If tasting 'regular' frozen pizza requires reduced expectations, then tasting frozen 'cheeze' pizzas might be termed an exercise in complete and utter futility. So, let's cut to the chase. What's the point?
'taste tests' on Serious Eats
I'll be honest: I didn't grow up eating ranch dressing outside of the occasional bag of Cool Ranch Doritos (this was back before they were "Cooler"), and I've personally never developed much of a taste for it. That said, there's a reason why it's the number one selling flavor of bottled dressing in America. Creamy, fatty, and tangy, it coats even the dullest-tasting leaf of iceberg lettuce or the most underdeveloped pizza crust with a salty, herbal tang. Instant flavor, just shake, squeeze, eat, and repeat. So which bottled dressing is the best?
As I remember it, the world of dippable snacks was simpler when I was a kid. There were perhaps a half dozen brands of salsa on supermarket shelves. Your options were pretty much limited to mild, medium, or hot. Tostitos if you like it sweet and tomato-sauce-y, or Newman's Own if you prefer black pepper, charity, and mustaches. Want cheese sauce? Unless you were willing to drive out to Fuddruckers, that'd either be Velveeta or Cheez Whiz. Take your pick.
There are certain times in life when convenience trumps all, and that's where jarred pasta sauces come in. As it turns out, celebrity chefs are tuned into this urge and are capitalizing on it by releasing their own branded tomato sauces. Our question is simple: how do these celebrity-brand pasta sauces stack up?
Homemade eggnog can be a delicious thing, enriched with fresh eggs and cream, a careful grating of nutmeg, and just the right amount of sugar. (Plus a dunked cookie or two.) But mixing it up yourself can seem a little daunting (and holiday entertaining already has you frazzled). So you're just going to pick up a carton at the grocery store. But which brand should you buy? We recently conducted a blind taste test to figure out which is the best nationally-available brand of premade eggnog.
"There were definitely two winners, and two that would require a lot more beer-drinking." Clockwise from top left: Pizza Hut, Papa John's, Domino's, Little Caesars. [Photographs: Robyn Lee] Since pizza is right up there with wings and guacamole as far as Super Bowl cuisine goes, we ordered pepperoni pizzas from the four big nationwide chains (Little Caesars, Pizza Hut, Papa John's and Domino's) to find the tastiest. Why pepperoni? Because most people order pizza with at least one topping and pepperoni is the most popular one in the U.S....
We cruised the freezer aisle to taste a bunch of widely available brands of veggie burgers to find the most edible. No cows were harmed in this tasting—but many soybeans were.
It's time for another round of The Food Lab. Got a suggestion for an upcoming topic? Email Kenji here, and he'll do his best to answer your queries in a future post. [Photographs: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt] Just as the jocks like to stick together and nerds travel in packs, obsessives bordering on the psychotic (like me) seek out the acquaintance of others like themselves, in a manner that some say borders on the, well, the obsessive. The first time I heard that the mineral content of water might have an effect on the properties of bread dough was about eight...