In that piece, I discussed the difficulty of finding good pizza in Missouri, and before that, other states I’ve lived in, like Virginia and Connecticut. I also mentioned the horror of frozen pizza, which is a crime against taste buds.
I encountered the absolute worst pizza I have tasted in 1992, while broadcasting my radio show from the Winter Olympics in Albertville, a town in the French Alps. While the chefs of that nation are famous for their gastronomy, no food writer or reviewer has ever said they know how to make pizza — particularly at an elevation of more than two miles. Inmates at Shawshank Prison got higher quality meals than I did that day.
But I think I’ve found a level that’s below even that: vending machine pizza. The devices have been rolled out across Europe, and one entrepreneur has just set one up in Rome. Yes, the capital of Italy. A place where there’s an authentic pizzeria within an eight-second walk of pretty much everything.
Supposedly, kids love the machine because they can watch the pizza being made, from the dough being kneaded and pressed into a disc, to the sauce and cheese being added, to the three-minute heating process before it’s delivered in a cardboard box through a slot.
But the taste? Well, the truncated baking time should tell you something — like eating cupcakes made in an Easy-Bake Oven instead of from an actual bakery.
No, thank you! I’d sooner opt for the tuna-on-white-bread-wrapped-in-plastic that’s been sitting on the bottom shelf of a vending machine than to purchase pizza that’s never been touched by human hands.
I do not welcome our new pizza robot overlords. Long live the pizzaiolo!