In Lutheran Home contest, winning pizza comes in from the cold

  • Posted: Saturday, January 19, 2013 1:33 a.m.
    UPDATED: Saturday, January 19, 2013 9:23 a.m.
Judges for the pizza contest at the Lutheran Home at Trinity Oaks were, from left, John Reicher, Jim Kelly and Mary Ann Johnson.  Photo by Mark Wineka, Salisbury Post
Judges for the pizza contest at the Lutheran Home at Trinity Oaks were, from left, John Reicher, Jim Kelly and Mary Ann Johnson. Photo by Mark Wineka, Salisbury Post

SALISBURY — First, a disclaimer. How people judge the pizza they eat is, of course, a subjective thing.

Some pizza connoisseurs want to be overwhelmed by cheese. Some are thick-crust men and women; others, thin crust. A few might prefer cold pizza, while others must have their slices piping hot from the oven.

And we haven’t even talked about sauce.

So with those words in mind, pizza-tasting judges at the Lutheran Home at Trinity Oaks scored six different pizzas Friday afternoon. Pepperoni pizzas, to be exact.

The judges didn’t know it, but three of the six were frozen, and the other three came from local eateries.

The winner? Freschetta naturally rising pizza, straight from the freezer.

Second place? DiGiorno, also in from the cold.

Residents — and judges — enjoyed their pizzas in the Lutheran Home’s activity center. Every Friday afternoon at 2 p.m. the programming staff, led by Brenda Zimmerman, offers “Porch Chat,” which often includes seasonal beverages and snacks, maybe a speaker or entertainment and always plenty of conversation.

When residents aren’t enjoying something such as hot cider in the fall or hot chocolate in the winter, the beverage of choice is cool lemonade — perfect for any porch.

Residents washed down their pizza with lemonade Friday.

When the weather cooperates, Porch Chat goes outside. At least once every fall, residents gather around a bonfire, or they go on a hayride organized by Administrator Bill Johnson.

The judges for Friday’s pizza-tasting contest included a resident, Jim Kelly; a staff member, Mary Ann Johnson; and a volunteer, John Reicher.

Reicher falls into all the good gigs.

“He was also our chocolate chip cookie judge,” Zimmerman said, “so he’s experienced.”

Kelly confessed right away he was a thin crust man, and both he and Reicher answered quickly when posed with the question, Is there such a thing as bad pizza?

Yes, they said.
“I don’t know who that came from, but they need to take it back,” Reicher said after sampling one of Friday’s entries.

Mary Ann Johnson made another observation: “We decided we don’t like soggy.”

It must be noted that Johnson forgot she was supposed to be judging the 2 p.m. tasting contest, and she made the mistake of eating a big Chinese lunch.

“I’m full,” she said toward the end of the judging. “You know, nobody’s forcing this on me, but I’m about to burst.”

The judges scored the pizzas in five categories: appearance, crust, texture, flavor and overall likability.

“That looks like a winner there,” Reicher announced after testing slice No. 4.

Other pizzas in the contest were Papa John’s, CiCi’s, Subway’s personal pan pizza and a Food Lion frozen brand.

“I don’t think I’ll need to eat dinner tonight,” Kelly said after sampling the whole menu.

All the entries were donated, so Zimmerman said they were all winners in her book.

The scoring was, in fact, quite close.

Now back to how subjective judging can be.

Zimmerman remembers when the Lutheran Home had an apple pie tasting contest, and the winner didn’t even use apples.

It was a mock apple pie.
Contact Mark Wineka at 704-797-4263.

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