Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Yes, I really did eat that

Everybody has seen something on TV or the internet that they just can't believe. A new entry in this category for me is the current Pizza Hut campaign for their Tuscani pastas and lasagna. I saw the commercials (often in fast forward thanks to DVR) and just couldn't fathom any Italian enjoying anything from Pizza Hut. (If you somehow haven't seen them, click here.) So I tried some. We ordered the lasagna and the chicken alfredo.

First impression of the lasagna: As visually appealing as the lasagna in my elementary school cafeteria. Even if a perfect piece was cut for me it would still look slightly inferior to Stouffer's frozen version. I'm not Italian, but have spent a little time in Tuscany and throughout Italy (and my dad makes the most robust and flavorful lasagna around), and I know that no Italian would ever be fooled into thinking this was authentic Tuscan cuisine, nor Italian of any kind for that matter. That's just from the look of it. I haven't even taken a bite yet.

One rule of thumb for food: If it doesn't look tasty it probably isn't. In this case that rule definitely held true. The lasagna was an amorphous mass of tomato sauce and limp noodles with a bland (even for ricotta) ricotta. The vaguely burned mozzarella on top made me regret ever thinking that I had been wrong, and maybe Italians actually went into a restaurant called "Tuscani" and felt this was a fair representation of lasagna. It also left me with a dry salty taste in my mouth which made me think preservatives.

The chicken alfredo (featured in an earlier commercial shot in New York) doesn't even warrant mention. But I will anyway. It was just plain bad. Bland sauce on floppy spiral noodles and maybe six ounces of chicken in the whole huge tray. Oh, and the same salty, parched sensation.

The commercials are clever in using the term "real people." This ambiguous statement makes you believe they aren't actors, while never stating either way.

Just another example of great advertising. Hey, it got me to try it.

Brian William Waddell is a foodie, beer geek, and author. His numerous blog posts range from food to politics. He also has a book of poetry, Fractured Prose, available here, and is ready to publish his second poetic endeavor.

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