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Saturday, April 19, 2014
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Published: 4/16/2013

Don't call me crazy

BY DANIEL NEMAN
BLADE COLUMNIST

Um, no thanks.

Pizza Hut has just released its brand new product, Crazy Cheesy Crust. The idea is that the pizza makers pull out tendrils of dough, forming a crust with a kind of sunburst pattern, and then dump five kinds of cheese on top of them.

It is supposed to be a temporary promotion, lasting just six weeks to three months, depending on how well it is received. Of course, another temporary promotion, for stuffed crust pizza, began in 1995 and is still going strong today. It has its own Facebook page with, as of this writing, 15,316 "likes."

I am tempted to guess that it also has, as of this writing, 15,316 calories.

One slice of the Cheesy Crazy Crust pizza with pepperoni actually weighs in at 390 calories (and 910 mg of sodium, which might be even more alarming). That's not too bad, if you're only eating one slice and plenty of vegetables, preferably steamed. But I don't know of anyone over the age of 10 (and under, say, 70 or 75) who only eats one slice of pizza.

I'm sure the Cheesy Crazy Crust will be popular, perhaps even immensely popular. For many people, pizza is, as New York magazine once called it, a "cheese-delivery system." To them, more cheese only means better pizza.

One of my closest friends says she could eat pizza for every meal, and some weeks I'm pretty sure she has. Her other favorite food is cheese. I haven't asked, but I'm guessing she has already had the Cheesy Crazy Crust pizza a minimum of five times already. And she doesn't even like Pizza Hut.

But as for me: Um, no thanks.

In theory, at least, I myself am fond of cheesy pizza. I spent a ruinously large amount of time when I was in college at the local Chicago-style stuffed pizza emporium (Edwardo's, please, not Giordano's. I do have my standards).

Stuffed pizza, if you haven't had the exquisite pleasure, is a thin crust on the bottom and a thin crust on top, topped with a scant layer of tomato sauce. In between the two crusts is a large amount of melted cheese mixed with cheese, and some cheese added in. You can also get a filling flavor mixed in, which for me was almost always spinach because it was, you know, healthy. It also happened to taste sublime with the cheese and the buttery crusts and the tomatoes and more cheese.

I haven't been able to track down the nutritional information for a large slice of Edwardo's stuffed spinach pizza, but one of their six-inch pizzas is said to contain 1,080 calories, according to fatsecret.com. Giordano's, which is similar (as is PizzaPapalis, locally), is said to have either 500 or 550 calories for a single slice, depending on whom you ask.

Of course, a single one of those stuffed slices is pretty huge — seven ounces. But never underestimate the hunger of a hungry college student. One night, I ate five slices and lived to tell the tale. And yes, I did just do the math on how many calories that was, and yes, I am appalled.

I am older now, and wiser, and heavier, and somewhat less hungry. Which might be why you won't find me in the line for Cheesy Crazy Crust. Nor, if I happen to be at a Pizza Hut in the Middle East, will you find me in a line for a Crown Crust Carnival pizza.

Apparently believing that people are living too darned long, the restaurant chain has spread its waist-spreading ways to the Middle East. There, junk food lovers can feed on pizza crusts stuffed with fried chicken tenders or mini-cheeseburgers (I'm guessing they don't sell the cheeseburger crusts in Israel). Naturally, the pizzas are also topped with more fried chicken tenders ("laced with barbecue sauce") or beef.

My jaw literally dropped when I saw an ad for it, and not in a good way. But I think I was even more shocked when I learned of the pizza they brought to the United Kingdom after years of success in Thailand and Japan: Pizza with hot dogs stuffed into the crust.

Thank you, no. I'm good.

Contact Daniel Neman at dneman@theblade.com or 419-724-6155.



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