Sometimes the crossword puzzles are easy and sometimes not. I came across a clue which stated: ‘Mouthwatering parts of pizza commercials.’ The answer was 11 letters in length, and it turned out to be Cheese Pulls. What are cheese pulls? They are the stringy, gooey mouth-watering strands of wholesome cheesy goodness stretching from the plate to the slice as it’s lifted ever so gently and perfectly from its rest.

After viewing a commercial with cheese pulls, the fact that it looks so inviting and flavorful, makes you want to order the exact dish from Door Dash or run right out and snag one of those puppies hot from the oven. It all looks so perfect when you see it on the screen, but times, they are a changin’.

According to some professional food stylists, people are tired of seeing something in a TV commercial and then ordering it in a restaurant and it doesn’t look the same. Viewers don’t want it to look staged anymore. You want a burger to look like the cheese naturally dripped off and landed on the plate and onto your new slacks.

Of course, the cheese pull looks mouth-watering, but was it really cheese? You would be surprised at the ways production managers on a TV commercial food shoot do their thing. Spoiler alert: Glue mixed with shredded mozzarella cheese makes a paste applied to a precut pizza. Didn’t we used to eat glue in kindergarten? The largest part of the pizza is screwed down to a wooden cutting board. The glue paste is applied to the cut edges of the pizza. When dried, the paste looks like melted cheese, all fresh from the oven.

The so-called maple syrup used in a pancake commercial is probably motor oil. I know; it sure looks good on the screen! The fully formed, stacked with goodness and delicious looking burger all set for your big bite, would NEVER look like that in real life. (For the ‘first bite’ do they utilize actors with small hands for this part of the commercial?)

In real life, the burger would be half the height, (I don’t want to know what they inject into the meat to ‘plump’ it) and look half as appetizing as it slumps in its pitiful little box with a limp tomato slice peeking out over the wilted lettuce. Also, could you utilize a heat gun to perfectly melt that slice of cheese? It’s not uncommon for a hamburger bun to be methodically covered with sesame seeds by a person with tweezers, glue, and an incredible amount of patience. (No doubt a union job)

Pouring dish detergent into a beer glass gives a longer lasting head, the ice cream you’re pining for on the screen is probably mashed potatoes and the whipped cream is shaving cream because it has a consistent thickness and doesn’t melt. That sparkly bunch of grapes are coated with glycerin to give an appearance of moisture and sheen. This also works on beer bottles and the lettuce leaves on a salad. There was a crew member on my latest commercial set whose sole job was to keep ‘glistening’ all the (Name brand) Beer cans during the shoot.

What I’m saying here is the amount of tender care given to your TV food should be the same as at the point of purchase. Has that ever happened in real life? It would then cost 15 times as much with all the care and attention to detail as any owner of a dog vying for a slot in the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. I’ll give it the same odds as being struck by lightning while purchasing a winning lottery ticket.


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Buzz Fleischman is a Humorist and singer/songwriter of ‘irregular songs for regular people’ and a character actor who has appeared in and voiced TV commercials and radio. He currently hosts and produces the interview show “On the Record and Off the Wall’. Buzz was the humorist on the NPR affiliate WLRN for 12 years and has been a featured speaker for significant local and national conferences, conventions and organizations. He is a docent at the Curtiss Mansion and is fascinated by the history of Miami Springs and its interesting residents.


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