Most of the time the calculus of eating a store-bought, frozen pizza versus delivery is, well, easy. Order in.
But in these times what was a simple equation has gotten more complex. The variables of cost, wait time and the risk of receiving a mediocre pizza remain familiar. But now, there’s the added interaction with the delivery person. And, at least in my case, the risk of an elevator encounter with one or more Ken or Karen who feel the pandemic and masks are a deep-state conspiracy has to be considered.
Adding to the equation is the imperative of supporting the local restaurant industry when so many owners are doing their own
desperate math on how they can keep their doors open given the impact of the pandemic.
Tonight, that mediocre store-bought pizza sitting in the freezer wins. The math is made easier because I keep the means to amp up that pizza into something far better than what comes out of its icy box.
And I purchased those means from a cherished local deli: Jimmy’s Italian Foods.
True, I could have bought some of the pizza dough or preformed crust that Jimmy’s keeps stocked in the grocery store’s freezer and forgone the “ready made” pizza completely. Point taken.
But not here, not tonight. Tonight we are taking a Trader Joes tomato-pesto pizza that costs under five bucks. To improve it, take one or two of Jimmy’s excellent meatballs, fried and crumbled. Probably just lost you if you are a vegetarian, and you can obviously skip this add-in. But for the rest of you, those meatballs come in handy at breakfast, lunch and dinner, and they deserve a place in your freezer.
We have a couple of other ingredients we keep on-hand that take this pie higher. Add a few spicy Calabrian peppers from a jar purchased at Jimmy’s. And if we happen to have some Parmesan on hand — also available at Jimmy’s — we grate some on after the pie comes out of the oven, but that’s not a requirement.
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Bake that sucker on the far side of the suggested cooking time to get the crust suitably crispy.
I mean really, this isn’t going to replace your favorite neighborhood pie. It might not even save you that much money. But it’s gonna keep you a little safer for the evening. And you’ve helped support a worthy culinary institution.
Jimmy’s Food Store, 4901 Bryan St. (Old East Dallas). Open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday.