Let ‘em Eat Croissants

Fast-casual chain Au Bon Pain combined high-end protein with specialty bread in June with its lobster salad BLT. Available as a limited time offering for the summer, the sandwich is served on an eggless brioche, which the bakery café’s customers preferred over brioche that contains eggs.

A brioche made without eggs (and butter) is like a bacon and eggs without the eggs or “going to the circus on the elephant’s night off.”

Stand, Sit or Lie?

I’ve adapted this original quote because I liked it so much: “Because you’re good at math should you work in a bank, be an accountant, or an economist?  Not necessarily. Instead, decide what it is you most want to do. If you like standing up all day, begin by looking at the options that are available; you could be a train conductor, an orchestra conductor or a waiter.

If you are good with your hands, you could be a pianist, a watch repairer, a pickpocket or a cake decorator. I

f you prefer to lie down on the job, you be an auto mechanic, an astronaut, a hypochondriac” — or a thinker, food writer or consultant. (If an intruder stumbles across you when you have your eyes closed, admit you are…thinking.)

Dining with the Eskimos

Basically the ability to obtain food boils down to the conjugation of the verb — to eat — I eat. You eat. We eat — or heaven forbid, we are eaten.

“They” say the original rationale for marriage was the formalization of a contract in which a man and woman together provided meat and two veggies for the family. Thus the women foraged while the men, usually in comradely groups, preferred to hunt and kill for food (and maybe had a little fun too). (Supermarkets rendered this model obsolete.)


Our earliest ancestors developed strategies for winning in much the same way football players and the military still devise similar plans of action for winning. Thus even in evolutionary theory, there is a quarterback and a team — a captain and his troops.

This is the way it was the Eskimos:

One man and his mates go out on a boat. They are hunting a whale. While they are gone, they entrust the care of their family to the community. (This is an ancient form of social security.)

When the men return, towing their trophy, a huge whale, there is a riotous celebration. Fires are lit. Dances are danced and songs are sung. There is one ritualistic song in which the hero (winner) is hoisted aloft and it is revealed to all that  ‘twas his harpoon than felled the whale. Thus a star is born. The winner smiles and gives thanks, presidentially.

Whales are very big. There is far too much meat for one man or one family to eat so it is cut into small pieces. Each portion is allotted according to the hierarchy of the society. The insurance theory amounts to those who give now will receive their reward later in life.

In the meantime, the successful hunter is entitled to a leadership position in governance. He becomes the richest man so also gets the prettiest girl. There is a a long-held, though entirely wrong-headed theory that the beautiful blond girl (Cinderella) will produce the healthiest boy babies.

Note: Cinderella is actually a Chinese fairy tale. She had black hair and black eyes — the slipper fitted because her tiny foot was bound.)

I just mention all these things to underscore that old saw about “the more things change, the more they stay they same…”

Anthropologists think about these things.


Dress for Success

Julia Child and Graham Kerr (The Galloping Gourmet) were handing out the cookbook awards. Julia wore slacks. Graham wore a kilt in recognition of his childhood (though in England, not Scotland.) Julia observed: :”Isn’t it interesting to see the women are now wearing the pants and the men are in skirts!”

Food Job: Menu Writer

Writing a menu is a fine art.

The menu must be appropriate to the room  Like fashion, every detail must be in harmony whether it is designed for a hushed temple of gastronomy or a boisterously noisy neighborhood joint in a college town. It also means (or should mean) being sensitive to the economy: wine and food prices are humbler during hard times.

The menu should be a reflection of what the guests want to eat. This reality check may not always conform with what the cook wants to cook.

Folks want to eat difference kinds of foods at different times of day and on different days in the week.  So is the menus to be sophisticated, elegant, contemporary or trendy, or casual chic,  or country or newish Jewish?

In other words, other words might be better…