Fast Times

Newman's Own: Margherita Frozen Pizza

"I don't want to cook."

"Well, I don't want to spend any money."

"Fine. Then throw one of those frozen pizzas in and let's watch Game of Thrones and get it over with."

This is the conversation that happened in my house on Easter. My girlfriend and I were tired from an entire day of family interaction and polite conversation. We didn't want to go anywhere, spend any money or do anything beyond lifting something from a plate to our mouth.

We have all been here, and we have all, at some point, made the same decision.

Frozen Pizza Night.

I've tried a number of different frozen pizzas over the years -- from Totino's 99 cent pizzas and late-night, drunken Tombstones in college to my more recent favorite, the Kashi-brand frozen pizza. The constants to them all is that they are frozen, they are round and they more or less satisfy your pizza craving.

My local supermarket was offering an excellent deal on Newman's Own brand frozen pizzas last week, and I just couldn't resist. Two pizzas for $9? Get right out of town, HEB.

I would normally shy away from frozen anything. Frozen food usually has too many preservatives and salt. There is also just so much good pizza in Houston that I balk at wasting any opportunity to get my pizza time, but on those occasions when even calling someone to bring something to you is too much, a frozen pizza serves its purpose.

Newman's Own doesn't disappoint. Well, not too much. Not on Frozen Pizza Night, anyway, when the bar is lowered and the waistbands are elastic. When the lights are dimmed and the couch is firmly settled into. No, not on a night such as that.

I've always loved Paul Newman, both for his films and the fact that all the profits from his company go to charity. So maybe I'm a little biased, but as far as frozen pies go, this one is certainly up there.

I added some after-market cheese, the shake-able kind that further signals your complete and utter lack of desire to work for your food, and some Italian seasonings, then I popped that pizza unto the middle rack for about 12 minutes.

In this glorious day of food technology, there is something comforting in the thought that, no matter what-- and with just a slight lowering of one's standards-- just about any type of food you would want to eat can be turned from frozen and packaged to hot and edible in a matter of minutes. We've certainly excelled at making life easier for ourselves, and the frozen pizza is the pinnacle.

Ready in minutes, a crispy, thin crust under cheese and tomatoes that reasonably match the picture on the box in terms of toppings and toppings distribution came hot out of my oven. It really chaps my arse when I open something that looks nothing like it did on the box. It's a total sham. It's like getting socks for a birthday present. Never cool, Grandma.

Not Newman, though. Oh, no. Not old Paul.

The margherita had little cubes of tomato, which were a nice break from the somewhat bland sauce, but extra cheese and seasoning additions certainly help achieve a better final product. While it's not Luigi's, Newman's Own ranks as one of the better frozen pizzas I've ever settled for in my life. And, truly, let's not call it anything but what it is: settling.

Well, a caveat to this rule would be Pizza Hut. Pizza Hut is settling. Newman's Own frozen pizza is a step and a half above the Hut, in my opinion. They aren't sticking wieners in anything, at least.

If you are craving Pizza, go to Luigi's and revel in the nectar of the gods. If you are craving total and complete convenience, then by all means preheat the oven, pop open a cold one and bask in your sloth with a Newman's Own.

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Sam Brown