Monday, 6 December 2004

Groceries and the regulatory state

I somehow managed to purchase two frozen pizzas (“Dano’s Gourmet”—I always trust pizza from a company named after a character on Hawaii Five-O) at Winn-Dixie last week, and, upon cooking the first, I discovered to my horror that in lieu of actual mozzarella cheese, one of the toppings on the pizza is called “mozzarella cheese substitute blend.”

My question: should I be annoyed at the regulatory state for its failure to ban fake cheese from the frozen pizza market (i.e. its failure to act in the Carolene Products vein), or should I be annoyed at the regulatory state for its lulling me into a false sense of security—a belief that I wouldn’t be sold a pizza with fake cheese on it—which led me not to check the ingredients until I got home?

Or, should I be annoyed at Winn-Dixie for stocking this crap and take my grocery business to Kroger or Brookshire’s or McDade’s or Super Wal-Mart? (I’d add New Deal to this list, but I’m leery of any supermarket whose primary selling point in its weekly ads is that ”$19.99 feeds your family meat for a week.” Plus, I generally make it a matter of principle to avoid stores named after government programs…)


Any views expressed in these comments are solely those of their authors; they do not reflect the views of the authors of Signifying Nothing, unless attributed to one of us.

I guess that all depends on how it tasted.
Which, I note, you don’t mention.


On the order of the worst pizza I’ve ever had. Maybe even worse.

[Permalink] 3. David Andersen wrote @ Mon, 6 Dec 2004, 5:10 pm CST:

The question is not ”at whom should I be annoyed?” but rather ”whom should I sue first?

[Permalink] 4. mungowitz wrote @ Mon, 6 Dec 2004, 6:37 pm CST:

Get off Chris’s back, you guys!

He asks exactly the right questions. The regulatory state needs either to fish or cut cheese. The WORST state of the world is where we have Uncle Nanny chasing us about with an icy cold rectal thermometer, and yet we still have to study the ingredients on a pizza box carefully.

At least we ought to get good nannying for our nanny dollars.

The point about Winn Dixie is a tough one. I’m guessing that the pizza was pretty competitive on price.

Just think of the commercials: “It’s not delivery. It’s Dano’s!”
(Grandma gags on the substitute pizza blend)
Steve McGarret bursts in. “Another successful sting. Stupid consumers. Book ‘em, Dano. Bad Pizza One.”


Sounds like you got a pizza that coulda been named after a government program. Does “Balance Agriculture With Industry” ring a bell?

[Permalink] 6. David S Andersen wrote @ Mon, 6 Dec 2004, 8:31 pm CST:

Sheesh Mungowitz, your missing my cha- point -ching.

I’d say the question of whether or not Mr. Lawrence asks the right question is the response to this question “how fast do you want to get rich?” Nanny-state, schmanny-state; an opportunity for get-rich-quick exists in yet another industry and I for one am taking advantage of it after missing the gilded big asbestos, big gelatinous bosoms, and big tobacco chariots.

After serving the Dano pies at my next dinner party, I’ll recoil in horror at the mock cheese contents and initiate a class-action lawsuit against Dano, Winn-Dixie, and the CSPI for my disappointment and mental anguish. It’s the American Way.


Wouldn’t sovereign immunity pretty much nip any lawsuit against the regulatory state in the bud? If not, surely I don’t have standing (as a mere taxpayer who’s paying for the program).

The idea of suing the CSPI food police, however, seems like an excellent plan worth pursuing. Where’s Scipio when I need him?


”...$19.99 feeds your family meat for a week.” Lordy, the syntactical snafus keep on coming don’t they? Surely it means that the amount provides one week’s worth of meat for your family, but say it out with a different intonation and it could imply feeding for a week “the family meat” (which in this case may be a livestock animal, a child laborer, a hussy, or a body builder, your pick).

Oh. As for the amount, though. Our meat costs for this extended family of seven (not counting myself) is about $60 a week, and that’s from Costco. Personally I cost about $16 of chicken and $17 of beef weekly… but hey isn’t TMI a lovely thing? ;)


Here’s the New Deal slogan, in all its glory, for you doubting-Thomases out there.


Remind me to take you at your word every time, man. That looks like depression-era aid all right.


You can tell which frozen pizzas have real cheese and which ones don’t by looking for the little “real dairy” symbol on the box. If it doesn’t have it on there, assume it’s Memorex.

While I understand your point about the severe irony behind the expansive nanny-state flopping at something so simple as defending against fake pizza, you don’t literally have to read the ingredients list to avoid that. Besides, w/ the usual inconsistency among frozen pizza makers, real cheese doesn’t necessarily mean it’s any good…

I’ve had my share of bad pizzas that had 100% from-the-cow cheese on ‘em. The problem is usually either not enough cheese, bland sauce (Tombstone is notorious for calling ketchup w/ basil in it “pizza sauce”), or an ill-conceived crust. So far the only brand I’ve ran across that avoided these is Digiorno, I could practically do commercials for them if it weren’t for my love of making my own pizza.

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