On Remembering The Soup In A Bread Bowl
Updated: Sep 28, 2022
(AUTHOR’S NOTE: I wrote this piece back in the middle of 2012, during lunch break on a rather boring office day. Incidentally, my lunch that time was the eponymous dish featured in this entry. The accompanying images were taken a few months after I drafted this one.)
Among the most unforgettable meals I had as a child were the times me and my parents ate out at local bakery and restaurant The French Baker every Friday, to celebrate the end of the week. Mom and I would share how our week went over the soup, and Dad would be fine with a simple Danish pastry and a cup of coffee. Sadly, I was unable to return to The French Baker to relive that -- only being able to do so after graduating and finding work. One time, I ordered the restaurant's Soup In A Bread Bowl for lunch, just to relive that childhood memory. However, I realized that it was no longer the one I remember from back then.
Let me start by looking at the iconic bread owl where they serve the soup in. I remembered seeing it around the same height of a pumpkin. Now it appears that it's shorter by a third of its original height was shaved off - to accommodate a smaller serving of soup, maybe? The way they serve the bread remained the same, though. After cutting off the top, the inside is carved out and served alongside the soup. This is to be enjoyed perfectly with butter, broken into little pieces, and consumed promptly. As for me however, I prefer dipping the buttered bread pieces into my soup. The bread was baked just right, with enough crustiness to hold the soup but not too hard that it’s difficult to eat in itself. The color is commendable likewise – a light brown with golden tones signifying absolute freshness.
Of course, this dish wouldn’t be named as such without the trademark soup. It was even better when you finished the soup and the empty bread bowl absorbed the soup’s flavors. Back then, they had a “soup of the day”, in which they served a different soup every day of the week. Now, they’ve limited it to two or three flavors – crab and corn, chicken with corn, or potato and bacon (which I had during the last time I dined). I once managed to have New England-style clam chowder, but that was years ago. Their soups have a nice consistency and were absolutely delicious when served hot, but eventually became more watery as time passed. I do miss the variety texture of The French Baker's soups, like they were really made from scratch every day.
Who would have thought that a simple dish of hearty soup in a warm bread bowl would turn out to be an unforgettable indulgence? Memories of simpler days came back with every serving. I invite you to try it and experience comfort.