Although I don't eat too much pizza these days, there was a time in my life when the ambrosial mix of flat crust, tomato sauce, and melted cheese was a staple in my diet. Looking through my mental scrapbook, it seems like almost every major event of my high school, college, and graduate years was accompanied by the smell of tomatoes and oregano and the delicious taste of mozzarella. From hook-ups to break-ups and all points in between, pizza was there to feed me and comfort me.
I wonder if the next generation of college students will have the same experience. After all, one of the major attractions of pizza was its price; for between $5 and $10 (sometimes less if I bought in bulk or had a coupon), I could feed a bunch of my friends. We could gather around the mystical manna, make our plans, and contemplate our vile deeds. Pizza was simultaneously cheap and slightly grown up. We could have the joy of buying food for ourselves but still have enough cash left over to pick up a six pack for later. In short, it was the perfect food.
Over the past couple of weeks, a combination of poor crop yields and increased consumption have sent the price of flour through the roof. While wheat usually goes for $3 to $7 a bushel on the Minneapolis Commodities Exchange, it hit $25 a bushel last week. Over the past two weeks, the cost of a 50-lb bag of flour in New York City rose from $16 to $26. It was $9 in 2006. Cheese prices have also risen, although not as much.
In the short-term, this means a major spike in the price of pizza. In New York, where the cost of a slice has traditionally been tied to the cost of a subway ticket, pizzeria owners are contemplating raising prices to up to $4 a slice. The cost of a subway fare remains consistent at $2.
Ramen, on the other hand, remains consistent at four packs for a buck (prices may vary, depending on locality).
Bruce Watson is a freelance writer, blogger, and all-around cheapskate. He's sworn off pizza in protest against its rising cost (this sounds way cooler than the truth, which is that he needs to drop a few pounds).