Monday, April 18, 2005

Summing Up Sunday 

So, the bread was a smashing success. I brought it to a school and let the faculty and students sample it. They all loved the look of the bread, and most said they'd buy it for the novelty look alone. Others said they'd buy it for the taste, after they ate some.

A few disliked one layer or the other, and everyone had a favorite layer. The beet bread ranked just above the tomato bread, and that sort of surprised me. I thought the tomato bread would be the hands-down favorite with the beet bread dead last.

Don't get me wrong - I like all the layers of this bread. Beets are not popular around here, so I thought the beet bread would rank much lower. Most people commented on the color (sort of a deep mauve color tending towards red) and the spiciness. The beet bread was flavored with tarragon.

The tomato bread portion was seasoned with cinnamon basil, and was the second most favorite. People commented on how they liked the more intense tomato flavor - i used garden grown tomatoes and a bit of tomato paste.

I need to try garden fresh carrots, because storebought ones are too mildly flavored to punch strongly past the yeast, although the thyme and dillweed did boost it enough that some carrot flavor was distinguishable.

And the spinach portion of the bread was liked by most people until they were told it was spinach. Most of the teens immediately scrunged up their faces and said, "Eeew!" then said they'd eat it in this form - as part of the Il Gianfornaio, but wouldn't buy a loaf of just spinach bread. The adults were half and half - half liked the spinach bread, half reacted like the teens.

before most of them had their third bite, they were offering suggestions for accompaniments with the bread: cream soups were high on the list but a large number thought they'd like it with a southwestern chicken stew or a beef stew, or as a sandwich topped with cream cheese and smoked ham or peppered turkey, or with some sharp mustard and cheese.

I think this bread will be another popular one in the Cracked Cauldron. And really, it's an easy bread to make in a bakery, when we're making all these other vegetable breads anyway.

I'm still convinced it would be much better sized like cinnamon rolls, individual sized breads.

As for the personal cheffing job Manager did yesterday while I played with dough: it was very succesful. The patron was pleased enough to pay her a 32% tip, and was impressed that everything was made from scratch, from the fresh spinach and artichokes in the dip to the dressing for the salad and the bread.

There were only three oven dishes: the cheesecake, the bread, the dip; in that order, so it wasn't as difficult as it seemed.

Manager allowed the family and guests to come into the kitchen while she prepared the meal and answered their questions.

They seemed to consider the meal preparation one of the highlights of the dinner party, and appreciated the friendliness Manager displayed as she cooked for them.

This was a birthday party for a woman who turned 50, and the sister who was sponsoring the party wanted their mother to enjoy the party rather than cooking for it as she usually did. Manger said the mother commented several times about how nice it was to watch someone else cook.

Then Manager came home just in time to taste the Il Gianfornaio.

Sunday was a productive positive day in the adventures of the Cracked Cauldron as it wends its slow way towards opening.

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