Gentle Readers, The Practical Cook is not usually so vigorous in her titling, but alas, she feels she must take a stand. You see, I am deeply Southern, and bread on the table is a requirement. Especially if you’re feeding my father, or anyone of his generation. Recently, I found myself tapping those roots when challenged to serve a meal that not everyone wanted to eat. There is an answer.
It’s bread. I dare you to find a picky eater who won’t go for it in some form. I have the makings for cornbread on hand all the time (and I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating, if you want THE resource for cornbread, for you or as a fabulous holiday gift, get The Cornbread Gospels [yes, I worked for the company in a past life, and swear by this cookbook]). Cornbread is great for bean-based meals, chili, stew, and anything vaguely Mexican.
When I want something soft and squishy, my current fave is the Whole Wheat Mom’s Dinner Roll from Whole Foods. These are perfect for sliders, lunch box variety, or anything else really. They just rock.
For those who swear by the Atkins diet, I will say that for me personally, bread is not an extreme weakness. I’m already a protein and veg fan. When I’m hungry and service is delayed however, I will eat my weight in the breadbasket and butter category. All that aside, serving bread with a meal can save you extreme headache if you’ve got kids, hungry people, or picky eaters (or triple threats).
Alternative bread ideas:
1. Sandwich bread: Toast it, add garlic to it, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, etc. Instant interesting.
2. Corn tortillas: These are filling, and you can make little tacos out of practically anything. Look for these coming soon in a dish I managed to save.
3. Crackers: This is a family tradition, though my tastes tend to run to the Trader Joe’s Rosemary Raisin over soda crackers. However, I’m sure you have some crackers in your house, put a bowl on the table and let the picky eaters stop complaining.
House rules stand, I don’t permit bread-only to avoid tasting what’s on the table. I often suggest putting the food on the bread and trying it that way. And if the meal is going to be challenging, I often serve with cut-up fruit and cheese, providing options. But it’s not called the staff of life for nothing. Bread works, and has for hundreds of years.
Do you serve bread with your meals? Post a comment or suggestion below (click through if you’re reading this as email). Or Tweet my way with #bread as your hashtag.
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Tomorrow, the last of the Ben and Jerry’s Taste tests for awhile (famous last words): Late Night Smackdown.