic and the most relentlessly curious food person I know. Jeff and I (along with his assistants at the time, Jeanne Koenig and Elizabeth Alsop) endeavored to taste six brands of frozen pizza in his loft, which is filled, floor to ceiling, with every foodstuff, cooking gadget, and food book and periodical imaginable. Steingarten has a decidedly scientific bent when it comes to food, so I figured I could arouse his curiosity by alerting him to all the new technology going into frozen pizzas.
    I arrived one beautiful late spring day, laden with six kinds of frozen pizza. Jeffrey was ravenously hungry (as usual) but was not looking forward to our lunch. "Ed," he said, "perhaps -- and I'm only speculating here -- if I was in a spaceship on the way to Mars, and the only food at my disposal was a frozen pizza floating tantalizingly close to my nose, I might -- just might -- eat one or two of them."
    Elizabeth had preheated the oven and a pizza stone, so we immediately popped in the DiGiorno Thin Crispy Crust Four Cheese Pizza. When Elizabeth took it out of the oven, the crust was golden brown and the cheese was molten. Elizabeth cut the rectangular pizza into little pieces with scissors, which turns out to be the best way to cut a pizza. I was hungry and immediately took a bite of my piece. Big mistake. Not only did I get pizza burn on the roof of my mouth but I was also immediately admonished by Steingarten. "Ed, surely you must know it's far more accurate to taste things when they're closer to body temperature." I waited a minute, then took another bite. The crust was crisp, all right, but it didn't have much flavor. It was salty. It tasted like bad crackers.
    Freschetta's 5 Italian Cheese Brick Oven Pizza was next. I liked the fact that there were discrete areas of sauce and cheese, and the crust was again crisp but completely lacking in flavor. Elizabeth said it tasted like Pizza Goldfish. She was right, but I kind of like Pizza Goldfish.
    American Flatbread's Organic Tomato Sauce and Three Cheese Pizza, made in a stone-and-clay oven fired with wood in Waitsfield, Vermont, actually had a pliant and chewy crust that tasted good on its own, even though it was made with whole wheat. Its crust had hole structure the way a good crust should. The only slightly strange aspect of this pizza was its sweet smell. "It smells like French toast," Jeanne said. Sure enough, when we looked on the box for ingredients, there it was, pretty high up on the ingredient list: pure Vermont maple syrup.
    Whole Foods Market's 365 Four Cheese was pretty awful. It was thick and unappetizing with a cheesy sludge on top. Jeanne said, "Even when really drunk I don't think I could eat this."
    Amy's Cheese Pizza, made with organic tomatoes and flour, had a crisp crust and a vaguely sweet aftertaste, perhaps from the honey listed in the ingredients.
    California Pizza Kitchen's Five Cheese & Tomato Pizza claimed it had a fresh-baked restaurant taste. The crust puffed up like a proud father's chest at his daughter's wedding, and the whole thing was quite tasty in a bad-food way. Elizabeth put her finger on it: "It tastes like cheese sticks or that cheesy bread you get at chain pizzerias." Jeffrey also liked the CPK pizza, which had chunks of tomato rather than tomato sauce, but he didn't understand Elizabeth's cheesy bread analogy, never having eaten at a pizza chain in his life. He said, "This isn't bad, but there's something about the cheese I don't like. It tastes like unripe cheese, which could mean something is wrong with the whey solids." Once again, Steingarten had me scrambling for old chemistry textbooks. But there they were, on the list of ingredients, whey solids.
    I asked Steingarten if he was impressed with the new technology. He thought for a moment before giving me a most unscientific answer. "Ed," he announced, "there's an extremely technical term for the new frozen pizza technology: ca-ca."

  2. #2
    Elite Member Sojiita's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Central Duh-hio
    Posts
    22,811

    Default

    I like the Red Baron frozen pizzas..especially the deep dish individual ones..and of course the Pizzeria Uno frozen pizzas you can get at the supermarket-but they do not have my favorite-the nice deepdish one with the pesto base and the tomatoes on top! *grrr* (love that pizza!) You also should cook them in a large iron skillet heavily coated with a rosemary-flavored olive oil..heaven!~

    * One time I took some frozen ones (from the Pizzeria Uno restaurant) to work(this was about ten years or so ago) and was making them in the oven in the rehab area. When checking on them I accidentally knocked a roll of paper towel into the oven and of course it caught on fire-I nearly set off the sprinkler system!
    Don't slap me, cause I'm not in the mood!

  3. #3
    Elite Member twitchy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Dancing on your grave!!!!
    Posts
    9,131

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by celeb_2006 View Post
    a complex process involving the meticulous addition of hydrophilic colloids for stability and surfactants to 'facilitate flour hydration and initial dough development.'
    I'm salivating already!!!

    "The howling backwoods that is IMDB is where film criticism goes to die (and then have its corpse gang-raped, called a racist, and accused of supporting Al-Qaeda)" ----Sean O'Neal, The Onion AV Club

  4. #4
    Hit By Ban Bus! pacific breeze's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    in the wild blue yonder
    Posts
    15,479

    Default

    ^^LOL. Not the most inspired piece of food writing.

  5. #5
    Elite Member KrisNine's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Sleepy night night land
    Posts
    22,386

    Default

    I love the frozen California Pizza Kitchen, Thin and Crispy Crust Margherita pizza. It's delish!!

  6. #6
    Bronze Member
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    19

    Default

    What is panini bread? I am not sure I spelled it right.

  7. #7
    Elite Member nwgirl's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    4,983

    Default

    Yuck yuck yuck to frozen pizza. I make my own. Way better.
    "The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits."

  8. #8
    Elite Member KrisNine's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Sleepy night night land
    Posts
    22,386

    Default

    ^^Mmmm, my best friend's dad used to make homemade pizza. It was the best.

  9. #9
    SVZ
    SVZ is offline
    Do fish have boogers? SVZ's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Venus
    Posts
    1,000,003,609

    Default

    I hate to say this, but the author isn't very good...too much fluff, not organized (A comparison shouldn't be done in a paragraph essay style...since you can't scan it and pick out the info you need)

    Sucks, but this is totally the wrong assignment for him!

  10. #10
    Elite Member LynnieD's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    34,695

    Default

    For those of you with little ones, and are attempting to have them eat better/healthier (hahaha) there are little frozen pizza's made by Earth's Best, with Elmo on the package. They are small, and expensive compared to other larger frozen pizza's, but contain 100% whole grains, organic cheese, etc...

    My 3 yr old loves em. They come 2 to a package. I always have a box.

  11. #11
    Elite Member JamieElizabeth's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    San Jose, California, United States
    Posts
    2,895

    Default

    Anything Amy's is really good.

  12. #12
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    1,190

    Default

    I wish I could eat pizza.

  13. #13
    Elite Member darksithbunny's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    14,136

    Default

    I'd rather have an four cheese hot pocket pizza.

  14. #14
    Elite Member Rondette's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Between uncertainty and acceptance
    Posts
    4,544

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by pgcatz View Post
    What is panini bread? I am not sure I spelled it right.
    I know it as a small french stick style bread bun that you cut in half, put your preferred filling in, toast in a griddle so it's flattened, and then eat. I'm rather partial to Tuna and cheese. MMmmmmm...

  15. #15
    Elite Member southernbelle's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    9,578

    Default

    It might just be because I live in a college town where pizza places are always offering deals and discounts to students, but I find that large frozen pizzas are actually more expensive than what I could get from carry-out at a regular pizza chain.

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Similar Threads

  1. Man ok after truck runs over his head
    By buttmunch in forum News
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: May 15th, 2007, 10:59 AM
  2. Man dies while trying to saw own head off
    By buttmunch in forum News
    Replies: 13
    Last Post: May 11th, 2007, 09:37 PM
  3. Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey go head to head
    By Otaku in forum Gossip Archive
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: January 24th, 2007, 01:16 PM
  4. Ever seen a man eat his own head, Gary?
    By Grimmlok in forum Laughs and Oddities
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: November 19th, 2006, 02:13 PM
  5. Is Tommy Lee getting a big head?
    By Elvira in forum Gossip Archive
    Replies: 14
    Last Post: September 3rd, 2006, 02:00 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •