Tag Archives: papa john’s

Better Health Care = Better Pizza, Papa John’s

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Ahhh, pizza night.

As I’ve written before, I love my pizza nights. They are sacred to me; a gasp of air in the stifling week. It’s an excuse not to cook, an opportunity for a martini, and an occasion to be a gluten; something I’m trying to do much less of these days.

One of my favorite places to order from is Papa John’s. I’m addicted to their special little seasoning packets – they’re like salty heroin – and my 4-year-old pleads for the “sweet treat” and mopes around if we order from somewhere else. Also, they have this early week special – it’s like a buy one, get one free deal or something – that’s wonderful. Oh, and also, their pizza is just plain good.

So, as news ran around today that Papa John’s would be forced to raise their prices if the Affordable Care Act – “Obamacare” –stands, I was perturbed. For a second.

See, for one thing, I hate when companies get political. I know that’s always been the case, through backroom dealings and lobbying and campaign contributions and such, but I prefer the places I patronize to be pretty nonpartisan, generally. That’s why I don’t eat at Chick-fil-A now. They were well within their rights to oppose same-sex marriage (which is antithetical to my own stance on the subject – though I fear I’ve employed a word that many on Chick-fil-A’s side won’t understand), but I feel they had a responsibility to allow that opposition to be merely implied. I don’t care that you’re closed on the Sabbath, but I do object to creating an atmosphere of hostility against gay and lesbian employees and customers, as well as the implicit endorsement of discrimination that Chick-fil-A’s leadership made.

When “Papa” John Schnatter himself announced that his opposition to Obamacare would be reflected in the total box of my online order, I was disheartened. How was I going to break it to my little girl that we could have no more sweet treats because of that mean old Papa John? I mean, I’ve got to stand on my plate of principles, after all!

According to the trade publication Pizza Marketplace, Obamacare will result in a $0.11 to $0.14 price increase per pizza, or $0.15 to $0.20 cents per order, for Papa John’s customers.

Know what? I’ll pay that. I’m OK with paying a few extra cents if it means the people preparing my food will have health care. It’s worth it to me.

One night, during a snow storm, we ordered pizza. We called ahead, and Pizza Hut said they were still delivering. Awesome. We placed the order online, and a while later, our phone rang. It was the delivery woman. She was in a Camaro, and couldn’t navigate up one of the icy hills on our road. How far were we from where she was, she wanted to know. Not far, I told her. She said she was going to hike it. I said I’d meet her half way.

I swigged some bourbon, lit a pipe, threw on a heavy overcoat and headed out into the night. We met each other on the icy road. She was nothing more than a shadow amid snowflakes; I wasn’t even sure she was human until she spoke. She asked my name. I asked hers. I signed my receipt, tripled her tip, wished her well and we went our separate ways.

Damn it, I’d be glad to pay an extra quarter if that also meant that nice lady who forwarded the snow storm could go see a doctor about the cold she got delivering my pizza. And I’ll be glad to pay a bit more so Todd, who often is prepping our pizza at Domino’s according to the little Flash “Order Tracker” graphic that pops up on the computer when we order from there, can go see someone about the carpal tunnel he’s surely developed from getting those sliced Italian sausages on the pizza just so.

If anything, the fact that these employees have been deprived of health benefits is a reflection of the fact that the cost of my pizza has been artificially low; somehow, even though my wife was herself a Domino’s employee, I overlooked the fact that my pizza was evidently being made with slave labor. I’m for an honest day’s wage for an honest day’s pizza.

So, Mr. Papa, you’re going to raise the cost of my pizza to cover Obamacare. Well, sir, I’m for it.

Though, I think there’s a bit of cost savings to be made in dispensing with those little peppercorns that I never eat, anyway.

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Appreciation: Pizza and Martinis – The Highpoint of My Week

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It is something that I try to disallow, or put off as long as I can. In the morning, my resolve is certain – not this week, probably not next. But somewhere around mid-afternoon, my willpower is exhausted and the urge is far too strong to ignore. It passes from the realm of desire to that of need; a necessity, something that simply must be.

I am fortunate to be wed to a woman who is willing to indulge this craving, so long as I humor hers, too. As we plan the menu for the week, divining seven meals from a stack of coupons and a Publix sale paper, two of the seven lines are already inked in: Spaghetti for her, pizza for me.

Lo, but it’s not simply the pizza – it’s the ritual of the evening. It isn’t just food, it’s an experience. It’s something I don’t have to cook. Something that comes when it comes. Something I don’t have to worry about. (I’m a man who needs more things to not worry about.)

For some families, it’s family game night. For others, it’s family movie night. In our abode, the highpoint of the week (so far as I’m concerned) is pizza and martini night.

The decision usually is made over the phone, though my heart has settled on the selection earlier than that. There are evenings I arrive from work, and slide the plastic tub of processed barbecued meat from my wife’s hand. She knows by the look in my eyes that the hunger is upon me. Like a vampire in legend, I need to feed.

I go to the pantry and withdraw the ingredients for my libation. Gin (vodka is for women and pansies), dry vermouth and a cocktail shaker. I spread my special towel out on the counter (yes, I have one – the pattern is of olives). I gather my ice from the freezer. My 3-year-old helps. She loves the sound the ice cubes make as they clang inside the metal cocktail shaker. I always say “last one!” one cube before the shaker overflows, knowing that she’ll insist on withdrawing at least one past that. I pour the gin, the vermouth. I stir – shaking will bruise the gin – and strain into the funnel of the cocktail glass, right up to the top. Two olives for the martini, one for my daughter to munch. Not enough booze to be drunk, but enough to warm me up and gain an improved perspective.

I stand behind my wife as she orders the pizza at the computer, draining the last of the martini from the shaker that wouldn’t fit in the glass (indeed, I make a little extra just for this). With she in graduate school and both of us working full-time, meals are more a course of necessity than pleasure. Food has to be prepared quickly, and there’s little room for variety. But pizza and martini night, variety is the order of the evening, so long as you don’t mind it coming atop bread and covered in cheese (and who would?). The only limits on the possibilities are owed to the selection of online coupons available that night.

Pizza order confirmed, e-mail checked for delivery time, we go upstairs for another reason I love pizza and martini night: usually, my wife bathes the kid so I can be ready to get the pizza when it comes. So, I get to post myself by the bedroom windows, way up on the third floor of our bigger-than-we-thought-it’d-be-when-we-built-it house, looking out over the front yard and driveway, waiting for the pizza to come.

It’s a rare and relaxing moment to savor the sun and the peace of having nothing in particular to do but wait. Any other evening, and I would be obliged to do laundry, or vacuum the floors and the furniture or do any of the other many chores that result from having three cats and a preschooler. These responsibilities are shelved for pizza and martini night.

(Also, we typically do them on the nights my wife does not work – she’s a floor nurse at a local hospital working a 12-hour shift, and doesn’t get home until after 7 – and on those nights she picks our daughter up from day care, which leaves my van available for me to have a pipe on my way home. This is the cherry atop my sundae of vice.)

The tradition began by tying the festival to the night of the week that my wife and I watch our favorite television shows, which have seasons that overlap. “Ghost Hunters,” “Justified,” pizza and a martini is my idea of bliss. As the seasons conclude, we have typically shelved pizza and martini night until they begin again. But with my wife in school, continuing them over the summer has been a welcome respite from the worries of the week. If an excuse is required, I maintain a list of occasions handy to justify the celebration.

She says that, when she’s out of school, they must stop; indeed, they are not healthy for our bodies (or my liver). But they are damned good for my soul.