A Little History Lesson: French Bread Pizza

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After scalding the roof of your mouth, do you ever sit back and wonder about the history of your French bread pizza? Me neither. I’m not sure the good people at Stouffers® can take total credit for this genius idea of pizza on a baguette. But I for one am glad someone put this miracle product on the market. I’m a purist so I only bake my Stouffers’ French Bread Pizza in a conventional or toaster oven. They come out of the microwave much too flaccid for my taste. Still, I think this frozen food got me through college.

I don’t really care about etymology of the French Bread Pizza, but a recent Instagram post from @VintageTribune showed a glimpse of the Stouffer’s restaurant that used to be at Wabash and Washington.

See it there? Right in the corner.

@VintageTribune Photo of Stouffers

@VintageTribune Photo of Stouffers Restaurant on Wabash and Washington

No? Here’s a close up.

@VintageTribune Photo of Stouffers

Those happy ladies look like they just had some frozen lasagna.

Stouffer’s began as a profitable dairy in the suburbs of Cleveland in the early 1900s. Eventually they expanded into a restaurant chain and opened up several locations in the Midwest. During the height of their original family ownership, the company owned hotels and started a packaged dinner line that’s now commonly seen on sale in your local grocer’s freezer section. By the 1990s they had sold to Nestle and from then continued only as lazy mom dinners.

While I wasn’t able to find a menu for the, now defunct, restaurant chain Stouffers history got me thinking. How could I make French Bread Pizza better?

I know what you’re thinking – don’t fix something if it’s not broken. This is true. But, if you like the original and have a little time on your hands, you’re going to love this D.I.Y version that costs twice as much.

French Bread Pizza Recipe Completed
You will need the following
1 demi baguette
1 (8oz) can tomato sauce
1/2 chopped onion
1 minced clove garlic
1 tsp Italian herb blend
crushed red pepper
TOPPINGS!
Shredded mozzarella cheese

Step 1: Make a quick pizza sauce by cooking onions, garlic and spices in a small amount of oil until tender. Add tomato sauce and simmer about 20 minutes.

French Bread Pizza Recipe Step 1
Step 2: Preheat oven to 325°. Cut demi baguette in half and lay flat on a lined cookie sheet.

French Bread Pizza Recipe Step 2
Step 3: Smear with lots of sauce. The baguette tends to absorb the sauce, don’t be afraid to drench it.

French Bread Pizza Recipe Step 3
Step 4: Stack the layers up high—just like Mama Stouffer maybe did. Top with cheese. Bake it off for about 20 minutes or until cheese is melt-y. The best part is that the middle won’t be ice-cold while the crust burns. If you have any shred of self-control-try to wait for it to cool before diving in.

French Bread Pizza Recipe Step 4

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About Author

John J. Accrocco

John J. Accrocco is a Chicago-based food and theatre writer. Currently John is telling people that he's writing a musical. Follow him and his misadventures in the kitchen atwww.littledinnerparty.com

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