September 3, 2010

6th Degrees of separation: Michel Gutsatz, Via Roma Pizza, Steve Jobs, Truman, Willy Wonka, and My Coffee and Me

“Each of these private brands was structured like a real national brand: they carry a story, have a strong graphic identity ... and are presented mostly as independent sales displays, giving them even more impact. Via Roma is in this respect, a real success: it conveys authenticity, proximity, fun ... and not the nth 'Italian brand" of the market (all the visuals are pictures of the inhabitants of an Italian village” — okay, stop right here, unless you’re into marketing strategies and product branding, in which case you’d want to go to both the picture's and quote’s source, Michel Gutsatz, a Brand Strategy Consultant. Otherwise, let’s keep it plain and simple and stick to the real topic here, which is food.

I’m going to assume that Friday night is pizza night for most Americans regardless of ethnicity, unless you’re out partying with one hand clasped around a Heineken’s neck and the other too busy raising the roof in some nightclub. So, this evening led me to A&P in search of some wholesome pizza. Okay, two points need clarifying. One, I know that wholesome and pizza don’t really mesh, but please don’t knead me, I’m trying. Besides, you’d be surprised at what you’d find at the grocery aisles now, even with the usual barrage of sinful munchies that should forever be exiled from our reaches to preserve our health and will power; and yet you shouldn’t be surprised at all anymore in this day and age, especially when Steve Jobs has already unveiled what once were mere imagination and impossibilities. As an aside, I wouldn’t be too surprised either if a few years from now Apple takes over our entire planet’s kitchens, or simply the entire planet, making the tele-transport of food, or anything else for that matter, possible. Imagine instantly getting a hold of something that you ordered just seconds ago through your TV screen. And the shoes you’ve been wishing to see on your feet, yes, shoes!—imagine that!—or pizza, since we’re still very much on the topic—picture them materializing right in front of you without actually having taken a trip to the store or waited for your internet or catalog order to arrive. Again, we’re at a time when the tele-transport of things through the TV screen has just been made very possible, which quite possibly is the very next thing on the techno giant's agenda. Think of a Truman and Wonka merger; I’m not sure about Truman, but Willy would surely be proud.

My second point is that Via Roma Pizza is just simply deelish, and that’s saying a whole lot for pizza found at the grocery aisle, with it’s fresh tasting mozzarella, savory sauce, and tender whole-grain crust—if you cook it just right; I find that baking it for 20 min at 400 ends up charring it, as is the case with most directions, so ease up on it, follow your guts, and just eyeball it through the oven door around the 12th to 15th min of baking, keeping your eye just close enough to the door to see the pizza—no, we don’t want your eye getting burned itself by the hot door.

I’m quite surprised by the pizza's high quality for it’s low price of $4.99, more than I am with the whole Apple revolution, which I’m actually starting to feel a wee bit wary of— honestly, just what would be the point of going out if you could do everything right on your TV; it’s bad enough that we now have more car accidents for forgetting that we’re actually supposed to be driving the car while driving a car, instead of using our cell phones. But just what do I know. The world will continue to spin in this virtual velocity that it has already far been catapulted into. I just hope that this virtual and technological force that we’re in doesn’t implode in our faces down the road. Hopefully, the old fashioned things, even in their restored or renovated forms, will come to the rescue.

Anyway, here’s to Via Roma pizza. And maybe a glass of wine—to you, because I can't do wine. My stomach turns, so blame it on my guts. But I do coffee, anytime, all the time, on the rocks.

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