Much to my chagrin, I found myself, not long ago, walking past a freezer full of frozen pizzas. Alert as always, I noticed that some of the pizzas on display featured a “self-rising crust.” The logical concomitant of this fact was, of course, that, while the self-rising pizza is somehow the cause of its own expansion, other pizzas have a crust that needs to be inflated, as it were, manually.
So I set out to investigate, and found that my conjecture was accurate: the other pizzas, the non-self-rising pizzas, came equipped with a small and unobtrusive valve, the user being required to inflate the pizza properly during the baking process. Naturally, I was possessed by an immediate and invincible desire to try this out.
My first experiments with an inflatable pizza used a bicycle pump, but I found this method to have two serious flaws: First, the pizza tended to inflate too quickly and become spherical, which caused the cheese to roll off the pizza and onto the floor of the oven. (This was, however, not entirely bad, as the cheese—I use the term loosely—on many frozen pizzas is better left uneaten.) And second, the pizza had an even more pronounced rubbery taste than is typical of the frozen pizza. In fact, if I had closed my eyes, I might have thought I was eating a bicycle tire with a little tomato sauce.
The obvious next step was to find the authentic and proper tool: the pizza inflator. Luckily, having returned to the scene of my first encounter with the frozen pizzas, I found another freezer lurking nearby, full of pizza pumps. Making a quick exit and returning home with my new purchase, I found that, as in many cases, the proper tool makes all the difference: pizza inflated with a pizza inflator was nearly edible.
Not content to end on that only partly appetizing note, I made one last experiment with my pizza inflator. If, thought I, the bicycle pump imparts a bicycle-tire-like flavor to a pizza, might it not be the case that the pizza inflator will impart a pizza-like-flavor to a bicycle tire? Having made the experiment, I can only report the results as follows: “No.” Far from causing a bicycle tire to become savory, crisp, and delicious, or even bland, soggy, and mildly repulsive, the bicycle tire inflated with the pizza inflator tastes exactly like burnt rubber.1
“Macaroni and Cheese Pizza,” by Jonathunder. CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.
“Air Pump 1,” by Shanel. The New Student’s Reference Work. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.
- This is the case whether the tire is baked before, during, or after inflation. ↩