Every Pizza Product Development Meeting Ever

greasypizzaEd: Okay, let’s get started. From our focus groups we know a few things. One, people have totally not noticed we don’t use the Pizza Table–or as some folks call it, the Pizza Saver–in the center of our pies anymore. Apparently we have been doing a first-rate job of keeping the extra cheese off the lids these days. Two, we need more products that use “zilla” somehow in the name. Three, dang it all. These people are crazy about the bread, I tell ya.

Bill: Now, when you say zilla, I guess you mean something like Meatzilla, Porkzilla, or last year’s blockbuster PEPPERONI DOUBLE CHEESE STUFFED FRIED CRUST PIZZILLA?

Ed: Yes, exactly. We had a great synergy going with that campaign. So let’s just get crazy. Let’s push the envelope, do a little blue sky thinking, throw some ideas on the wall and see what sticks, okay?

Reese: You know, my wife and I went to this Oriental place and they had these little boxes that were compartmentalized like, you know, like a Whitman’s Sampler almost. Each one had a different item. Of course, I’m not like Liz. I fish with bait, I don’t eat it! (Pauses to enjoy hearty chuckles) But I’m wondering if we can’t use something like that?

Bill: Now, that’s not a bad idea. You know, at my house no one ever wants the same thing. And Angie, bless her, always wants something healthy like pasta. I say the horse is out of the barn on that one, if you know what I mean! (Pauses to enjoy hearty chuckles) Anyway, we could let our customers choose maybe four items to go in a box like at that Oriental place.

Ed: I like it! We could give them a choice of our Three-Cheese Vegetarian Kream Sauce Side Pasta or our Meatzapalooza Kream Sauce Monster Lite Side Stuffed Shells for those ladies who like the pasta. Then they can choose one from our Thick Thick Thick Monster SaltedButterGarlicPowder Crust Pizza Collection

Don: And let’s not forget our Phresh Phrom The Oven Breaded Bread Stixx Collection.They can choose Plain Ol’ Breaded Bread Stixx, Sweet Polynesian Glazed Breaded Bread Stixx, Honey Mustard BBQ Memphis Style Smoked Breaded Bread Stixx, or Flavor Blasted Ranch Giddyup Breaded Bread Stixx.

Bill: Good one! Then add our new Cinnamon Sugar Chocolate Honey Slathered Dipping Apple Dessert Stixx, and if they want to make it a Winning Family Dinner Nite Combination, add two two-liter bottles of our new private brand Suk-It-Down-Yer-Gullet Soda. And that way Mom can get her diet soda to watch that figure…get bigger and bigger!! (Pauses for hearty chuckles)

Ed: Maybe we should give them a choice of two Stixx? Oh, I know. We can add that as an upsale to the WFDN Combo. I’m telling you, our customers love the carbs. So we’ll keep punching out–and bringing in–the dough! (Hearty chuckles ensue without pause)

Reese: And I think this is a good time to do the promotion with that kids’ diabetes group that’s been nagging us. Our customers can add a dollar on to the price of our…wait, what are we calling this?

Bill: Family Exxxtravaganza Combo Box Pizzilla Flavorpocolypse!

Ed: And a great value at only $19.99! And that charity tie-in is publicity gold. Man, sick kids. Makes you wonder if their parents ever pay attention to what the little guys are sticking down their gullets. Next item of business is our new home video game station/internet order station.

 

 

Note: This is the post I had ready to go before I had to do battle with Batrodent and his grappling gun who’s up in my rafters eating insulation and fighting crime. Also, do not take this as total disdain of the chain pizza restaurant industry. Sometimes you just gotta have that salty greasy goodness.

 

Life Coaching for Family

Dear Standard Life Coach,

When my mother-in-law likes a piece of clothing or color I wear, she tells me it looks “well” on me. I don’t think this could be right. What do I do?

Signed,

Lovely in Puce.

Dear LiP,

Ah, yes. Standard Life Coach feels your pain. Being told that color looks well on you is a compliment to the color, not to your own cute self. And we’re not aware that a watermelon linen big shirt can get sick, so we’re not sure how it can ever be well. It can FIT well, yes. LOOK well? Nay.

We would say celebrate the fact your wannabe pretentious MIL compliments you at all! And, as always, resist the urge to thank her for the compliment since the sweater you’re wearing had a bit of a head cold last week.

Sincerely,

SLC

Dear Life Coach,

My sister gets royally pissed whenever she goes to a restaurant which does not have a dairy-free option for her daughter with a milk allergy, a gluten-free option for her son with a wheat allergy, or a nut-free environment for her youngest son who I don’t really think has a tree nut allergy, I think he’s just a brat.

I never want to dine with her in public because it’s such an ordeal. What can I do?

Signed,

Inedible  in Indianapolis

Dear IiI,

First, we know to what your pseudonym refers, but that does not make it any easier not to snicker at it.

Now, on to business. Yes, SLC shares your pain of trying to dine with someone with bad restaurant karma. SLC firmly believes restaurants are under no obligation to fulfill the wishes of those with strict dietary restrictions. We believe it is incumbent upon the person (or parent of the person) with dietary restrictions to do due diligence before dining out.

The bigger issue might be how not to be a royal pain in the ass. We believe if people such as your sister didn’t have allergies to bitch about, they’d just find something else. Our guess is she has never ordered off the menu and never said please-n-thank you, and so has therefore eaten a lot of spit and snot in her time. We are not sure how eating spit affects the cognitive process, but it can’t be good for a person.  We would not accept dining out invitations with her simply on the guilt-by-association principal–meaning you shouldn’t have to eat spit just because she’s high maintenance. Stop going out with her. Fake cramps or an impending library book due date if you must.

With Sympathy,

SLC

Dear Coach,

I found my husband and his best friend watching an episode of Weeknights With Giada with the sound turned down. Should I be concerned? Becasue I am. And also freaked out. 

Help,

Food Porn Interventionist

Dear FPI,

Only if they also had Barry White on the stereo. Boys can’t resist the shimmy. Chill out with some reeeCOTtah and keeAHNtay.

In Solidarity,

SLC

Road Trip

plan59.com

My husband’s family has this cabin in the woods near Land Between The Lakes called Sunset Lodge. It’s less the horror movie set it sounds like and more of a magical nirvana where there is no internet or cellphone reception except at like two in the morning when the moon is full. I mean, yes, there was that one time the lake haints and woods zombies carried off a friend’s pomeranian, but we considered that more a stroke of good fortune than an actual haunting. It’s kind of a fancy place. The man who built it had high hopes his family would spend a lot of time out there. The wife went once, said she’d never go back, and the husband put it on the market. When my husband’s grandfather bought it there were still monogrammed linens in it. There’s also a bedroom with a private bath off the kitchen. We assumed since it had its own bath it was the master until we noticed the lock was on the outside of the door. Come to find out it was the maid’s quarters. Rich people! They’re just like us! Of course the question remains as to why he didn’t keep it and tell her she never had to go again, but BY GOD he was going to get out of that house for some goddamned quiet, and shoot animals, and drink cheap bourbon, and I don’t care one iota what fabric you want to use for dining room curtains, COULD YOU PLEASE SHUT UP, WOMAN?! But, you know, everyone’s family is different.

My family’s cabin in the woods is more like a tin can on stilts. With rats. There is indoor plumbing, and I don’t even mean the hose reaches into the house. So it’s got that working for it. The Men (and I really mean men because historically The Ladies have gone up there only when they ran out of things to harass The Men about, and the decor of the place–Early American Brothel Slash Mossy Oak Camo– is good for about a week of HOW CAN YOU STAND IT UP THERE??!! The answer, of course, is that no one asks that question at The Camp) use it in between freezing their butts off in a shooting house or a marsh. I believe the little store up the road accounts for approximately 70% of U.S. Vienna sausage sales because that’s the only thing I’ve ever known anyone to eat up there. It’s in the Mississippi Delta and I’m told there’s a serious wild hog problem this spring. I haven’t been in a long time and would like to go, but in summer the bugs up there ride their own four-wheelers and the snakes are Winnebago sized. I’ll wait until November, thanks. Also, WILD HOGS.

Despite the fact I was raised in the city and have always considered roughing it to mean no valet parking, I rather like Sunset Lodge. I like fishing and building giant fires. I also enjoy a game we’ve come to call How Old Is This Shit? Apparently the cabin is built on a vortex which ages pantry staples overnight. For example, you might clean out the pantry one weekend and throw away all items which expired before Colin Powell changed his mind about Iraq. But next weekend? BOOM. You reach for a can of soup only to find out that it is old enough to drive. My best find was a box of Jell-O last year with an expiration date of 1998. We recently found unopened bottles of salad dressing with use-by dates of 2009. This is AFTER we pulled everything out of the kitchen to remodel it. How it happens is a mystery. We’ve narrowed it down to an aunt who likes to shop bulk discount stores or aliens are just screwing with us.

Besides the fact that being there makes me feel like I’m in a cocoon which no one can penetrate mainly because they don’t have the phone number, I like reading trashy novels. At the cabin, you can read crap with impunity. Haven’t started the Porn Lite series Fifty Shades of Grey? Secretly wanting to gobble up a Nora Roberts trilogy? Don’t want your BFF to know you’re a Hunger Games fanatic? Soft spot for vampire romances? The cabin is the place. The same is true for trash TV. New Year’s weekend we got lucky with a Walking Dead marathon. How can a year be bad if it starts off sitting in a recliner for twelve straight hours stuffing your face with various cheese-based delicacies and Prosecco?

Growing up we had a place in Pensacola Beach. When we went down in the summer it was the only time my brother and I could get pre-sweetened cereals. He always got Fruit Loops and I got Sugar Pops, which I’m disappointed to know is now called Corn Pops. I now enjoy the adult version of vacation cereal. This is a chance for Twizzlers and Peach Nehi–the finest of the Nehi flavors. You know how you’ve been eyeing the cheese-stuffed-cheese in the deli? You know what I’m talking about: a layer of cheddar, a layer of Stilton, and up to three other layers of miscellaneous cheese goodness. Now’s the time. Take it to the cabin. Bagel Bites? It’s a bagel AND a pizza! A breakfast you and your mom can agree on! Were Planters Cheez Balls (the undisputed KING of ALL cheeze ball products) still in existence, I’d eat three cans on a short trip. Cream soda, PBR, potted meat, whatever your guilty food pleasure is, it should be indulged at Sunset Lodge. Especially if cheese is involved.

Not that you shouldn’t eat something real. At some point you’ll need a salad or an apple just to push the sludge through your system. Trust me. And you’ll also realize you’ve had so much beer that you are your own personal floatation device. When that realization comes, it’s time to go home and detox until the next trip. Or until you have an unholy craving for Hot Fries.