Artisinal. Old world. Coal-fired. Rustic.
These words conjure up images of the types of pies rolling out of chic, neighborhood-themed pizza spots that millennials frequent in cities across the country. You know, where young thundercats can wash down their prosciutto and cremini-topped creations with pints of Urban 312 and feel, if only for a few minutes, refined.
I’m not saying I’m not ’bout that life. Man, I am. I am most certainly ’bout that life. There’s just something fulfilling about dropping $20 on an organic flavor bomb and plunging into hipster-inspired bliss.
But, I’m a man after my own roots. Small Town, USA, baby. Ballgames, barbecues, and weekend trips to Costco. There’s something intrinsically American about launching an all-out family assault on the neighborhood Costco. Moreover, there is nothing better than capping off our bulk-buying odyssey with a big, monstrous slice of Costco pizza.
The Greeks sang songs of it on the steps of the Acropolis. Alexander sought its mystical origins amongst the plains of central Asia. The pharaohs of old paid it homage upon the walls of their sand-blasted tombs.
Indeed, Costco pizza occupies its own culinary pantheon.
What is it, then, that I revere about Costco pizza? Why the allure? There’s nothing special going on behind the scenes. I mean, folks don’t end up in the Costco kitchens because they bunked with Gordon Ramsay or missed the final cut on Chopped.
They are certainly not playing with game-changing ingredients. I highly doubt that the sauce they use is made from Roma tomatoes imported from Italy. Duck confit isn’t finding its way onto the menu any time soon.
Seriously, what’s the deal?
I don’t have an answer. I’m all emotions on this one. Costco pizza speaks to me, almost on a molecular level. It reminds me that, for all my progress, for as much as I may find comfort in my modicum of professional success, I am still, at my core, a simple American who holds to the dream of life, liberty, and the pursuit of cheap eats.
How else is one supposed to consummate purchasing $100 worth of bulk goods than by throwing molten cheese and pepperoni in his face? That gallon tub of soy sauce and the lawn chair I just bought? They deserve to be celebrated.
Vikings feasted to their conquests for days on end after laying the smack-down on their blood enemies. True, I’m not sipping hooch from a bullhorn or roasting mutton on a spit. Instead, think of my Visa card as my sword and that baby-sized slice I’m crushing as tribute to the victory feast.
I suppose, ultimately, it’s nostalgia that always pulls me back into that line just beyond checkout. Hunger, yes, but nostalgia as well. Memories of a simpler time in a calmer, quieter version of Virginia. Memories of a kid, his Saturday afternoon and the opportunity to eat his body weight in pizza.
It would be impossible to do this now. I’m 240 pounds. Physically speaking, it would be impossible to eat that much in a single sitting. Also, absolutely pointless.
But I enjoy those moments, those fleeting minutes drenched in afternoon sunlight, spilling in through the bay doors when I wipe the grease from my face and smile in gluttonous satisfaction.
That’s not just pizza — it’s the taste of freedom. Simple, no nonsense sovereignty. I may travel far and eat designer pies topped with everything from sea salt to free range, hormone-free, genetically reengineered mastodon, but always will I come home to my first love. Always will I break bread at that old, familiar table.
Costco pizza: a love eternal..