You ever have one of those nights where you just don’t feel like cooking? Last night was “that night”. I sometimes stroll through the frozen section looking at the frozen prepackaged meals to get a little inspiration, then set off to collect ingredients for my version of whatever frozen hell I just left. Since I wasn’t that hungry, (because of a late lunch) nothing really sparked my enthusiasm.
Determined to go home and pick at leftovers, I headed for the door. Just as I was about to leave the frozen aisle something caught my eye, a bag of Combination flavored Totino’s Pizza Rolls. SCOOOORE!!! BOBBY ORR!!!….in my head all I could hear was John Cusick the play by play announcer for the Boston Bruins in the early seventies?! What the…
I remember being a kid in Worcester, MA and my father would have friends over to watch the Bruins play. One of the go to favorites was Totino’s. I remember them coming out of the oven, and aside from being almost crunchy in texture, they were also lava hot and had a ton of flavor. Nice hunks of pepperoni, a nice sausage flavor and gooey cheese. It was a test of will’s putting one in your mouth for the first five minutes or so.
So I bought a bag, and filled with nostalgia…headed for home. I cooked them as instructed for the oven (is there any other way?!) and like a kid looking through the window on a rainy day, just waiting for them to be done. Scanning through the channels I looked for a Bruins game, then any game…Oh crap! I then remembered that hockey is coming off the All-Star break, so no hockey. Just then the oven timer sounded….it won’t be the same without hockey, but the taste alone will sure bring back some great memories. I peeked back through the window and waited another minute or so until I caught one just starting to spill its guts (guts term, compliments of Robyn Lee)…the magic moment had arrived!
I fixed myself a drink and headed for the living room. Now mind you, I have had Totino’s since the Bruin’s 71’-72’ season. Maybe as often as twice a year, but I’ll level with you kind people if you promise to keep this between us. Whenever I find myself eating pizza rolls, it’s usually because I’m looking to counteract my medicine. (Pointing at a bottle of Jameson) So, I can’t say that my palate would have been what one might call…”sharp.” “How far back” you ask?… I’d say, in or around 1987. So now, with a clear mind and palate… I grabbed my plate.
OK, so here comes the battle of mind over lava. I have a particular way of eating pizza rolls that I have developed over the years, designed to prevent the flash searing and instant blistering of the skin on the roof of my mouth. I pinch the pizza roll guts towards one end, and like a tube of toothpaste out they come. This saves you from doing the “Curly” while eating them. Then I eat the pizza roll “shell” as it were, after.
The first problem was, neither was very good by itself. So I decided to try eating them the way I used to when I was a kid by biting one down through the middle. Keep in mind I had only eaten one at this point and they had been out of the oven perhaps 3 minutes tops. Biting down through the middle was more or less hot, but not scalding as I had remembered. Problem number two, the texture was off, more spongy than crunchy. Also, I actually think they are smaller than they used to be. Maybe because either I have sausage fingers now, or had tiny tyrannosaurus rex kid’s hand back then.
I tried a few more trying to get my taste buds around something that didn’t resemble pepperoni, sausage or even cheese…I don’t know what the cheese tasted like, as it all more or less tasted the same. Like spaghetti sauce cooked by someone who had never heard of spaghetti sauce, based on a recipe by someone who had never tasted spaghetti sauce before. I read the package and found that there is no real cheese or real anything else for that matter…..ugggh! On top of that…trans-fat, 1gram every 6 rolls…Yaaaay Suckville!
I ate a few more as I thought about how they had changed. I ate them in silence remembering how disappointed my father was when I told him I was a Montreal fan, and only now realizing this is how he must have felt. The one thing that I thought I could count on, to remind me of those Bruins games with my dad…were gone forever…
Or at least until the next time I’ve had one too many Jameson’s and The Cat is walking around in a Bruin’s jersey talking smack … Vive Les Habitants!