They say beggars can't be choosers, and nothing brings home the reality of that aphorism like our weekly visits to the food pantry. Don't get me wrong—we love going, especially because the Bedford Community Table dinners are also part of the outing—but much of the food we come home with is not really what we'd pick for ourselves from even a moderately-stocked grocery store. We're eating more canned pasta sauce than we might otherwise, for example, and tuna fish has made a reappearance in our diet after being excised a couple years ago. But bread is often an exception: thanks to the generosity of the fine folks at Panera and a few other bread retailers, most weeks we have a wide array of fine bakery products from which to choose one or two. Last week I was delighted to bring home a loaf of pumpernickel.
There's only one reason I like to have pumpernickel around, and that's for cream cheese and olive sandwiches. Which I don't have very often! So I was super-excited on Saturday to make the first one in well over a year, but ran into my first disappointment when I cut the bread. Despite its fine dark brown color and roughly pumpernickel-like aroma, it was as soft and squishy as Wonderbread—and indeed a glance at the ingredients showed, in addition to high fructose corn syrup and caramel color (no molasses here), the dreaded "dough conditioners". Now, I'm not looking for traditional German pumpernickel here, but what good is bread so soft that it can't be spread with butter, never mind cream cheese?!
And then we didn't have any green olives, and I tried opening a can of black olives (from the food pantry; again, we'd never buy canned olives) only to find that they tasted like nothing more than vaguely salty rust. Alas. I put the sandwich together anyways and even ate it, but I was in no way pleased. And my discontent still lingers—thus this blog post!—although it was assuaged a little bit this evening when we picked up a half-dozen honey whole wheat bagels at this week's pantry.