A potentially career-ending piece for the Guardian on Pizza Hut’s hot dog stuffed crust
Those Americans who think of Britain as a backward food desert are this week eating their words. For we are the first to experience Pizza Hut’s latest wheeze, the “hot dog stuffed crust” – a sausage coddled in the crust of a large pizza. (Don’t all start hieing ye to your nearest branches just yet: it’s delivery only at the moment.) The Sun understatedly calls this creation “the stuff of dreams”. Fox News and the LA Times deem us “lucky” to be so honoured. No less an organ than Time magazine hails a “caloric coma”, and in an existential cri de coeur, laments that Britain is “one step ahead in the heart-attack-in-a-box department”. How, it wonders, can America “redeem its title as most unhealthy country … Come on Paula Deen, where are you when we need you the most?”
It was Pizza Hut, you may remember, who unleashed the stuffed crust on to a peaceful world in the distant 1990s. They got that discriminating gastronome Donald Trump to flog it; Trumpy barked that we had to eat the slices “crust first”. (A Brooklyn family who owned a patent for crust-stuffing sued Pizza Hut for $1bn at the time; they lost the lawsuit in 1999 (pdf).) You’d have thought that mucking around once with crusts would be enough for these people. But no. “The new range,” gushes a spokesman, “builds on our proud tradition of creating innovative dishes to enjoy on a night in with friends.”
I hadn’t eaten a Pizza Hut in around a decade, since I worked in one during the school holidays. I remembered frozen discs of dough which we sprayed with a canister of “developer” so that they rose like boils in the pans. I remembered lumps of beef and pork distinguished by different shades of brown. I remembered sloppy tinned pineapple and anchovies that smelled of infection. Hopes were low.