Eating Baguettes

I've been wondering lately if there's anyone else out there who eats baguettes like I do: by hollowing out the inside and then ripping off and chewing pieces of the outer crust.

A Panera baguette slice, the subject of this blog post.
         You see, I generally favor the soft inside of the bread to the hard, crusty outer part. The softness almost melts in the mouth, and is chewier and sometimes pastier than most other breads I eat. My family, being Whole Foods-type food obsessed, practically never buys any sort of bread considered "pasty" or, Oz forbid, any sort of refined bread. And I bring sandwiches to school every day, so I get my fill of healthy-ish breads five days a week. It can make one quite tired of all these wholesome grains, you know?
        Usually it's Pepperidge Farm rye, rye and pump swirl, or 15 grain bread for us. Note that this doesn't include the once-in-a-blue-moon occasion of eating chutney sandwiches, a saliva-worthy street food commonly seen in India. Those are made with thin slices of white "sandwich bread", at least in my house.

Yes, there are 15 different grains in this nutritionally badass loaf.
        So, this means that whenever my family goes out, I'm always on the prowl for any sort of starch that's either refined to death and/or has a certain level of gum-pleasing softness. The baguettes, particularly at Panera, satisfy both requirements! Yay Panera food!

        So after viciously ripping out the slice's innards and dunking them in some sort of soup or making perfectly spherical butterballs out of them, the poor baguette looks exactly what I would picture a ravaged carcass to look like: a forlorn-looking shell, with the claw marks of hungry scavengers all around the inside.

        Offering a piece of this wonderful baguette carcass to any tablemates you might have usually results in repulsive stares and/or a round of "eew what did you do to your bread???"s. I'll admit the remnants rarely look particularly appealing anyways:

The once-proud remains of my Panera baguette.
        But I have something in my defense: the two parts of the bread are used for two different things. The inside is easy on the gumline (no shards of week-old crusty baguette stabbing delicate gums!). It's moldable and absorbs well, so it's perfect for dragging around in soup bowl dregs or making little animals out of. I once made the coolest bread octopus ever. It was actually really cool, but I don't have a picture to show you. Oh well.

        The crusty outer edge is what you eat when other people make small talk, or when you're thinking really hard about something. It's my equivalent of chewing gum. I detest gum: they have the fakest-looking packaging, they all taste overly potent, reek of New Jersey artificial flavoring plants, and they lose their flavor really quickly. And then their texture is really nasty, a bit like attempting to swallow calamari. Not very appealing, thank you.

        And plus, gum reminds me of airplanes. I have sensitive ears, so I'd always chew gum in a vain attempt to manage the pain (reading books works better, as do an amazing brand of wax earplugs). So whenever I chew gum, not only am I reminded of my ears being murdered by air pressure, I'm also able to recall screaming children, cramped seating, unwashed bodies packed too close together, windows with irritating stains that make it impossible to see that you're literally flying into a sunset, and those little bathrooms with flush suction so powerful that I always keep at least a foot and a half away from the toilet (note that this is usually the entire length of the cubicle anyway). I wouldn't be surprised if the flushing suction one day took off someone's finger, buttock or entire foot. I understand they're trying to conserve water, but that's an awful lot of energy to spend every time someone flushes. There are lots of other things I could mention, like airsick people, people who watch movies but forget the headphones, not being able to sleep, and watching your pen roll all the way to the other side of the cabin, but I think you get the idea. Gum and me don't mix.

How on earth did somebody get their camera up this high? Did they somehow hang it from the ceiling? Then how would you push the button? A camera timer perhaps? Imagine how many tries that would have taken the photographer.

       So I usually save the baguette crust for later, when contemplating what somebody said to me or to block out annoying people. It has a rewarding texture and taste of its own: much chewier, but richer and almost nuttier in flavor. If you suck on the harder parts a bit, they don't poke as much (I have sensitive gums too). You have to admire the bread crust for being so brave: it withstood the deadly heat of the oven to ensure that the more cowardly inner dough didn't get cooked to death. A worthy sacrifice, in my humble opinion.

       I suppose people mainly find my method of eating baguettes - or any bread with a harder crust - to be strange, because they wonder why I manage to make the whole thing look so unappetizing while I'm clearly enjoying myself. I do tend to systematically murder my food while eating it. But apparently people always say that I make whatever I'm eating look really appetizing. Whenever I eat something, other people always want to eat it too. It's the Tom Sawyer effect! I guess that's because I always really "get into" whatever I'm doing, and eating food is no exception.

       Am I alone in this? Thoughts, comments, questions about mutilating one's bread while eating it are welcome.


  1. Aw man, my favorite thing with bread is taking one slice, putting a bunch of peanut butter, or whatever you wanna make a sandwich with, and just folding that one slice in half. The first bite you take of that though has to be right of the middle with no crust. I feel like doing that stretches out the bread and makes that one bite so much more delectable. Of course then the rest of the sandwich is nowhere near to the deliciousness of the the first bite and i get sad... So then of course I have to make another one. On that note, I'm gonna go make myself one.

    1. Haha, I haven't done that in quite some time but it is fun, oui? Couldn't you cut off the crust and have most of the inside bread rival the inside more? I realize it can't be the same though, to that one first, sweet bite soft as a cloud... :-D


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