Saturday, September 16, 2023

Pillsbury Pizza Party!

I'm a big fan of pizza, especially if it's got a spicy (not sweet!) tomato sauce and cheese that's such a deep brown that some people would probably consider it burnt. My in-laws are horrified by these preferences, as they prefer a candy-sweet tomato sauce with canned pineapple and barely-melted cheese on top, and my partner and I were both horrified when a family friend took us out for pizza and we discovered that his preference was for a place with a crust so thick and sweet that we thought the dough would have been better used to make cinnamon rolls than pizza. In short, pizza preferences vary widely, but the Pillsbury's Bake Off Main Dish Cookbook (1968) reminded me that people's ideas about pizza might have been even more variable in the '60s.

Of course, one of the "pizzas" featured in the book is clearly a mislabeled quiche. I'm still not sure why referring to quiches as pizzas used to be a thing.

I think the American Piece-A-Pie may have been an attempt to make pizza seem less "ethnic" to xenophobic midwesterners.

Top the quick bread crust (pink from tomato sauce and chili powder) with American cheese and chili-powder-seasoned ground beef instead of mozzarella and pepperoni to make sure it's midwest-friendly.

There's a pizza craft project for cooks who like an impressive presentation.

This one is made a bit easier in that it uses premade refrigerated dough, so the cook can put their effort into braiding. I have to admit it's pretty, but the sesame seeds on top seem a little odd (but not unwelcome).

The dipping sauce of condensed tomato soup with cheese, mustard, and Worcestershire might best be forgotten....

The layered dip craze may have inspired the Double Pizza Special, though the picture makes it look as if this is supposed to be a special-occasion dish.

"Break out the wine glasses! We're having the good Kool-Aid tonight."

This thing looks less like a pizza to me than a casserole, though-- perhaps with a layer of cheesy rice on the bottom and ground beef on the top, with a pair of alien eyeballs (one with a red iris and one clouded over with cataracts) for effect.

There's no rice, though-- just a crust topped with a ricotta-based cheese filling not unlike what would be found in a lasagna, which is then topped with a seasoned tomato-and-sausage layer, which is then topped with mozzarella and Parmesan. This would be one hefty pie.

For anyone who considers canned soup a necessity for 1960s recipes, the Cheeza Soupreme uses condensed Cheddar soup not only in the crust, but also in the topping.

Bonus 1960s points for using catsup as the base for the tomato sauce, and bonus disappointment points for using cheese soup as the only cheese in the whole damn recipe.

For sheer weirdness, though, the Pauper's Pizza wins.

While the buttermilk-flavored crust sounds like it might be interesting, the bean-with-bacon soup and frankfurter topping seasoned with catsup and mustard makes me wonder why people at the time thought that dough baked with any goddamn thing on top should qualify as a pizza. If this were my introduction to the concept, I'm not sure I would ever have been willing to try another.... At least my pineapple-loving in-laws and I might be able to agree that this monstrosity is irredeemable. 


  1. Pizza seems to be one of the things that improved after people stopped making them at home. While we know someone who is proud of her homemade pizza with virtually all the fat extracted from it, the pizza tastes like sawdust. I guess the price of a frozen or takeout pizza is still worth it.

    1. Mostly, yes-- unless the takeout is pineapple with barely-melted cheese.