So I learned two valuable lessons today, both oddly enough are related to Pizza.
First, the overhead on pizza parlors must be incredibly low. Here in Monroe, a local merchant genius has set out to sell what he calls “Take and Bake” pizzas. Now these are the same pizzas that he runs through his ovens, cuts, boxes and delivers, but instead of cooking, cutting, cartoning, and carrying, he wraps the *raw* pizza in plastic wrap and sends it home with you to cook in your own oven at a tremendous discount. Great idea right?
As I was standing, watching this operation, I did a little bit of loose math in my head. For $8.00, I get a fully cooked, cut, and boxed pizza. For $5.00, I can cook it myself. Saves me three bucks so it’s worth it. (Or so you would think, wait until the second lesson.) The oddest thing happens, though, when you don’t *bake* a pizza assembled in a kitchen specifically designed to bake pizzas: the labor *increases*. The poor guy who would normally spend about a minute and a half per pizza cutting and boxing it, must now *wrap* each *uncut* pizza in plastic wrap, careful not to disturb the toppings. The whole process takes about three or four minutes *per pizza*. (These are big pizzas we’re talking about here.)
So it occurred to me. The pizza guys are making at least double on each pizza. Is something that can feed a family of four for under $2.00 worth of ingredients *really* something I want to put into my body? At least not on a regular basis. So lesson one is what I originally called the Taco-Bell Precept: If you can manufacture a food item for under a buck that feeds a family, it’s not human food.
Lesson two occurred later, when I got the pizzas home. It is a simple lesson, to be honest. Cheese bubbles when it is hot. (Specifically when it is four hundred and fifty degrees farenheit.) How, might you be asking, did I come across this gem of wisdom? By plunging, I say, my hand into the top of a boiling hot pizza. Cutting pizzas with those big fance curved blade thingies the pizza joints use? It’s a hell of alot harder than those guys make it look. The blade rocks not only from side to side, but from front to back, making short order of the hair on the back of your hand should you hit a wayward peperoni or a stubborn, extra thick portion of the crust.
So what is the moral of the story? Let the pizza joints do what pizza joints do best: cook pizzas. It’s a hell of a lot less hazardous to your health.