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Taste This: Pizza Combo

By Mike Breen · March 23rd, 2011 · Lost in the Supermarket
While many of the items taste-tested in this column each month are “weird” or “unusual” ethnic foods — uncommon perhaps in our general culture but the norm for many others — we’ve also examined products that showcase all-American gluttony at its finest, from KFC’s brazenly unhealthy Double Down to the daffy concoctions made for hard-to-please kids and lazy parents like the “Carnival Corn Dog” Kids Cuisine frozen dinners.

Unlike in the great “War On Christmas,” in America’s “War on Nutrition,” conservatives aren’t taking a defensive stance. In fact, it’s become a GOP talking point for some, used to attack the First Lady for daring to suggest Americans eat healthier. Like guns, cushy tax laws for the rich and homophobia, the right to gorge on artery-clogging, obesity-causing food is in the Constitution, apparently.

At times, the products food manufacturers put in stores seem like part of a dare to see who can come with the most outrageously bad-for-you combination. I imagine when Baconnaise (bacon-flavored mayo) appeared in stores, competitors went into overdrive trying to top it — “Oh yeah, well how about County-Fairnnaise, mayonnaise infused with beer, cotton candy and deep-fried Snickers bars!”

On a recent trudge through my neighborhood supermarket I saw a collection of items so sitcom funny, I swear I heard a laugh track in my head as I gazed in amazement.

It was exactly the kind of fat-saturated grub Sarah Palin and her pals have been fighting for.

It appears that the people who make frozen pizzas are no longer just content to pile on more meat and cheese to entice consumers. Now they’re including pre- and post-meal snacks in the same packaging. You now have a new way to more easily tell if your pizza is delivery or DiGiorno. If there’s a hunk of raw cookie dough, it’s probably DiGiorno. The company (and others, including the California Pizza Kitchen) now has a line of combo-“meals” that pair a pizza with either a small pack of break-and-bake Toll House chocolate chip cookies or an appetizer. As if that wasn’t genius enough, one of the appetizer options is “Wyngz,” chicken wing-like snacks that, judging by its name, aren’t chicken wing-like enough to be legally called “Chicken” or “Wings.” Or maybe they’re just being gangstaz.

Just to be safe, I went with DiGiorno’s Pizza & Cookies (mostly because they weren’t called “Cookeez”). When I got the photo album-sized package home, I realized this quick and easy meal required a little more thought than I normally use when popping something in the microwave. It’s all about the timing — the cookies required only about six minutes, while the pizza took a whopping 22. What the hell? I’m neither Emeril nor Archimedes!

And what if I want my baked cookies hot and placed on top of the pizza? Thankfully, there were cooking instructions for how to “enjoy” both the cookies and pizza together. It still involved way too much math — maybe they’re gunning to be the subject of an SAT question.

There wasn’t anything special about the products in the DiGiorno packaging individually — the cookies were delicious and the thick-crusted pizza was overly filling.

But the fact that I didn’t have to make two different stops in the supermarket for my meal’s ingredients made it all worthwhile. Given the size of grocery stores these days, maybe that’s the thinking behind these new combo offerings. Tired of walking all the way back to the dairy section for cookies after you’ve already filled the rest of your cart up with frozen pizzas? Now you can save all that excess energy. You might just need it to shovel so much unhealthiness down your throat in one sitting.

Now if only they’d toss in that post-dinner cigarette …

CONTACT MIKE BREEN: mbreen@citybeat.com



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