Natural born filler

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Currently playing the La-Z-Boy circuit of commercials geared toward a captive, football-obsessed television audience is an ad that uses that oldie-but-goldie technique of the hidden camera.

In this one, a subtle subtitle informs viewers that they're privy to a "Chef Elizabeth pizza tasting." At that point, I suppose those playing at home should pay no mind to the fact that no one's ever heard of this supposedly famous cook.

Anyway, after the no-last-name Chef Elizabeth asks "you guys wanna try some natural pizza?" the photogenic and ostensibly hip guests begin gushing about the pie they're tasting. Here's some of their comments (all delivered as convincingly as possible): "I love multigrain" and "Has more of a flavor than normal pizza" and "The best pepperoni that I've ever tasted."

The commercial then lets us in on the alleged secret by announcing, "They knew the pizza was natural, but they didn't know ..."

What I tried: Pizza Hut "The Natural" pepperoni pizza, $10

You make me feel like a natural diner: It's funny how in the commercial no one looks askance or bothers to question what is and isn't a "natural" pizza. Are we all just to casually accept its sudden existence and/or assume that all along we've been eating unnatural pizzas?

Anyway, when my new Pizza Hut pie arrived, it was in a box with a farmscape picture of a barn and a tractor; the box proudly proclaimed it was "the Natural." There's also a bunch of scripted, non-specific falderal mentioning how the crust is "made with the goodness of five different grains."

Revealingly, the word natural appears six times on that box. This caused me to think of a few other things that are natural, too: hammerhead sharks, earthquakes and ringworm.

Going au naturel: Out of the box, this puny pizza was so skimpily topped it might as well have been naked. There was just a bare skin of cheese on it, and each piece bore only about two slight pepperonis.

How did it taste? Well, unlike most of the usual Pizza Hut grease bombs, this pie didn't taste bad at all. The whole-wheat crust was cooked to a dark sheen and was chewy, dense and yeasty -but not as gross and gummy as other whole-wheaters I've eaten.

The best I can say about the barely there sauce, pepperoni and cheese is that they were as good as any decent generic pizza you could buy from any anonymous joint in any anonymous city across the USA. Not bad, but no big whoop.

Would I eat it again?: If faced with a choice between Pizza Hut and Pizza Hut, I'd certainly choose this one.

We tried it!

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