GOODFELLA’S THE SMILER PIZZA
I’ve been eating takeaways for 62 consecutive days. I can’t remember the last thing I cooked. I haven’t done any washing up in 3 years. I’m pretty sure I’m ageing faster than I was before. I’ve only shampooed my hair twice in 2014. I didn’t think I’d be the proud owner of a single giant dreadlock by the age of 48 but look at me now, Ma! I’ve got more bits in my teeth than I have pounds in the bank. When I blow against the mirror, as I often do, condensation does not form. I sold my soul for 8 onion rings. I just received a letter from Just-Eat to wish me a happy 100th Birthday. My hands were so feeble and jittery that I had to smoosh the envelope in an indoor puddle until it wept open. All of my friends have died or stepped slowly away. Even Lady Legend has deserted me; she’s gone on a sabbatical to York. There are fewer takeaways in York than there is in Manchester, I said. She said she wanted a break from it all. You’re better than this, she said. “I’ll come back when you’re better”. That was 12 years ago this week.
I’ve seen takeaways come and go. I’ve never stepped inside one, of course, but I’ve greeted thousands of their delivery drones. I say greeted, there was no exchange other than the ritualistic handing over of plastic bag to plastic man. Did I mention that my skin has turned to plastic? It’s great! The hot water cut off to our flat about 36 months ago, I pan bathed it for a while but the hours-long process infringed awkwardly with my tight eating schedule. I’ve not washed since and my skin has grown thicker and now repels any moisture. I’m made up! I’m as matt as the casing of a babybel! I might actually be a waxwork of my former self. I’m afraid I might be achieving perfection.
The doctor just rang and said I would surely die if I visited the Just-Eat website again this week. B-but doc…it’s my favourite website! Can I not even go on just to read the customer reviews? “Especially not to read the customer reviews!” he said “You’re wasting time at a rate of knots. Your diet is the worst I’ve ever seen. You’re retracting like a mechanical pencil. You barely resemble a human anymore!”
Well, it has been 16 years since I even looked at a raw vegetable. I mean, I did leave the house once. I didn’t like it though. I prefer my websites. I’m a websites kind of guy! It’s 2036 for fun’s sake! Why can a guy not just be a websites guy! Why does he STILL have to prove himself in the world? Is this not the MODERN world? Every time my phone rings I want to throw it against the wall. I don’t own a phone for taking calls, are you crazy!? Email me people! EMAIL!
Last time I left the house in 1952 I remember there was this really happening shop called Tesco Extra. It was hep man, it was severely heppening! All the hep cats went there. The cats on the tills? All beat poets. I’d get my jive turkey from there every Christmas! Whatever happened to that place, man? You know what the world needs now? Tesco Extra, baby. It’s the new religion, brother, you dig? Shiiiit if there was a Tesco Extra I’d never even need to go on the Just-Eat website ever again!
Tesco Extra is back?
They rebooted that shit!?
Oh snap. TAXI!
If I was to truly kick the takeaway trend and get my feet back under the chopping board, then I’d need to start off slow. I’d need to trick my stomach’s brain into thinking it was still Mardi Gras every day. There’s this great new aisle that I’d heard about in the modern day Tesco Extra. It was called “the frozen pizza aisle” and as soon as I heard about it I knew, I just knew.
I saddled up in my mobility scooter and my eyes glazed over from the almost illegal display of frozen pizzas before me. They had 3 for £6! They had 2 for £4! They had buy one get one! All the makes and flavours. I’d never seen anything like it. Deep pan, thin pan, no pan, stuffed crust, bust crust, trust fund, bus musk. Where does one start? Where does one begin? I clocked a fellow human, nay three humans, out of the periphery of my telescope. I hung back and observed the collective, they’d been here before. Two of the humans were 1/3 scale and were tugging anxiously at the coat-tails of the full-size human. Fascinating. They peeled back the freezer door; an atmospheric puff of dry ice clouded their selection momentarily, and then…the reveal. Tesco Value cheese and tomato pizza x4. What. Are you kidding me? You had all this choice and you went for plain? I’ve not been here in 78 years and even I know you’ve gotta go for the one with the biggest chutzpah! The flashiest flash bulbs! The zootiest! Rootin! Tootinest! Tesco Value cheese and tomato? I doubt that even has a GCSE in personality. You might as well go home and gorge on my teetering plinth of grease stained pizza boxes. I’m going all out! Out of my way you philistines! I’ve seen enough!
I picked Goodfella’s limited edition “The Smiler Pizza”. I’ll be honest, I picked it because it had such a weird name. I barely clocked what was actually on it. The Smiler? Why the hell is it called that? Have they gone mad? I saw it had a “three chilli” HOT rating on the box and the Smiler graphic suggested a crazed individual with swirling bottomless pools of hell for eyes. Does hot make you mad? Yes, sort of. Does hot make you a smiler? Umm, no? Maybe a grimace, a gritting of teeth but I wouldn’t say it makes you a smiler? What is a smiler?? WHYYYYYYYY. The smiler riddle was bouncing around my head the entire way home. It was only when I reached base and looked at the box again that it became apparent that The Smiler was probably a new ride at Alton Towers judging from the heavy Alton Towers endorsements peppered all over the box. I refuse to look it up to find out if I’m right. I’m disappointed as it is that “The Smiler” has some rooting in a tangible “thing”. I hactually wouldn’t have bought it if I’d known of the association. Boo.
The description reads “Deep pan baked pizza with spicy sausage, pan fried onions and jalapenos”. Sounds alright dunnit. Not really a deep pan guys these days though to be honoured. I prefer a thin and crispy ristorante pizza. Still, I heard Jamie Oliver sessin that deep pan was making a comeback a few months ago so ever since I’ve been open to getting on the bandwagon. Cooking time was a whopping 25 minutes from frozen. What the. I’ll be dead by then. Have pizza express pizzas ruined our concentration spans with their positively rapid 8-10 minute cooking times? 25 minutes is like the lifespan of a small insignificant insect or animal. 25 minutes is at least a couple of dog years. Still, it gave me time to iron the tablecloth and light a mood setting candle…for one.
Pizza popped out looking cooked but not great. It was certainly not three chillis hot. It wasn’t even one chilli hot. This is a bind of mine at the moment following Dorito’s Jalapeno Fire review. All these products coming out saying they’re going to blow your socks off and they barely even lift your wig, let alone flip it. Surely the microwave mouths of this great nation can handle a bit of pep? Must we be baby fed spice from our ready meal and snack overlords? I’m starting to think that the technology isn’t out there to insert heat into our pre-packaged foodstuffs. I don’t mean to be cynical but sometimes I despair.
The base was like a scorched mattress of cardboard boxes, a real bread fest. The toppings were barely there at all. The jalapenos had been drained of their life force somehow, the spicy sausage was under-seasoned and tasted of wet pig arse, and the pan fried onions were meh incarcerated.
The back of the box states,
“T4I5 P1ZZA W1LL M4RMAL1SE YOUR BODY”
It certainly did not. If anything it m4rmal1sed my hopes and dreams for any pre-prepared foodstuffs not appearing from a plastic bag from a stranger. The back of the box goes on to suggest that following the taste/emotional rollercoaster that the eater will “BELONG TO THE SMILER”. Initially I was open to belonging to The Smiler when I didn’t know what it was or what was going on. My hopes were high going in; if only for the packaging, which on closer inspection caused irreversible dream dashing.
It didn’t need to be great but it did need to break my takeaway cycle, I suppose, which it did! So that’s great and I feel great. I’m getting colour back in my cheeks and dew is returning to the brow of my head, arms and legs. I might go for a run! Off a short pier! I haven’t spoken today. Am I dead? If I’m dead it feels great! And even if I’m not dead, life is great!