Saturday, May 10, 2014

Nine Days Old

Of all the things that are oh-so delicious, yet oh-so not very good for you in mass quantities, bread takes the cake.

Too many carbs can pump up your blood sugar, imbalance your metabolism, settle in stores of fat in embarrassing parts of your body, and result in throwback acne breakouts that make you wonder where you left that tube of Clearasil thirty years ago. Trouble is, bread plays so well with most other foods that it's a natural go-to item on most menus.

You can slather bread with any variety of creamy spreads,  melt cheese on bread, pile meats on bread to make excellent cold cut sandwiches, load bread with vegetables to make slightly less excellent vegetarian sandwiches, wrap bread around mozzarella cheese and pepperoni to make mini calzones, spread bread out on a pan and cover it with sauce and cheese to make pizza, and even balance snacky-type items on itty-bitty slices of bread to create dozens of party-size appetizers.

You can make bread bowls to hold soups and salads. You can top bread with olive oil and fancy Italian seasonings to make focaccia bread. You can top bread with caraway seeds to make rye bread. You can make round bread, rectangular bread, square bread, fluffy bread, flat bread, moist bread, dry bread and even pita bread. There is practically no shape, style or flavor of bread that isn't available for your digestive delight.

You can toast it, which so completely alters the nature of bread that we find it necessary to no longer refer to it as bread (but we all know it really still is bread). And, if you don't have anything to put on bread, you can tear a hunk off a loaf and stuff it in your mouth, because that's just one of the many acceptable things to do with bread.

The only kind of bread you can't eat is moldy bread. Sad to say, bread sometimes sits around long enough to turn on you. I'm not talking about the white residue you can convince yourself isn't really mold (maybe some excess flour landed on the outside of the loaf before it was packaged, right?). I'm talking about the hairy, green, mushroom-sprouting, biodome experiment mold that has taken over half the loaf and makes you wonder if other foods in the pantry might also have been contaminated. That's the kind of bread you shouldn't eat.

We have a game we play in our house called "Spot the Spot." Okay, maybe I'm the only member of the family aware of the game, but it goes something like this:
  • Step 1: Buy bread.
  • Step 2: Don't eat all the bread.
  • Step 3: Store the leftover bread in its original clear plastic bag.
  • Step 4: Continue not eating the bread and check it daily for moldy spots.
  • Step 5: When you finally do identify an authentic moldy spot, loudly announce to the rest of the household that you found a moldy spot and will be throwing the bread away.
  • Step 6: Throw away the bread with over-stated dramatic flair.
  • Step 7: Take note of how many members of the household have paid absolutely no attention to you.
More often than not, this game is played out by hamburger and hot dog buns in a basket on our kitchen counter. Unbeknownst to them, they enter this makeshift gladiatorial ring with little hope of emerging unscathed. It's a cruel fate.

2014 Mark Feggeler

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