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Every six months or so this flyer arrives from Holyoke’s oldest pizzeria, Italian Friendly.

Did you know they are Italian? I mean, they’re called Italian Friendly but just in case it wasn’t clear the following phrases appear on the front page:

“Ay, Forgettaboutit” (I always wondered how to spell that)

“Now you know what I’m talkin’ about”

“Bada bing!”

Need more evidence? The inside menu lists such items as:

“Al Pacino”

“Italian Delight”

and (once again) “Bada Bing”

I’m surprised they didn’t put a cartoon Italian Stereotype chef on the front. To each their own, I guess.

Don’t let the absence of pizza box graphic design posts fool you; I’ve been eating/photographing just as much pizza as ever. Get ready for some rapid-fire box critique:

Neighborhood Pizza


I get these street scene boxes so often (here and here) that I might have to come up with a name for the subgenre. Quaint city boxes? Cobblestonia? I’ll have to think on it.

l dig that the cuteness of the setting is married with traditional pizza box elements (“Hot & Delicious”, “Pizza”, a script font, and “Made just for you…”). The one downside is the color scheme, which feels a little too “autumn vomit.” Overall, though, it’s a pretty posh box.


This example came from Pizza Star, a solidly traditional slice place right off the New York State Thruway. Thin and greasy — just the thing for the long haul back home.

The MAX Box


I don’t know where I got this one but it looks like it came off the set of Saved By The Bell. I love 1980s-era design (really, I kind of do) so this box gets a thumbs-up. (Additional points for the missing apostrophe on “Its.” Who doesn’t love a good typo?)

Old Times


Back in the day, Luna Pizza had a great little cafe in Northampton MA that served up the best thin-crust pies in the valley. Predictably, they didn’t last. Just recently, we happened upon Luna’s other restaurant during a drive through Connecticut. The slices didn’t disappoint, and neither did this Dante-inspired box. Doesn’t it look like you’re peering into the mouth of hell? I guess it could just be a brick oven.

New Old Style

This is a new box design, but I love it anyway. The checkerboard print, the silhouette slices, the vintage styling…even the lowercase i in PiZZA is quirky and appealing.

I especially appreciate the extraneous wordiness of “Custom Made to Your Order.” Because Custom Made To Order would have been FAR TOO GENERAL.

And finally, Your Moment of Zen: A choice margherita pie from Hungry Ghost Bakery. Like a lot of nontraditional pizza places, they don’t do printed boxes. But when you’ve got this kind of crust bubble, you can get away with anything.

cedarlane quesadillas

CedarLane frozen foods and I got history. In college, I nearly subsisted on Cedarlane Quesadillas and Nantucket Nectar Half-and-Halfs. Mr. Max and I would pick them up from the 24-hour Stop & Shop, then return to my dorm room with rented VHS tapes of David Attenborough nature documents.

We were wild, I tell you.

So when I saw that CedarLane redesigned their packaging, my immediate reaction was, ‘Sacrilege!”

(I kind of dislike change.)

On further inspection, the redesign is actually kind of nice. It’s pretty in a minimalist way and it stands out next to the other frozen foods in the “natural” section. Overall, it’s not a huge departure from the original box, except when it comes to the tagline on the side of the box:

“Take home a sexy Italian.”

Get it? Because it’s an Italian dish. Mr. Max and I call dark chocolate cookies “sexy cookies” because it makes sense for a dessert to be sexy. But eggplant? Eggplant is not sexy.