It's Not Delivery!


Pizza is not our favorite dish, but at times it fills a need and fits the menu perfectly.One Friday evening was just such a time.After a long hard week, the Missus and I chose to spend a quiet evening at home for a nice pizza dinner.


Takeout pizza has failed to win our favor, delivering poor toppings and tepid temperatures in recent deliveries of the popular pie.Determined to produce a satisfactory, if not outstanding pizza, my bride opted for a popular brand of frozen pizza widely advertised on TV as being far better than the home-delivered counterpart.


It is only fair to point out that Mrs. Cheever is indeed a grand master of the kitchen.Her talents in this area have caused each of us to accrue about a pound per month since our marriage some three years back.Her cooking skills are well known and widely acclaimed.


To prepare the delectable dish, a large round pan was selected having perforations in the bottom to allow the heat to penetrate the pie from both sides, producing the most thorough and timely rendering of the Neapolitan classic.The oven was preheated to emulate the coal-fired infernos of Lower Manhattan, the birthplace of pizza as we know it.As the temperature reached the desired level, the frozen pizza, with supplemental sauces and toppings, was thrust into the cooking compartment for its short journey to perfection.


Patiently we waited for the signal that the proper time had elapsed and the pizza was ready.Slowly the minutes ticked away as we fought back the pangs of hunger.When would the damned thing be ready?


After a seemingly interminable cooking period, the beeping sound that we had long awaited filled the room with the signal that our precious pizza was now ready for consumption.Quickly it was thrown upon a cutting board to be divided into tasty triangles of guaranteed goodness.The product looked as good as the shown on television.The added items appeared properly integrated with the frozen base goods, and the moment of truth drew nearer.


My wife is, as previously explained, a veteran of the kitchen, and when she showed signs of frustration I became immediately alarmed that something had gone awry.Wielding a rolling pizza cutter, she rolled across and back, turning the pie incrementally to properly dissect the circle into suitably sized segments.Complaining that the cutter was not cutting, she appealed to me for assistance, an ominous clue that all was not well at our pizza party.


Obligingly I took the wheel and began tracing the cut lines established by the chief cook, but again to no avail.This was the toughest pizza crust I had ever encountered.Together we tried to slice the crust, forcing the pizza cutter wheel deep into the somewhat soggy crust, yet never finding the hard surface of the cutting board.


Something was not right.The crust was moist and yielding on top, yet the bottom was tough as whetting leather.An investigation must quickly be made to solve this mystery.


Lifting the crust from the outer edge, I carefully peeked beneath the pie only to find a disc of corrugated cardboard intimately engaged with the pizza dough after a cooking of the prescribed duration.Shielding the pie from the heat, the cardboard absorbed much of the high temperature needed to cook the dough.The crust was half cooked, and the cardboard well done.A culinary disaster!


Embarrassed, the cook, upon learning of the revelation, shoved me aside and attacked the composite concoction.Angrily she tore at the cardboard substrate, now an integral part of the crust, trying with limited success to separate the edible from the inedible.The half baked dough clung to the cardboard with intense adhesion, yielding only when she finally began tearing the upper stratus of the crust from the clinging bottom.So persistent was the bond of the materials that she slammed the pie upside down onto the pizza pan (perforated, remember?).Savagely scraping the remaining dough from the cardboard she slopped it onto the inverted remains, and hastily grabbed the pan and threw the whole mess back into the oven for further cooking.


Amid the flurry of angry actions, the cook overlooked the propensity of the perforated pan to permeance by the ill-prepared pizza.Inverted, the topping becomes the bottoming, and the bottom is where the holes occur in the specialized perforated cooking pan.It is through these obscure portals that the tomato sauce began its prompt separation from the pizza, being drawn predictably downward by gravity.Seeking its way down, the sauce came to rest on the cutting board, counter top, floor, oven door, and the bottom of the oven.


Once the hasty slam of the inverted pizza from counter to oven had taken place the results were irreversible.Seeing red, the cook was now so incensed that rage had given way to tears.Half our small kitchen was strewn with little red trails of tomato sauce; our dinner was resubmitted to the fiery oven for additional cooking, and the dripping sauce and cheeses now being processed into a thick gray smoke as they found the bottom of the hot oven.


Feverishly the red sauce was scrubbed from the various surfaces as the conglomerated pizza ingredients cooked away in the smoking oven.As soon as the cleaning operations ended, attention was directed to the problem of air quality, suitably identified by the loud buzzing of the smoke alarm.


Doors and windows were thrown open to allow the smoke to be replaced by fresh air, allowing a renewal of facilitation of human aspiration within the interior confines of the dwelling. Evidence of the failed meal trailed in the air of the immediate neighborhood.The smoke alarm was silenced, and we were ready to resume the long waited meal.


Dinner was dished in the form of a pizza goulash, spooned upon a plate in mounds of recognizable ingredients, but lacking the congruity of the popular pie.Having the appearance of pizza propelled by a Pupil’s Salad Shooter, the dish was served and quietly consumed without complaint or other comment.


Upon reflection, future efforts to circumvent the shortcomings of home-delivered pizza will meet with staunch resistance from this writer.A sparsely topped, lukewarm, late-delivered meal in a box for about twenty bucks sounds mighty good to me.