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Pat Eats Garbage Food: Freschetta better than DiGiorno, worse than actually liking yourself

freschetta pizza

The Freschetta Naturally Rising Crust Pepperoni Pizza. At least it’s better than DiGiorno.

I love newspaper food pages, what with their Bolognese sauce recipes and reviews of locavore bistros. They tell us how to eat well, and that’s something of real value. Putting thought into what we put in our bodies is never a bad thing.

That said, sometimes I just wanna grab some garbage food and shove greedy handfuls of it into my dumb face. There’s not much coverage of junk food in the food pages, and this feature seeks to remedy that.

In every biweekly edition of Pat Eats Garbage Food, I’ll review a different fast food item or convenience store snack and let you know what works and what doesn’t. (You’ll note I didn’t say what’s good and what’s bad; it’s all bad. That’s the point.)

The food: This week we turn our eyes and bellies toward the frozen food aisle, where we find the Freschetta Naturally Rising Crust Pepperoni Pizza, the flagship pie of the Freschetta brand and my own personal go-to frozen pizza. In the mid-1990s, this pie, along with the similar (and somehow more popular despite its serious cardboard-y crust) one made by DiGiorno, represented the vanguard of the frozen-pizza arts. Advances in lonely-person food technology in the intervening two decades notwithstanding, it remains among the best ways to put, like, three meals worth of terrible food into your belly for five bucks.

The damage: It was $5 on sale at Safeway. The nonsale price is $7.99, but that’s misleading. I’ve bought an embarrassing number of these over the years — almost certainly in the hundreds — and the Freschetta Naturally Rising Crust Pepperoni is never not on sale. It’s been a five-buck pizza for a long time, and if there is indeed a god in heaven it will be a five-buck pizza as long as this rock we call Earth keeps spinning.

The other damage: 330 calories, 13 grams fat, 6 grams saturated fat, 30 mg cholesterol, 770 mg sodium, 14 grams protein, per serving. Each serving is one-sixth of the pizza. I usually eat three servings, or half a pizza, at lunch and then the other three servings as a midnight snack. I often forget to refrigerate the second half and eat it anyway. I don’t recommend this. But sometimes it’s fine. Sometimes.

Official description: From, “You know the whole family will come running once the scent of zesty pepperoni fills the air. Better make two just in case.”

■ My description: “Make two just in case”? Because of the “whole family”? This is labor-free sustenance for sad loners, we’re talking about here. They’re perfect for eating in bed with four beers and, like, eight episodes of “The Simpsons.” Family? Get out of here with that nonsense.

How does it feel? Like resignation. Like you know you could go out and get a better pizza from a pizzeria or even make one yourself. But you’re tired, and honestly you don’t think you deserve anything that nice. So Freschetta it is.

Will I eat it again? Oh, definitely. Yeah.

Overall rating: 7 out of 10. If you want a lot of food that isn’t the very worst food but still isn’t great, and you want it for $5, this is the pizza for you.

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