The Bear Market: Costco Take-N-Bake Pizza

We could pretend that going to the supermarket is a new kind of adventure now that times are tight. Shopping trips become infinitely more exciting when you add the element of mental calculation. It's almost like going on The Price is Right, except without Bob Barker. How much food can you get for 20 bucks and can you improve over last week's shopping trip? Can you keep track of which items are cheaper at Schnucks and which are a better deal at Target? Is the superior taste of the name-brand over the generic worth the 50 extra cents? Is anything really worth a trip to Whole Foods? And would it be just better to bag the whole cooking thing and eat out?

Gut Check is always pleased to come across a good, cheap meal and especially pleased to let our readers know about it. There is no reason to resort to vintage Depression cuisine unless, of course, you really, sincerely dig split pea soup. And so we proudly present The Bear Market.

Our most recent discovery is the Take-N-Bake Pizza at Costco. At first we were suspicious. Like everything else at Costco, this thing is enormous, an eighteen-inch, four-pound monster. In our past experience (ravioli, rotisserie chicken), at Costco you get more food than taste. And the seven-dollar price tag did not augur well.

But once we wrestled our pepperoni pizza out of the oven -- after an overnight stay in our refrigerator, which necessitated a great deal of rearranging -- we were quite pleasantly surprised. The crust was a nice combination of crispy and chewy, the cheese (mozzerella) did not bake into anything resembling plastic and the sauce tasted more like sauce than like ketchup. In our humble opinion, it tasted better than most frozen pizza we've tried and better than most of the delivery chains as well.

In short: It's the best enormous seven-dollar pizza we've ever had.

Downside: You have to be a member of Costo to get it.

- Aimee Levitt

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