Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Morning Toast

I took a quick foray around Chicago's leading (pretty much only) gourmet emporium, Fox and Obel yesterday. I'll do a report at some point. I've been praising their bread a lot of late, and if nothing else, I wanted to get one while I was downtown. They were out of the big round, what I was calling country but turns out it is called peasant bread, when I stopped by. Seems they only bake a few a day, but the person in the bread counter insisted they made a pointed loaf from the same dough. I was duly impressed when she had to bring the bread in back, to a special slicer, because the crust was too hard for the regular slicer. But you know what, while I nibbled on that bread a fair amount yesterday, I stuck with my Whole Foods bread for morning toast. And while maybe the crust is not as impressive, the interior of my Whole Foods bread makes better toast. What I did find at Fox and Obel was butter. Pim's comments in the comments yesterday, of course, had me thinking of butter all day, and it was high serendipity that I ended up at F&O, with its collection of butters. Organic from California, English, Irish, multiple versions from France, Catalan, what did I buy? Czech. A purely utilitarian foil wrapper appealed to Ms. VI. She figured reverse marketing, if they would sell this butter with such cheap packaging, no shelf appeal, it must be special. Maybe, but the spread today, jelly (or should I say jam lest any of my British readers think it what we Yanks call Jell-O) rather overpowered the butter. I used Zentris tart cherry from Germany. Zentris can be found at a lot of ethnic markets in Chicago. It is a strong jam, very sweet and very fruit forward. It is a mid-range jam, not the most expensive we have in the house, but not the cheapest either. Still, jam provides one of the best cost to deliciousness ratios out there, and even those things we pick up at close-out at Marshall's can make for great morning toast.

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