Pizza Poems: A Review Of Healthy Frozen Pizzas, In Verse

Eat your frozen pizzas with a side of class, and an ice-cold glass of culture.

Pizza, as a concept, never needs to be healthy. But that doesn't stop the frozen pizza industry from trying, does it? In 2021, there are plenty of ways that companies try to serve up more "virtuous" alternative pies, and it's worth taking a trip through the freezer aisle to see what's on offer. I ate 14 "healthy" frozen pizzas: the vegan, the veggie, the high-protein, and the low-carb. Some were terrible—some downright inedible—but six were pretty damn great. So great, in fact, that my thoughts on them can only be communicated... in verse. Please enjoy the selection of poems you are about to hear, and bon appetit.

Urban Pie Hemp Seed Six Cheese (Villanelle)

As I sit at the kitchen table contemplating Urban PieFingers lightly tracing the arc of its hemp seed crustI feel my body tingle where my pizza feelings lie

It has Omegas, three and six, their health benefits highBut I laugh as if they matter to my molten six-cheese lustAs I sit at the kitchen table contemplating Urban Pie

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They say hemp is a superfood to help me speak the liesI need to tell myself in my own voice to understandI feel my body tingle where my pizza feelings lie

No seeds can cancel out cheese grease and shouldn't even tryBut still I eat the pizza without guilt or reprimandAs I sit at the kitchen table contemplating Urban Pie

This pizza can not save a soul it knows all men must dieBut flavor—oh, it's flavor!—gives my tongue ecstatic throes!I feel my body tingle where my pizza feelings lie

The seeds impart a nuttiness, a taste both strong and slyA balance for the salty cheese, a feat that warrants proseAs I sit at the kitchen table contemplating Urban PieI feel my body tingle where my pizza feelings lie

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Banza Four Cheese Pizza (Free Verse)

We sat on the floor that night eating Banza you andI in the spot where the couch had stood from thethird of October four years ago til this morning whenwe found the ants

no one had spoken when a cup of Cherry Pepsifound its contents gushing through the cushion seamslike a river tears through rock

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the children saw nothing

perhaps it was a ghost(it's always ghosts)

We sat on the floor you and I tired and sore withhands covered in dust and sticky syrup andtoo tired and broken to cookstomachs wrenching with hunger and angerand sadness for our fallen couch

delivery would take too long i saidand there's a Banza pizza in the freezerwith a chickpea crust I've never tasted andknow nothing aboutbut it's hereand we're hereand we're hungry

You made it because my back hurt

I cut it because you're shit at fractions(you're still perfect to me)

It was smaller than a dinner platebut stretched our eyes into saucersas we bit into a crunchy bottom crust rich with oliveoil and flavor like the panelle sandwiches thatmake me scream blessings for my Sicilian ancestors

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I get to the crust and hold it my fistto nibble like the taralli I'd eat hidingbehind my nonna's housecoatwhile she vacuumed up the crumbs

I forgot you were there for a minute

I still missed you while I was gone(don't worry. never worry.)

You smiled and said you didn'tthink frozen pizza could be this good andthat you expected to be disappointedwhile I stared at the crumbs in your big red beardand your big red hands still sore from liftingwithout much help from my broken back orthe children who are off searching for thePepsi ghosts

The pizza is too small to share withthem and that's just fine because tonight Iwant to be greedywith four cheeses and sauceand your big red beard

I love Banza Pizza

But not like you(I love nothing as I love you)

Amy’s Veggie Crust Cheese Pizza (Sestina)

For my own protection, I do not expect much from frozen pizzaI have treated it as an oddity, a perversion, a guilty pleasureA way to satiate sinful urges that demand pepperoni or stuffed crustOr sometimes both. Sometimes more.These dark desires have never called for cauliflower, broccoli, or sweet potatoesBut Amy's thinks it can change me

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Do I believe Amy's—or I, myself—can move me?I've never planned for a respectable, responsible dinner involving frozen pizzaAs I have many times with cauliflower, broccoli, and sweet potatoesAnd I believe in the glory (and relish every second) of guilty pleasures,The thrilling smacks of naughtiness which, as I've grown, I stumble upon no moreI've stopped smoking cigarettes. I've stopped drinking gin. Leave me be with my croissant crust

Truly, croissants should never have been considered a cromulent pizza crust!And that is precisely why it appeals to meSomeone built a pie of cheese and sauce and thought, "No, I must have more""More saturated fat, more salt, more everything wrong (but so right) about frozen pizza"It exists for vice. It exists for pleasureNot for cauliflower, broccoli, or sweet potatoes

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I can't fathom staring at a heap of cauliflower, broccoli, and sweet potatoesThinking "That would make one damn delicious pizza crust"?It seems a complete misunderstanding of the concept of pleasureI know how to crave vegetables in a violent way. They are dear to me.Vegetables are not what is needed when the demons in my belly bellow for frozen pizzaThey want mouth burning, cheese-oozing grease-drenched violence, and nothing more.

But I find myself crawling towards better things. I've walked miles on the bodies of monsters I've slain, and shall walk miles moreIt's made my body weary. It's made it grow old. It's made it cry out for cauliflower, broccoli, and sweet potatoesAnd with an exasperated sigh admit I need them more than (I think) I need pizza.I've praised Amy's in the realm of frozen burritos. I prayed for Amy's in the realm of alternative pizza crust.I cut the pizza into six slices; the wheel audibly smashing through crispy edges speckled with burnt cheese. The noise pleased me.It folded with a snap like a bar pie. Again, I am reminded of how small a sound can be so outsized with pleasure.

I sat eating quietly, with every bite forcing me to rethink my definition of guilty pleasureIt is a bruise that hurts when you touch it, the pain making you want to touch it more. Much moreThe discomfort has always been irresistible to meBut now I feast on cauliflower, broccoli, and sweet potatoesThat have been turned into an utterly astounding crustMore irresistible than uncomfortable. More irresistible than what I knew as frozen pizza.

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An undercurrent of caramelized tomatoes shakes me, I lick its remains off the tips of my fingers with pleasure

This is now what I want out of frozen pizza. I want all this and more

I want cauliflower, broccoli, and sweet potatoes.

I want Amy's veggie crust.

California Pizza Kitchen Artisanal Style Cheese (Acrostic)

Can I truly loveArtisanal-style cheese pizzaLaden with mozzarella, Asiago, Romano, ricotta and ParmesanIf its warm, bubbling virtues are offered atop a cauliflower crust?For it could be a crust that perchesOn a throne of dietary deception with lactose-smothered liesRighteously crowing of its high protein and low carbsNot caring for flavor or texture, nor for beauty or truth, feeling it'sInherent gluten-less-ness was more than enough, and all that I deserve?Am I a fool to wish for more? To want to

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Part my lips for a cauliflower crust that strives to beIndistinguishable from the real thing? To appease the patron saints ofZaftig thighs and 3 a.m. munchies; to humble the bar pieZealots with their heels firmly planted in double-zero dough, swearing on a stack of roundAluminum trays with eyes firmly to god that it could never be done?

Keeping walls up around my heart — walls that have grown like beanstalks with every flaccid, flavorless cauliflower crust—Is no way to heal. No way to trust. No way to eat.Trust is not earned without honesty, and so I handed my heart toCalifornia Pizza Kitchen's new line of cauliflower-crust frozen pizzasHoping for the best. I was rewarded for my faith with a cracker-thin crust, a glorious snapEchoing in my ears as my teeth smashed through it again and again, til the pie was gone.Never again shall I doubt. Never again shall I want. California Pizza Kitchen has laid the spectres of soggy cauliflower crusts into eternal repose.

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Sweet Earth Veggie Lover’s Pizza (Sonnet)

I long for vegetable pizza that singsOf springtime and summer and warm fresh airThat tastes of true freshness with pops and zingsFrom zesty tomatoes and peppers fairGarlicky mushrooms both button and wildGreen Brussels sprouts that stand firm to the toothPungent oregano, basil that's mildPsyllium fiber to help you go poopOlive oil, onions, and charred broccoliAtop whole wheat crust, and I can forgiveIts slight of tradition with dairy-free"mozzarella-style cheese alternative"In pre-frozen circles, I taste nature's kissOh darling, Sweet Earth, your pizza is bliss

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Against the Grain Gluten Free Three Cheese (Haiku)

Against the Grain's crusttastes like Fogo de Chao's bread.The top? Like Ellio's.

Elegy For All The Unfortunate Pizzas

In anguish, my eyes follow the blades of the fan on the ceilingWhile I lay sprawled across the bed, cold hands on my warm tummyI breathe deeply, commanding it calm it's motions, all stormy and rumblyI have eaten too many frozen pizzas, and lo the pain I'm feeling

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Cauliflower crusts can be so good, but if done wrong they're brutalSomona's tasted like limp stale toast and dried out my mouthReal Good was real terrible, each bite went further southI had high hopes for Caulipower, but it's attempts were futile

I faced a philosophical pizza quandary thanks to Newman's OwnAnd Daiya, which both made pies reminiscent of Chuck E. CheeseWhich isn't good by any means, but still, does not it please?Perhaps I would have found some virtue in them had I never grown.

Some pizzas that I ate had no vegetables gone incognito"Life Cuisine" was Lean Cuisine using a different name, a cheater!All I can say of Udi's was that it tasted like floor cleanerAnd Quest confirmed my bias that no pizzas should be keto

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I banish the salt from my body, chugging pints of water as I mustI know that in a few days I'll be free of pain and regretI do these sorts of things enough to have a mantra: never forgetI have loyal readers who depend on me to sort out healthy pizza crust

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