PUBLISHED: 1:55 PM on Wednesday, November 29, 2006
If there's one thing I know, it's cold pizza

Have you ever achieved a lifelong dream only to find out that it isn't everything you thought it would be?

That happened to me last week. I was eating breakfast with not one but two beautiful cheerleaders. This is a bachelor's dream.

Maybe it was a letdown because 1) I'm no longer a bachelor, 2) I was eating cold pizza in the Rock 105 radio studio and 3) I had two disc jockeys horning in on my cheerleader time.

Actually, I was part of a judging panel, joined by two cheerleaders. We were called upon to choose the best cold pizza in town. I was chosen because cold pizza is the one aspect of food where I can truly claim expertise. I was a longtime bachelor and not much of a cook in those days.

While the cheerleaders were good sports and ate and judged the pizza like pros, does it really make sense to drag beautiful women into a radio studio when only the DJs can see them? It's radio. But I guess that's one of the perks of being a wacky morning team.

They set before us seven slices of pizza that were ordered and delivered the day before. The pies were left in the studio and served to us the next morning. That's just the way a bachelor would do it.

True cold pizza has to be left on the coffee table or kitchen counter over night. Hardly a healthful thing to do, but I figure the stale crust has the beginnings of penicillin mold growing on it, so that will safeguard me.

To truly enjoy cold pizza bachelor-style, you have to wash it down with the last couple of swallows of that unfinished Miller Lite from the night before. All this morning team had to offer me was Mountain Dew. Two sips of that soda and I was looking for the "burp" button to kill my microphone.

We judged seven pizzas (three shops failed to deliver their promised pizzas). In my book, a quality cold pizza should be thin crust - deep dish-style gets too soggy overnight. It's like chewing on a tomato sauce-covered sponge. But the thin crust still needs to be pliable. If you can hold a slice by the wide end and the tip doesn't dip, then the pie has become too stiff. Cold pizza shouldn't resemble a shingle.

Of course, the cheese will be hard but not al dente. It shouldn't resemble plastic. Chipping a tooth on the cheese is a bad sign.

Toppings need to retain their integrity. I appreciate sausage that still has some bite and oregano that provides some zing. Pepperoni slices are going to be chewy, but I shouldn't have to work on it like a wad of Double Bubble.

I'm not sure the contest was radio's finest moment. How entertaining is it to listen to people chew? I'm sure people were turning the radio dial at wrist-spraining speed as they woke up to hear people chomping into the microphone.

But the DJs were enthusiastic. Though the cheerleaders and I paced ourselves with small bites, the DJs pounded the pie, taking several big bites out of each sample.

When my stomach churned later in the day, I realized that day-old pizza is nothing to cheer about.