Bread Bowls


I witness a crime every time I eat at a certain bakery of national renown. And it’s time for those of us who care to step in and take action.

What crime, you ask? Is it that lately their prices seem to have gone up and their portion sizes down? That their 99ɇ add-on pastry option has been cut to simply a cookie, rather than a honkin’ big 570-calorie muffin that substitutes as a whole other meal? No, the crime is none of those things. I go there for lunch or for an afternoon-long sit-in pretty often. It’s a first-world indulgence. I like their salads and soups, their coffee, their wi-fi, and their comfy atmosphere with a happy hipster background buzz that lets my writer-self get her muse on. And, of course, I like their bread.

Which leads me to the crime.

I often see customers order bread bowls containing soup, finish the soup, but not eat even one bite of their bread bowls.  Not one bite.

I can understand eating your way down the bowl as you finish the soup, then leaving the super-saturated part at the bottom. I mean, fine, if you’re a quitter, but to not even take a single BITE of the bread bowl? What kind of monster does that? Why not just order the soup in, oh, I don’t know, a regular bowl? Why waste the bread? Abandoning that bread bowl in the trash? Throwing away an amazing gluten-y masterpiece like that?

Didn’t your mamas tell you about starving kids all over the world? Actually, if I can get serious for moment here, what about all the hungry kids right here in North Carolina? Did you know 1 in 7 people in NC struggle with hunger? 1 in 5 children? (1) What if one of those hungry kids saw you waste your bread bowl like that? Do you know how much food is wasted in NC annually? 247 pounds per person. (2)

I have a two-part theory about what’s going on here. First, it’s fashionable to leave food on your plate when you’re eating in public, knowing full well that you’re gonna go home, lock yourself away from your kids, and eat an entire box of Caramel deLites. Oh, I can’t possibly finish all this food. Second, it’s an attempt to master your carb addiction by surrounding yourself with temptation to show just how strong willed you are. Ooh, I’ll order my broccoli cheese soup in a bread bowl, and then I’ll throw the bread bowl away. That’ll show that bread who’s boss!

I’m sure there was a lot of fear among gluten-centric eateries when the high-protein diet craze became the norm in America. I mean, this particular chain café unofficially dropped the word “bread” from its title in a silly effort to minimize the fact that they were, in fact, a bread restaurant. There are people who come into these bakeries and not eat a single molecule of gluten while they’re there. They’re masochists, but they exist. A friend of mine goes with me and orders soup with an apple as her side, and then she eyes my French baguette like I’m the devil for eating it in front of her. She ends up going back to the register and getting her own. I actually respect her for that, because she eats what she orders. But these people who waste bread bowls are borderline evil.

So, I propose background checks for bread bowl purchases. If you order a bread bowl, you must agree to a social media investigation to make sure you are not, in fact, a member of the low carb lifestyle, and fill out a contract that you will eat at least ¾ of the bread bowl with your soup, or be forced to retroactively donate $5 to a local food bank. (3) Otherwise, you will be required to eat your soup out of a regular bowl, just like everybody else.

  1. “What Hunger Looks Like in North Carolina.” Feeding America. 2018.
  2. “Farm Facts: Food Waste.” North Carolina Field and Family. November 25, 2018.
  3. “Find Local Food Bank.” Feeding the Carolinas. 2018.


Rebecca Beittel is a mom. Wife. Reader. Writer. Barn Escaper. Progressive Thinker. Not a supporter of the patriarchy.

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