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Boxed Pizza Mixes . . . here's what I think.

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I am a child of the 50's/60's/70's.  There was not a lot in the way of convenience foods when I was growing up.  Being born in 1955, food in our home was really simple.    We didn't have access to exotic ingredients.  Pineapple was probably one of the most exotic ingredients we had and that came in a tin.  I don't think I ever saw a fresh one until I was an adult.  I did not live in a large urban area.  We had the rodeo room ( which was a family restaurant), a Chinese Restaurant in the village,   and the cafe in the Metropolitan department store which had super french fries, that I still remember and drool over.  We also had a local, family run and owned Bakery that had great bread and made delicious donut twists.

I never ever tasted a pizza until I was about 16 years old and it was by way of a Chef Boyardee Pizza mix that a boyfriend brought over and showed us how to make.  I remember thinking that it was pretty good, and actually it really was tasty.  The sauce had plenty of flavour and the crust wasn't too bad either.  So was the Kraft one . . .  if I am being honest, and I always try to be.

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The crust was yeasty, quick and quite tasty.  Not like a pizzaria crust by any stretch, but what do you expect from a box.  For what we paid for it . . .  it delivered a decent pizza experience that was pretty good.

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 There was even a sausage option for those who wanted something a bit meatier.  We used to brown hamburger and sprinkle  it on top . . .  along with drained canned mushrooms, chopped onions and chopped green peppers.  And Mozzarella cheese.  Sometimes we would splurge and add olives.  We were very happy with the results.

In fact I often kept a pizza mix in the house through the years for the kids (and the two parents, true confessions.)

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  A few weeks back,  I saw these Pizza Kits in the grocery shop and so I picked up one for nostalgia sake.  I thought it would be handy to have in the house just in case I wanted a pizza in a hurry.  I was hungry for that old Chef Boyardee experience, truth be told . . .  and I had great expectations.  At the very least I thought it would be edible.

I finally had the opportunity to cook it last night and . . . I confess, it was the SINGLE worst tasting pizza I have ever eaten in my life.  The crust left my mouth feeling like it had been overloaded with baking soda or something.  You know that really astringent feel?  Aluminium like.  Terrible.  Absolutely terrible.  The sauce was flavourless.  It was just pureed tomatoes, with no seasonings or flavours added . . .  there was a packet of dried oregano to sprinkle over top, but surely the sauce could have, should have been done better.  Dried oregano doesn't cut the mustard.  I bet a real Italian would be appalled by this.   Even the Chef (Boyardee) made a hugely more flavourful sauce than that.  There was NO cheese, even though the photo on the box shows a pizza covered with cheese.  Chef Boyardee always included cheese.  I added my own cheese and sprinkled some garlic and onion over the sauce before adding the cheese.  I used a mix of \Parmesan and Mozzarella . . .  and some cheddar.  I also added bacon that I had in the fridge that had been cooked already.  I just crumbled it on top.

I really wanted to like this . . .  I was quite hungry and starving  . . .  but the fact is  . . .  it was the WORST PIZZA EVER.  I struggled my way through one piece and then had to gulp down a couple of glasses of water to get rid of that horrible baking powder/soda taste and feeling in my mouth.  It was quite literally gross.  I threw it away and had peanut butter on toast instead.

I think these people need to buck up their crust and sauce or face the fact that this is a product that people will only ever buy once and then never again.  If you have never bought it, I have only one word for you . . .  DON'T.  The sauce I could cope with, but that crust.  No way.

Total waste of  money and time.  It had  no redeeming factors.

The End.

Marie Rayner
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  1. oh my gosh Marie, thats the first pizza I ever ate as well,, Chef Boyardee, lol, I was 15 years old and to this very day I love it!!!!
    I'm sorry the new one you tried is no good, we can still buy Kraft or chef boyardee here on Ontario,,
    I like that you are always honest with your opinions,, have a great day,,,

    1. You're welcome Laurie! I would not want anyone to waste their money on something which is not good at all! xo

  2. Kraft for us. At the time we too thought they tasted pretty good.

    The problem I have with these box pizzas, and biscuit and pancake mixes, it that for even the minimal effort you have have to put into them, you might as well do them from scratch.

    The Cooking for Geeks book by the tech publisher O'Reilly even has a no knead recipe for pizza dough. Mix the ingredients together in the morning and by dinner, time has done all the kneading and you are ready to go.

    Many time saving convenience foods really aren't that convenient and don't save time.

    1. I'll have to check out that no knead recipe Pat. I have used scone dough before, and I do have a great 20 minute rise Pizza dough. I was just feeling a bit nostalgic for the pizza kits from back home and saw this and thought I would give it a go. Bad idea! xo

  3. This was the first pizza I ever had too, at 12 years old. My mom brought it home and I made it. I never had 'real' pizza until I was 14 and my father's side of the family was Italian. I could never figure that one out. I lived in Seattle then and pizza was just getting VERY popular, lots of new restaurants. Anyway, I still love the Chef Boyardee pizza, which is hard to find now. Most stores here carry Appian Way pizza in a box and it taste pretty much the same. I made this for my kids when they were younger and they call it floppy pizza. :)

    1. I like that drummagick, floppy pizza! Odd that coming from an Italian family you didn't have a 'real' pizza until 14, or maybe not. My dad was French and we didn't eat a lot of French food at home either! xo

  4. I neer ever had that pizza..

    but I love this honest post..we are having REAL home made pizza ce soir!

    1. No worries about the V sticking Monique. Real pizza is what I normally have, homemade because takeaway is so expensive and homemade is so good. I just bought this on a whim and decided to use it the other night at the last minute. Todd was eating leftovers, and there was only enough leftovers for one. So I thought, I'll make that pizza. Blecch! xo

  5. I fixed those Chef B. Pizza's when my kids were small. We loved them. If I didn't have any hamburger to use I used Bologna. Great walk down memory lane.

    1. Oh yeh, strips of bologna or cut up hot dogs Jacqueline! Both were great! I still like cut up hot dogs on pizza! xo

  6. I remember growing up and my mom making these. Oddly enough, just a few months back I saw the Chef Boy-Ar-Dee mix in the stores and memory flooded back. I picked it up and tried it. Tasted just as good as I remember. I will be very wary if I see the version you recently purchased. But I would get the Chef Boy-ar-dee version again. I had a friend over that loves pizza and the two of us had a fun time making the pizza and loading it up with our own fresh bought toppings. It was great fun then, and it's great fun now.

    1. I had the Chef Boyardee the last time I was home Jeffrey, which was about 3 years ago and it was good. It's not pizzaria pizza, of course, but you wouldn't expect it to be. You are right it is fun to make together and to load up with your favourite toppings. But this Cook Italia brand, is really horrible. It is not a yeast based dough and there is a LOT of either baking soda or bicarb in it. I am not the only person with that complaint as I read a review online where someone else had the same complaint. Not a very pleasant taste sensation in the mouth at all! xo

  7. Chef Boyardee was the first pizza I ever made when I was about 16 years old. Three of us girls had a sleep over and our host's mom helped us make the pizza. I was amazed. It tasted really good. It would make a good pantry/food storage item, don't you think? Another Boyardee product that was a pantry staple in my mom's house was spaghetti in the can. Too sweet and a little slimy but we ate it, "or else". I survived. Thanks Marie, so much. Sis Donahue in Odessa, WA

    1. I think that the Chef Boyardee mixes would make a great storage item. I liked the tinned spaghetti and the ravioli. When I am home I always treat myself to a tin of the spaghetti and meatballs. I like the meatballs. Call me crazy! These things have their place and their value! xo (Plus if you buy the little microwavable tubs they are a great "hot lunch" option for school or work.) xo


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