panem et circenses

how ever you know on which side your bread is buttered, on one side or both, loafed, sliced or as on a roll, zwieback, biscuit or toast, as pudding or crumb, in good bread or bad, bread-faced or sober, day old, or older bread has its many a use, no question.
me, i like the fresh, the wood oven scented, silver crusted and tender crumbed, if only as such. it would have me smile for awhile, and render the stale tomorrow.
so what to do with the stuff, when there is so often a fresh supply at hand? bakeries in our land are so very abundantly present. acme and tartine, semi freddi’s, grace and arizmendi, just those few will make anyone hungry for a fresh loaf. acme has become the staple. a very favorite. their whole wheat walnut and the plain levain are omnipresent for breakfast, lunch and dinner and beyond: that midnight or 2am snack, the plain butter sandwich. and stephanie’s round-the-clock favorite, the crunchy: acme sells foccacia, one herbed and the other salted. i like to use the salted version and cut the ten by fifteen slab into thin 5 inch strips to dry in a two-hundred oven overnight. hence crunchies. one slab makes just about sixty some-such and lasts often less than two days.

she devours her favorite topped at times with pico di gallo or thin-slivered parmesan, straight guacamole or crushed tuna and often plain, with her 5am coffee.

but really, what to do with a fine day old? when my own ideas are as dry as yesterdays bread i often turn to ‘bitten’, mark bittman’s food blog at the times so for today i offer a variation of his ‘pappa-al-pomodoro’. (


1/3 cu olive oil
1 maui onion, coarsely cubed
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and slivered
3 cu fresh chopped tomatoes (or for winter: canned roma tomatoes)
1 cu clam juice
1 tbsp crushed anchovies (canned or fresh)
1 tbsp mild paprika
a whisp of saffron
sea salt
crushed black pepper
cubed day-old baguette
scissor cut fresh basil (chiffonade)


heat the oil in a non-corrosive large saucepan. wilt the onion over high heat until glassy. add garlic and cook over medium heat until gently browned. add tomatoes and cook until soft, then add fish stock. turn heat to simmer, stir in anchovies, paprika, salt and pepper. turn off heat after five minutes. adjust taste. ladle over bread into individual bowls. allow soup to cool, the bread to soften, then serve topped with basil.