The delight and anticipation I get when I take the slightly damp green cardboard box from the canvas shopping bag. Frozen pizza is a delicacy when you get the right one and my favourite is definitely that. It makes me think of comfort and my home kitchen and tracksuit bottoms. The box is always nearly disintegrated by the time I get to it and the crumpled plastic casing is withered but the contents within are in prime condition. It is pasty white and not in a ‘beautifully handmade pizza yet to be cooked’ kind of way. No, this is a mass produced, guaranteed uniform flavour every time you buy a box pizza. This is the comfort I want sometimes, no risk, a good pizza every time. The oven is so hot I can feel it without opening its door and when I do, it fogs my glasses.
The wait is hard, but the after-wait is harder. Pizza of all kinds are a godsend but cold pizza is another level. After the excruciating fifteen to twenty minutes of cooking time, I then practice my patience for another twenty minutes until it is cool. That is when this pizza is at its prime. The cheese is golden and the crust is brown and you can take a bite without burning through your bones. With the pizza cutter, I cut perfect quarters – this isn’t a night for a slice or two. With each quarter, I drizzle olio picante from Italy and gather all necessary foods into the sitting room.
The first bite is indescribable which isn’t a great situation for a writing challenge so I will try. Unlike a “proper” pizza, the cheese doesn’t melt into a blanket of mozzarella but stays in its original grated form. This makes every bite simple and lacking the struggle of pulling cheese from the slice. The chili oil then hits my tongue and the soft coating of spice is welcomed to cut through the fats and oils of the pizza.
It leaves me very full and very content. It is simple food at its best, zero thought put into the making and even less thought put into the cooking but, the eating is a pleasure. This is an item that gives me a faux sense of comfort and safety. Everything is well when you can guarantee the same pizza every time.