I have to admit that pizza mixes in a box have been a staple of my diet since the mid-'60s. And, amazingly enough, the three major brands from more than forty years ago are still on the market--albeit harder to find these days. They are, in order of quality, Kraft Pizza Mixes, Chef Boyardee Pizza Mixes, and, definitely in last place, Appian Way Pizza Mixes.
The best: Kraft Pizza mixes.
They used to have both sausage and cheese varieties back in the day, but now only the cheese version is sold. I did like the sausage variety at first, but later gravitated to the cheese version as it more readily lent itself to customization. The sausage version was ok--it was sort of like a meat sauce a la a meat spaghetti sauce. But the cheese version became my favorite as I customized it with pepperoni, fresh whole milk mozarella cheese and maybe some mushrooms. What made the Kraft mix the best was that packet of herbs that no one else had--that little touch really made the difference.
Kraft mixes disappeared from the store shelves in the mid-'80s and I sorely missed them until, thanks to the arrival of the Internet, I discovered that Kraft still marketed them in Canada and better still, there was an Internet business that would deliver them to us unfortunates south of the Frozen North. I have been ordering and enjoying them on a regular basis ever since. They taste the same as they did in 1965!
You can still get Chef Boyardee Mixes in my local groceries, but they are not nearly as good as Kraft's. I believe they too only market the cheese variety, but in the old days had a sausage mix, and for a while in the '90s, had a pepperoni version. I haven't seen that variety lately and assume it's gone.
At the bottom of the pile was/is Appian Way Pizza. It was clearly a low quality job with pretty bad and poor tasting ingredients --everything from the crust to the sauce just screamed low budget, low quality. I believe it was a Hormel product, but could be remembering that incorrectly. I tried one several years ago, just to see if I was remembering them correctly and my negative impression of them was confirmed. Just a bad pizza mix. I haven't seen them on grocery store shelves in many, many years, but they are still out there, available on the Internet.
Anyway, for those of you boxed pizza mix gourmets out there who want to re-discover or try for the first time the superior Kraft Pizza Mix experience, you can order them on the web here: http://www.canadianfavourites.com/
And it you must, you can get Appian Way Pizzas here if you'd like to compare: http://www.hometownfavorites.com/
(I see you can still get the Chef Boyardee pepperoni mix here too)
Enjoy and let me know what you think!