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Saturday, March 13, 2010

frozen pizza is making me mad

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Ever since I was about five years old, I've made no secret of the fact that pizza is my favourite food. I pretty much like any kind of pizza except hawaiian (pineapple + pizza = all kinds of wrong).

I love the classic thin crust italian pizza, with fresh seasonal toppings, and I also love the local pizzeria special, loaded with toppings on thick doughy crust.

Pizza is good.

Sometimes I make my own pizza. In fact, earlier this week, I made a FABULOUS pizza with whole wheat crust, organic tomato sauce, part-skim mozza, local elk sausage, peppers, onions and mushrooms. Deeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeelish. OF course, that night, I didn't eat until 9, because it took that long for the dough to rise.

Sometimes I order in. There's a great spot near me that makes fabulous thin crust pizzas with lots of creative toppings.

And sometimes, frozen pizza is just fast, easy, cost-effective and convenient.

In the last few years, the frozen pizza selection has really broadened. A decade ago, you could purchase cardboard-like discs with a couple of classic toppings - pepperoni, deluxe, cheese.

Don't get me wrong, I've scarfed my fair share.

A few years ago, however, Dr. Oetker frozen pizzas entered the Canadian market and they seemed like such a great alternative - thin crispy crust, delicious cheese and a selection of inspired vegetable toppings - spinach, mushrooms, buffalo mozzarella, goat cheese.

And because of the thin crust, you can indulge a bit, and the calories weren't too bad.

Well, of course, with my latest post about HVP, I was curious. Earlier this week, I was craving pizza and picked up a couple of the Dr. Oetker pizzas (one spinach, one mushroom).

And then I read the label. Read it and weep:

Wheat flour, water, spinach, tomato puree, mozzarella cheese (milk, salt, calcium chloride, bacterial culture, microbial enzyme or rennet), edam cheese (milk, salt, calcium chloride, beta-carotene colour, bacterial culture, microbial enzyme or rennet), vegetable oil preparation (contains modified canola and palm oil, water, citric acid, artificial flavour, beta-carotene colour, mono and diglycerides), canola or sunflower oil, yeast, salt, sugar, modified cornstarch, seasoning (contains salt, hydrolyzed soya protein, autolyzed yeast extract, modified palm oil, caramel colour, dextrose, dried carrots, dried onions, spices), garlic, lactic acid, potato starch, spices

This is pizza that has crust, spinach, cheese and sauce. WHY does it need these chemicals? These ingredients are delicious on their own, and there is absolutely no defence for using these chemicals.

Conversely, though I don't love their pizzas, I do love a new initiative by McCain. Aside from the fact that their vegetarian pizza selection seems to start and end with cheese (seriously lame, guys!!!!), they have eliminated scary chemicals from their frozen pizzas. And they've eliminated nitrates from the pepperoni and sausage that adorn these pizzas. And I love them for that. And if I hadn't sworn off of factory farmed meat, I would fill my freezers with their products to let them know how much I love this movement. (Seriously guys, would it kill you to make a fab veggie pizza????)

As much as I rant about chemicals in processed food, and how easy it is to make your own chemical-free food....the reality is that not everyone has lots of time. Believe me, I REALLY understand this (work full time, commute three hours a day, have small child, devoted hubs, part-time business and try to actually do social stuff once in a while). I'm no paragon of perfection upon which you should model yourselves.

The essence is I think all of these companies that are pushing their chemical-laden crap on us should do like McCain, take a solid look at their ingredient lists and question....WHY am I putting this in food? Is there a NEED for this to be in there? Can I make this food without chemicals?

McCain sure thinks you can.

Dr. Oetker, I'm looking straight at you.

Editing to add - the formatting of this post (and blogger) is making me mental. There are LOTS of links in the text, but you'll have to mouse over to see them. GRRRRRR


Shreyas said...

Leslie, you're not the only one who's being driven mad by your blog's formatting. Your HTML color codes make your RSS feed illegible - it's white on white in Google Reader.

The Food Addicts said...

We have learn to buy the dough at the market in the bag all you have to do is roll it out and add the toppings. It's great because you can make it as thin as you want. This is where we made our own dough.

Jenny said...

Dang! The "Casa di Mama" pizzas were also a fav of mine. I recently picked up some Compliments Balance pizzas (Sobey's brand)because they are thin crust and not nearly as many calories as the standard. I'm hoping to to be pleasantly surprised when I read the label, although I won't hold my breath.

HumanUnit said...

Oh wow, I remember those pizzas! I used to LOVE them. You know, this kind of thing really annoys me because, yes, I understand that we need to be smarter consumers, but the manufacturers and marketers need to bear a wee bit of responsibility for not being complete disingenuous about what they're selling. Those pizzas, if I recall, are totally pitched as "healthier" - they use "Dr." to brand the shit, ffs.

Thankfully, I think we've made some great strides in the US with having processed food options that are actually not too bad. There IS a way to get the crap out of these foods, we just need to think about them a little. Are they *as* good as made from scratch homemade, nope, but sometimes you just want something quick that isn't completely disgusting. Oh, and for what it's worth, we eat pizza at least once a week - homemade. The only way it works is that I make a big batch of dough and marinara about once a month, portion it up and then freeze. We usually meal plan nowadays, so I actually remember to take the dough and sauce out in the mornings and then it's all set by the time I get home. :) YAY PIZZA!

Debbie said...

The chemicals in frozen foods are scary, well, lets face it they are scary in most of our pre-processed food. I too love pizza and have given up trying to find a good offering in this department.

Amy B. said...

frozen pizza is the worst. homemade pizza is the best! :-)

Dino said...

HI guys and gals, read your comments. With a choice of making a pizza or sending out for an expensive delivery, sometimes pizza is a turn-off. But in a grocery store looking at the McCain thin crust pizza's, with ingredients I can pronounce and understand, why not buy them ? They're not expensive IMO. Your thoughts ?

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