I have an affliction. And chances are, 95% of America is with me on this one. Once I get home from a tiring day of work, I want to do little in the way of gourmet cooking. Indeed, I am coming to an age in which I must consider my diet. But I often find myself not checking for paprika and turmeric to create a dish that would make Martha Stewart gape in awe. My cooking abilities I have labeled as Hamburger Helper 101 anyway. Instead, I am on a quest for the easy way out, and sometimes that includes a frozen pizza.
My other affliction consists of purchasing on-sale items, usually at Winn-Dixie or Albertsons. I feel a certain amount of miserly pride when I can keep the food bill under a certain amount each week. Both Red Baron and Digiorno are frequently on sale, but Red Baron is almost always cheaper, enabling me to feast on a decent dinner with little feeling of residual guilt for splurging. Red Baron’s pepperoni variety can not be considered a top of the line pizza, but for the price, I would give it a luke-warm seven out of ten. The crust is often hard and crunchy not unlike zwieback toast. If you are not careful, it remains quite easy to cut your gums on it; my girlfriend knows this from personal experience.
However, if you can get past the crust (just toss it on the side and feed it to the dog if necessary), Red Baron’s Pepperoni Pizza has a fairly competent consistency. It’s quite easy to set up and you are ready to gorge in approximately half an hour. The breading of the pizza itself will not fall apart the way a lesser brand will, the cheese is quite satisfying and the pepperoni…well, let’s just say it would be quite difficult to mess that up! The tomato sauce is nothing special, but here again, Red Baron will not skimp on their product.
Now, behold the Taj Mahal of pizza. The self-proclaimed king of beers may very well be Budweiser, but the king of frozen pizza will always be Digiorno. If you find it on sale at $5 or under, at the risk of sounding like a stock advisor, “buy buy buy!” Particularly if you have never had a Digiorno’s selection before, this pizza is true to its slogan: “It’s not delivery, it’s Digiorno’s.” At first I thought that was a rather pretentious saying and decided to boycott the pizza out of spite. Alas, that was my mistake. Forgo Pizza Hut for this one (chances are, you have to tip the delivery man anyway). The cheese is generously spread and thick. Commercials that show a happy customer biting into the slice and leaving a long trail of cheese oozing out of their mouth? Yup, it’s actually true. This is not melodrama; you can expect that kind of euphoria with every slice of Digiorno’s.
Unlike Red Baron’s pizza, Digiorno’s Pepperoni Pizza will also rise quite a bit and it will look as good as something you can get at a restaurant. Red Baron’s entry remains quite flat, and overcooking will harden the bread even more. The quantity and size of the pepperoni is quite a bit larger on the Digiorno pie as well. Lastly, the sauce from the Digiorno pizza could rival Mario’s secret sauce on a New York City street corner shop. OK, in a way, I kind of made that last part up. I have no clue who Mario is, but I think, dear reader, you catch my drift. Red Baron’s pepperoni pizza cannot make a similar claim. It remains no hyperbole that Digiorno has something special, and to skip it for an inferior brand would almost be absurd.
Evaluate the deal: A Red Baron pepperoni pie will probably make you feel less guilty if you are a penny-pincher like myself. If the old axiom remains true that you get what you pay for, Red Baron is still a satisfactory bargain. However, would it really be so tragic to go for a $2 upgrade? Indulge and dig for two more George Washington’s and I guarantee you frozen pizza bliss.