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Opening Arguments

Don't try this at home


I love pizza and I love Kenji Alt's writing at Serious Eats, but his ongoing efforts to devise a perfect cook-pizza-at-home scheme puzzle me. The ideal way to make pizza at home is to ... not make pizza at home. Yes, you can get a kettle grill and then add the KettlePizza attachment and use it in combination with a pizza steel for what's apparently the best at-home pizza solution yet. But why bother? Pizza is just a great instance of a complicated modern economy in action, and the best way to enjoy pizza is to purchase it from a specialized pizza fabrication facility.

The issue is that while great pizza is fairly simple to make, cooking it properly requires an expensive piece of capital equipment. Your oven can't get nearly hot enough to cook a pizza correctly. To do it, you need a pizza oven. To install a good pizza oven in your house would be a waste of both money and space. It just doesn't make sense to construct one unless it's going to cook a lot of pizza. And while pizza is delicious, for the sake of your health you should probably try to avoid subsisting on an all-pizza diet. The superior strategy is to let someone else install a pizza oven in his commercial establishment. Then you show up occasionally, and in exchange for money he'll give you pizza.

See, this isn't just a frivolous blog -- we cover serious issues, too.

My sister is a big fan of Papa Murhpy's, the "Take 'N' Bake" place that fixes up your pizza to order so you can take it home and put it in your very own oven. It's supposedly a better alternative than throwing a frozen pizza in the oven or zapping it in the microwave. I've never understood the attraction, though. Any pizza I've ever tried at home -- whatever kind, whatever method -- had the crust all wrong. You simply cannot get the proper crust without a pizza ove.

Takeout pizza is one of the true modern miracles. And takeout pizza delivery is the absolute pinnacle of civilization. Genius, I tell you. You're sitting in front of your TV in that ratty old robe with a cat on your lap, you pick up the phone or hop on the laptop, and half an hour later, nature's most perfect food is delivered to your door. Does it get any better than that?