Why does everything have to be undercooked these days?

April 2nd, 2010

Nobody ever cooks things for long enough anymore. This especially seems to be true for any kind of bread product. I can’t imagine what health benefits this would have, but I’m sure the health nazis are somehow behind it.

One of the areas where this is most notable is with Italian bread. You just can’t get a good loaf of it anymore. Gone are the days of the dry, crusty Italian breads upon which many of my fondest childhood deli memories are based. This is the way that all Italian bread used to be. Don’t believe me? Here’s a little history lesson for you: Did you ever wonder why some people call subs grinders? It’s because in the earliest days of subs, they were served on whole loaves of Italian bread. The bread would be so deliciously well cooked and crispy that there would be a crunch when you’d bite into it. Sometimes it would be so firm that it’d almost be difficult to bite through it, requiring one to “grind” their teeth against it to eat their subs. I’m fortunate enough to have experienced such sandwiches, and the thought that this is no longer possible makes me so enraged that I might just have to slash my tires to make it so that I don’t drive to the nearest bakery, bust inside with a baseball bat, and do whatever feels right. Even as recently as about 5 years ago you could still get some pretty good Italian bread if you went to the right places. Those days are now gone. A few weeks ago I bought a loaf of Italian bread that made me want to hang myself. I could have soaked a bunch of tampons in a bucket of water for 10 days  and they would have a more satisfying sandwich exterior than this bread did. It was bleach white on the outside and was as malleable as silly putty. It was almost wet to the touch. I guess people are such pussies these days that they’re afraid of a loaf of bread that throws a little bit of a challenge their way. Let’s just go ahead and make everything soft and cuddly. Let’s start making knives out of cotton and bullets out of ky jelly while we’re at it too. People make me sick.

Another area in which undercooking has been a problem as of late is with pizzas. Every pizza I get lately is whiter than the KKK. The crust is always floppy and weak, barely able to support the sauce and toppings above. You can ask for your pizza to be made well done, but the people who make it will usually just ignore your request. I recently got a pizza that was so pale, doughy, and disgusting that I couldn’t bring myself to eat it. It reminded me this one time when I was a kid when I bought a slice of pre-made pizza from a convenience store and was lambasted by this guy who looked like he’d just walked off the set of one of the Godfather movies. He told me something along the lines of “What da hell are you buyin dat gawbage for? If ya threw it at a wall, it’d bounce back atcha!” With this diatribe going through my head, I decided to try a little experiment. I rolled up one of the pizza slices into a ball and took it out to my garage, then cast it toward the cement wall. It didn’t really bounce, it just sort of stuck there and slowly oozed down. Now I was disappointed on two levels. This pizza had failed as both a meal and a source of entertainment. Since then, I always make sure to check the pizza before I leave the restaurant to see if it’s well done enough and if it isn’t, I have them put it back in the oven. I don’t really feel too good about doing this though, because most people don’t want to do their jobs anymore and since I’m actually asking them to do just that, they probably get pissed off and spit on the pizza when I’m not looking. Paranoia and a love of quality pizza can be a bad combination sometimes.

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