Missing the Point

February 5, 2014

I realize that I have written about equipment, staffing, construction, and apprentices, but have yet to say much if anything about the point of all this – the breads, sweets, and foods.  A lot of words devoted to structure, not much to content.

We’ve been having a little debate in our staff and apprentices meetings, one I ignited with an extreme argument:  Bread Furst should offer traditional breads and desserts and foods with character – heavy on vegetables, seasonal, and vividly flavored.  We should not burden our customers with just another array of tuna salad, butternut squash soup, beet salad with feta, and baby back ribs.

But, said most of the apprentices and much of the staff, what about hommus?  What about egg salad?  Customers need some roots too.  You can’t present them particularly in a start-up with no familiar foods.   And anyway these are wonderful foods that we too should make – just better than others make them.


Although the staff and apprentices have wondered about my sanity, this has been a useful argument. I am determined to offer you highly flavorful foods – made always with seasonal ingredients and as much as possible local ones.  But lots of smaller stores try to do that.

What I can’t abide is foods intended to appeal to the broadest possible audiences, foods that, light on seasoning, are made not to offend. Not that I want to offend deliberately (although some might argue with that), but I want Bread Furst to make foods about which you might say, “It was too highly seasoned for me,” but you might also say, “That was really good.”

I am trying now to put together an opening menu that blends my views about originality with the views of everyone else about rootedness, testing recipes that make the hommus and asparagus soup all are advocating, but made with character.

More to come…


  1. fff@sas.upenn.edu says:

    Your staff has a very good point. You have to create a range of options and push your customers to explore your view of food, but we all love some of the standards. There is nothing better than a good tuna sandwich that is probably made; butternut squash is one of my favorites. Part of your vision out to be making mundane dishes better than other places!

  2. Betsy Levin says:

    I hope you are still thinking of tagines, Mark (and with a generous use of cumin)

  3. E. Veroinca says:

    Well said Mr. Fur; the spicy and robust soups,egg salad,olive bread and chocolate too. be sure to

  4. Marchesa says:

    I admire your concern for not offering ubiquitous snacks. How about fattoush? Not hummus or tabouli but veg intense and delicious.

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