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Foods served in a "bread bowl"

Just one of the fads that irritate me. It is not worth eating, and is sometimes awkward. 99% of all people who mention something served in one, such as chowder or chili, never comment on the actualy food itself, just that "it's served in a bread bowl." Am I alone in irritation, or do I need to be worried about the economy and terrorism?

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  1. To me, it's a gimmick. A bread bowl is usually WAY too much bread to eat with a meal, even if it's a small bread bowl. And they're usually not small. Not to mention the bread is usually about like wonder bread...nothing interesting or flavorful.

    2 Replies
    1. re: spellweaver16

      Nah, in SF at least, it's a sourdough boule.

      1. re: xanadude

        I do have to admit my experiences have been mainly with Perkins lol The spaghetti in a breadbowl was interesting and enough carbs for a week!

    2. Why would you ask? Of course it's one of those lame faux-elegant styles from bygone days.

      I can hear it now ... "Boss, the banquet party's here and we're out of bowls!" "Remember those stale rolls I told you to throw out? Fish 'em out of the dumpster, I've got an idea!"

      1. I don't care for the idea; it just seems as if it would negate any goodness the bread had and it seems gluttonous to boot.

        1. I guess I'm in the minority, but I actually prefer a bread bowl when eating something like soup or stew, it soaks up all the delicious juices.

          1. I love bread. The more opportunities I have to eat it the happier I am. And like marietinn wrote, it soaks up all the delicious juices.

            1. Splash Cafe in Pismo Beach, CA has some of the best clam chowder and they serve it in a fresh sourdough bread bowl and they carve out the top of the bread and grill it in butter. (see the photo)


              1 Reply
              1. re: monku

                That looks nice. I've never seen that before :)

              2. I like it. Provided the bread is good (preferably toasted), and the bowl's not too big. the large bread bowls are incredibly wasteful. One can't even eat a small bread bowl. Even the smallest I've seen are equivalent to 3 slices of bread, and the large are often equivalent to 8 slices!

                1 Reply
                1. re: madgreek

                  I could eat a small one if it had soup in it. The only thing is, it looks like a starter, and that could fill you up

                2. I'm with you, steakman, food served in a bread bowl is wasteful and annoying. I'd like to be able finish all my soup (or chili, or whatever) without needing to eat the usually inordinate amount of bread that makes up the bowl. Fortunately this is a phenomenon whose manifestation appears to be inversely related to the overall quality of the dining establishment, so by following Chowhound tips I rarely encounter it.

                  Don't stop worrying about the economy and terrorism, though. ;-)

                  1. Where is it written that if it is served in a bread bowl that you are obligated to eat the bowl? I have never done that unless it was soaked up with such good juices that I couldn't resit. Even at that, just a few nibbles. When you have a taco salad do you eat the entire taco shell it comes in? I don't. Now mu daughter makes a juicy artichoke/spinach dip in a bread bowl where she toasts the inside of the bowl to use as a dipper instead of chip, and that bowl is good enough to slice up into chunks and eat, after sprinkling with some parm and broiling a bit.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: danhole

                      In fact, there was a recent thread on the Home Cooking board about a dip similar to the one you mention (sans artichoke). Whenever that dip hits a social gathering, people are definitely chowing down on the bread bowl. But when we make it, we get a nice pumpernickel or sourdough boule, fresh from the bakery--nothing stale.

                      Agree with others--soup in a bread bowl is its own meal. And kind of a comforting one given the winter weather here in CT.

                      1. re: kattyeyes

                        Yes it does have to be a fresh loaf of bread to be sure! It seems that whenever I have a taco salad the taco shell tastes a bit stale to me, that's why I don't eat it. I may nibble at the top, but not the whole thing. And I absolutely do not like croutons in my salads, or crackers in my soups.

                      2. re: danhole

                        It's very simple: I want to eat all the soup. I don't want to have to eat a pile of bread to get it all. If I want bread with my soup, I'll control the portion, thank you very much.

                      3. Can't see it with anything but soup. And it's not really something I see very often anyway outside of the likely suspect chains (Panera, etc.)

                        But, it plants the idea so sometimes I'll do this at home, with homemade soup or chili. There's a local store where I can usually get a small sourdough boule from a local bakery, and it comes out pretty good. I would eat most of the bowl in this case, but if so this would be the entire meal, just the soup in a bowl.

                        Of course, I happen to like bread rather a lot.... ;-)

                        1. Love bread, love soup, just don't like bread bowls. I want to dip more of the crusty bread into the soup than I can, and the mush factor turns me off.

                          It also appears rather wasteful, as most people don't eat the bowl (or taco shell).

                          A cute gimmick I'll probably try with my niece and nephew to make dinner time more interesting.

                          1. I would also outlaw croutons. I refuse to eat toast that's put into my salad. (not joking)

                            13 Replies
                            1. re: gafferx

                              With you on that one too. Also shredded cheese on salads, especially the ones so covered with cheap cheddar that you can barely see the greens - but like bread bowls, this is a decidedly low-class phenomenon, so thanks to my fellow 'Hounds I rarely have to deal with it.

                              1. re: BobB

                                I like salad buffet places like Sweet Tomatoes and see what the tendencies are....
                                Salads are supposed to be healthy but they aren't after you heap mounds of cheese and pasta and ravioli and baco-bits and garbanzos and goopy dressing on top of the cute little veggies

                              2. re: gafferx

                                Each to their own. I love croutons...

                                1. re: Kajikit

                                  Of course Kajikit
                                  Women like toast in their salad and guys don't (with all due respect)

                                  1. re: gafferx

                                    I pick croutons out and give them to my husband. :)

                                    1. re: Caralien

                                      there are exceptions to every rule otherwise there wouldn't be any (rules)

                                    2. re: gafferx

                                      Interesting thesis. It's true that my wife likes croutons and I don't, but that's not nearly a large enough sample to generalize from. Shall we start a poll?

                                      1. re: BobB

                                        Start a poll sounds good. I don't know how to do that. You could include other partings of the way besides croutons? An easy one is guys are more into exotic hot sauces?

                                        1. re: gafferx

                                          Even if you try to split it down as croutons only, it will start branching out into other things: girly drinks, hollandaise/cream sauces, pastries, cake and cookies, coffee vs tea...

                                          1. re: Caralien

                                            OK so "vive la difference" (I think they say that in France)

                                          2. re: gafferx

                                            Sshhh! Don't let aynrandgirl hear you say that! (about hot sauces, I mean)

                                            1. re: gafferx

                                              Raw onions, especially at lunch places. I've stood in line at places and heard person after person ordering their salad or sandwich without onions. Nobody wants to eat these (or should be eating them) in the middle of the business day.

                                    3. I do like clam chower in a bread bowl on a cold night. I would never think to eat the ENTIRE bowl (didn't know that ppl did!) but if it is a fresh and crusty bowl, I love to rip off pieces and dunk.

                                      It's kinda like those fried taco shells that some salads are served in. I would never eat the whole shell, but it's nice to have the option of breaking off pieces to scoop up salad.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: L_W

                                        How exactly do you scoop up the salad with the taco shell (honest question)? We tried so many times when I was a teenager until I finally gave up. (exploding bowl, bowl cracking in half, only a tiny piece coming off...when the perfect piece came off, the shredded lettuce and everything else wouldn't stay on)

                                        1. re: Caralien

                                          There WAS a fork involved. I have seen two types of these taco shells. One, like Taco Bell's is a fried version and a BIT harder to scoop with. But when they come in shells that are basically a hard taco shell, it's a lot easier. I have not had one in ages (I don't eat beef anymore) but I would also focus my "scooping" on the beef/cheese/toppings, rather than the lettuce. As for how to break off pieces, I would have to physically show you in order to full explain, but it's possible!

                                      2. I like soup or chilli served in a bread bowl because it soaks up a lot of those delicious juices and I can scrape the inside out and eat it... for anything else it's just plain silly!

                                        1. I would ask for my soup or chili to be served in a ceramic bowl, and my bread sliced up and served on the side ( the whole loaf). Ask for some butter too and a doggie bag for the leftover bread. If they have rice, I'd like a side of that with my chili. That's why I need the doggie bag because I probably won't eat all the bread, but why waste it. I can take it home and make cinnamon toast , or feed it to my resident squirrels and birds. I wouldn't be too happy with a soggy bread bowl, though.

                                          1. I serve white chicken chili in a small sourdough boule and it is excellent.

                                            I also serve spinach dip in a bread bowl, and we sit and tear the bowl apart after and eat the bread.

                                            What I have never understood is that so many people serve spinach dip in "King's Hawaiian Bread" which is sweet. I think it is because it is the most common unsliced round loaf at the grocery store here, but it sure doesn't go with spinach dip IMO.

                                            1. YES! God I hate it so much, I don't want to eat the bowl, it's never like particularly delicious bread and it does not soak up the flavors of the food and what the hell do they do with the bread they scooped out?!

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: AngelSanctuary

                                                Hopefully they make croutons or use it for a filler in meatloaf or a stuffing. I would hate to think they just toss it. At least feed the birds with it!