Not by Bread Alone

Look, I don’t hate bread. It’s the staff of life but most people don’t use staffs anymore and certainly one does not need a staff in a restaurant or bread before the meal. That no-bread-before-a-meal goes from dining out in a diner or going to the fanciest gourmet rooms.

But I may be alone in this because bread is almost universally served before diners even get to eat the real meal. And, my Lord of Hosts, people devour the bread as if it is the Eucharistic overload!

Come on, you can buy most of these loaves in any decent bakery and they certainly do not cost the ingredients and the artistry of the restaurant’s chef in the making of them.

Let us say you go to a gourmet restaurant and the price of an entrée is $30-$50, plus add an appetizer and a salad and maybe dessert; but you gobble down slices of bread and gobs of butter and/or oil before this great repast? Aren’t you just dulling your appetite and taking up room in your stomach with relatively inexpensive drivel as opposed to the sumptuous meal the chef is making especially for you?

What a waste!

Last night did me in at Uva Rossa, my favorite Malverne village restaurant. A couple seated at the table adjacent to me ate three loaves — three whole loaves! — of the Italian bread before the meal. They only ate one-third of their meals. Uva Rossa has great food but the bread is, well, just bread.

My grandchildren are bread freaks and my daughter-in-law and my son only allow them one to two slices. If allowed I think the two of them would wander the restaurant looking to steal bread from other people’s tables. Along with giant mounds of butter.

So here is my proposition: Eat the meal first. If at the end of it you feel the need for some bread, fine, eat some. By doing this you have experienced what you came to the restaurant for — some good food made by a professional chef. You can also tell the waiters that they can bring bread when you ask for it but not before. That will stop your reflex to eat some.

Remember: It is not by bread alone that man exists. Take that saying to heart.

[My new book is Confessions of a Wayward Catholic! Available on, Kindle and at bookstores.]

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