Standing at the Pizza Altar

Walmart in Monroe, where I walked through what seemed like a hundred brands of everything and anything before I found, in between the frozen chicken and packages of lasagna, the frozen pizza aisle. Full disclosure here. I’ve never shopped for food at Walmart, maybe in search of a light bulb or toilet paper, but not food. Northern California, my previous stomping ground, always had provided me with a multitude of organic and local produce, frozen food to be sure, but mostly without ingredients from the chemist’s preservative shop. After walking through what felt like all 26 aisles of hair gels, pain relief packs, liquid diet and nutrition bars and a field of orange plastic pumpkins in cardboard boxes, I stopped to congratulate myself for making it this far without a GPS device. I opened the freezer door where I discovered a mecca of boxes that included: original, classic, doubletop, four-meat supreme, three-cheese, firebaked, classic crust, brick oven, crispy thin, California-style, Italian-baked, mega meat, rising crust or everyone’s favorite, cheese stuffed crust, in no kind of alphabetical order. The crust seemed to get all the publicity, less so the stuff piled on top of it, except of course, if you count yourself among those “gotta have” pepperoni die-hards. I’m not one of them. I wondered, if I selected three-cheese, would that pizza be exclusively cheese or also include pepper and onion? Could an Italian-baked crust also function as California-style? What exactly is a “classic” pizza and how did it get to be the standard pizza bearer? I felt the pressure of metal shopping carts jostling at my back. For a moment Hercules flashed before me in a leopard skin. I thought about the 12 labors he performed to get jealous Hera off his back. Lucky guy, he never had to bring home the pizza. For a moment I chided myself for not stopping at any of the pizza shops along Highway 165. Surely, my choices would be limited there to just a few kinds of slices: cheese, pepperoni, maybe vegetarian. Instead of lighting a stick of sandalwood incense at this altar of all things pizza, I stepped away from the freezer counter and relinquished the door handle to a woman standing behind me who reached in and pulled out a box. I admired her decisiveness. A box of what and for how much? She sped away before I could ask. I had the feeling that my job as a consumer was about to get much more difficult.

About Lenore Weiss

Lenore's collections include "Tap Dancing on the Silverado Trail" (2011) from Finishing Line Press, “Sh’ma Yis’rael” (2007) from Pudding House Publications, and "Cutting Down the Last Tree on Easter Island" (West End Press, 2012). Her writing has won recognition from Poets&Writers (finalist in California Voices contest) and as a finalist for Pablo Neruda Prize, Nimrod International Journal. The Society for Technical Communication has recognized her work regarding Technical Literacy in the schools. All material is copyrighted on this site and cannot be used without the author's permission.
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