Several weeks back, I went into a local retaurant supply house to buy some pizza sauce. They had a few different brands, and when I went up to the counter, I asked the guy what I thought might be an inappropriate question, but I figured "nothing ventured, nothing gained". I asked him if any of the local pizza joints bought their supplies here, and if so, what do they use for sauce and cheese?
He said that most of them have their foodstuffs shipped directly to them, but from time to time they'll run low and stop in to buy a few things to tide them over to the next shipment. "But I'll tell you exactly what they buy" he said. "They buy the absolute cheapest that they can get."
This made sense sort of, but I had to wonder why their pizza always tasted so good, and why was I not able to replicate it.
Last night, I went kayaking with a few friends. Once we were finished, we went over to this local bar for beer and pizza. The pizza tasted great. So I spent a little time analyzing the components. Crust? Nothing remarkable - just barroom pan crust. The sauce - not very tomato-ey, a little sweet. The cheese - well, lots and lots of it, but it was pretty flavorless.
But then it occurred to me what it was. I was surrounded with good friends, drinking good beer, having the pizza served to me rather than having to make it, and we were having a terrific time. And it occurred to me that THIS is why the "pizza joint" pizza is so good. It's not the pizza - it's the environment.