Of Bread Alone

Editor’s note: Annie Lemon returns with an observation about restaurant bread service and of course, a new Lemon’s Law

Seems these days, woman cannot live by bread alone. And, no, it’s not because I am shunning carbs.

It’s because so much of it makes me feel like an extra in Les Miserables.

I remember a time when bread was a pillowy promise of what would come next. A chance for the kitchen to tempt you with warm just-from-the-oven focaccia, cornbread, lavosh or brioche, often paired with a tasty spread or sweet, softened — and salted — butter.

I couldn’t keep my paws off the stuff and I would call dibs for a particularly luscious naan or fluffy biscuit. With fondness, I recall being ever so slightly full before the entrée, having indulged in one slice too many.

But all too often these days, I tuck into a bread basket only to withdraw a wizened, tasteless puck.  Or I encounter the kind of cold, texture-less roll served at 30,000 feet on transatlantic flight. And you’ve seen where most of those Styrofoam-wrapped rolls end up.

In too many restaurants, bread is deposited on the table without acknowledgement, a doughy afterthought. Sometimes, bread doesn’t appear as a precursor to the meal, but is instead MIA throughout the meal, never to appear.  A few times, I have been charged a buck or two for bread, an unsavory occurrence that I discovered only after the bill was presented.

On rare occasions, I have even bitten into day-old, stale bread.  Spit or swallow?

Bread may be a humble food, but it can also be deeply satisfying, which is why it’s been dubbed the “staff of life” for 30,000 years. Leavened or not, I want to swoon over flour and water brought to delicious life by human hands.  Poppy seeds are optional.

Lemon’s Law: 

If I fall for your bread, it’s likely I’ll fall for everything else you serve me.

Where have you had good bread service lately?



Annie Lemon is a pseudonym for a newly transplanted, nationally published food writer who lived most recently in a large East Coast city with a diverse food scene. She’s not sour, just hungry.

2 replies
  1. Sharon
    Sharon says:

    Annie, you have to start eating at better places. I’ve not had that experience but perhaps we’re not frequenting the same restaurants. I have, however, noticed that a few places are no longer serving bread unless the diner requests it.

  2. Kevin
    Kevin says:

    I like the popovers at BLT at the Camelback Inn, gruyere stuffed wonderfulness, there is a charge if not included with your meal, but mostly gratis.

    And for an iffy second, Eddie Matneys. The bread and the lavosh are just OK, but the Pesto and blue cheese butter served with are nice flavor poppers


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