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The Greatest Loaf

April 7, 2011

I am a creature of cravings. This is by no means a food blog (although at this point, I couldn’t really say what kind of blog it IS), but today it starts off with food. I woke up this morning with a very specific idea of what I wanted for breakfast: some fat, restaurant-style french toast. No fancy topping, just a perfect blend of vanilla, creaminess, moistness, cinnamon, a touch of crunch on the outside, some syrup. My first instinct, as usual, was to find a place that would give me what I was craving. I looked up the Bob Evans menu online, and started planning out my morning so that the son and I could go indulge in some inspired and wonderful french toast. But… I wasn’t yet dressed, my son was in a mood, and I didn’t see any realistic way that my french toast dream would be coming to life anytime son. Plus, I am on an ongoing mission to be economical. Mainly, responsible. And shelling out $7 or so for some day-old slices of bread dipped in who-knows-what, with my cranky son for company, didn’t seem like it would win me any awards for responsibility. Some days, it’s totally worth the splurge. But not today.

Because I remembered that I had my new favorite thing sitting in my kitchen: a $1.50 Italian loaf from the Walmart bakery. Since I discovered this loaf of bread last week, with its low price and relatively short list of not-terrible ingredients, I have felt like a creative superstar in the kitchen. And one with a satisfied palate, at that! My first endeavor was pretty straightforward—garlic bread. Slathered a chunk of it with some buttery spread, sprinkled on some garlic salt, herbs and parmesan, and my toaster oven created an aromatic thing of wonder. A great “homemade” accompaniment for dinner that even my kids liked. Score!

I was on a roll (no pun intended), so the next day I spruced up my daily sandwich by putting it on the Super Bread and turning it into a panini (panino?). I even made one for my sister-in-law, who, at almost 9 months pregnant, needed a little treat for lunch. Who doesn’t, really? And this morning, my Super Bread (not the same loaf) came to the rescue in the form of…. FAT FRENCH TOAST! I don’t have a go-to, guaranteed-to-be-wonderful recipe for french toast, but it’s not rocket science, so I made it work. Sure, it wasn’t EXACTLY what I wanted, but it had the right texture, appearance and mouth-feel to be close enough. Unnecessary breakfast expenditures averted, hunger satiated. But most importantly, I felt resourceful, and therefore accomplished. I know it’s nothing spectacular, or even special, for someone to ignore their cravings and whims and be practical, especially in this economy. But I still felt pretty proud of myself for being able to be creative during the quotidian, even if it was just with a loaf of bread at mealtime, in between diaper changes, laundry relocation, errands and tantrum negotiations.  Everyone needs an outlet, and if all it can be today is bread, then I’ll take it.

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