Ideally, we all grow up with fond childhood memories. And one of those memories should include the summer carnival.
Having missed our local carnival this year, I took my daughter to the Hemlock Little World's Fair in July. It's got a great name, but it's basically a carnival, albeit a good one, with a lot of rides. We had a great time.
Foodwise, carnivals usually mean corn dogs and cotton candy, but I decided to give the pizza a shot this time. And it wasn't bad. Not great, but not bad, although my lowered expectations may have helped.
My slice was translucently thin, as you can see in the photo. That doesn't surprise me. I like thin crust pizza, as you can see here, so I'm not complaining. But I know carnival operators are trying to make a buck. Every ounce of dough costs them money, and they don't want you to get filled up on a slice of pizza.
If it were bad pizza, I'd complain. But it wasn't bad. The underside was crisscrossed by screen marks, lightly browned, and dry on the surface. It was more pliable than crisp, but it wasn't oily, spongy or brittle. The edge was well formed and actually had some breadlike qualities, with some interior chewiness and aroma.
The slice was topped with a simple, straightforward tomato sauce, which I'm guessing came out of a can. It was OK, and it had been added in good proportion to the crust and cheese. The melted mozzarella was marked by numerous small bubbly, pockmarked depressions, suggesting that it wasn't exactly premium stuff. The best mozzarella tends to melt together and take on a creamy quality; the cheap stuff has a way of settling in place and hardening, as the liquid evaporates. That's what this had done. But it sufficed.
I think I paid three bucks for this slice. If it were sold at a pizzeria in Rochester, I don't think I'd go back anytime soon. Not at that price, anyway. But price aside, it was OK. I'd take it over a corn dog.
I imagine that carnival pizza varies from one site to another, but I also assume that you'll see the same vendors at a lot of local carnivals. Based on this one slice, I'd say that if you head out to one of this summer's remaining carnivals or fairs, and get hungry, you could do worse than to get a slice of pizza. If it looks decent, it's probably good enough to satisfy your pizza craving. And you'll still have room left over for a cotton candy.