First there was soup, commonly served in bowls, although I guess you technically can eat it off a plate, but your results may vary. Bowls are the best vehicle for soups, pretty much no matter what kind you’re eating: Minestrone. Chicken noodle. Borscht. Even bouillabaisse. (You’ll need a big bowl.) But then some genius came around and thought, Wait, how can I elevate the soup-eating experience from the mundane to the breathtakingly wondrous and sophisticated? And then, my friends, came the bread bowl.
Today, Panera has established itself as the fiercest pioneer in the bread bowl space, with its latest menu item, the double bread bowl, available exclusively at—take a guess—the chain’s Philadelphia locations.
Philadelphia is known as the City of Brotherly Love, and brother, you’re gonna need it when you sit down to tuck into this meal. Panera suggests, according to Philly.com, that you share the limited edition carb-fest with “your BFF, a significant other, or even a coworker.” I’d prefer to eat it by myself, out of the deep, deep shame I would feel ordering this bread bowl in public, but sharing it necessitates answering the following questions: If you’re going to split this bad boy, do you and your partner-in-soup sit side-by-side, elbows a’touching, and each claim one (1) bread bowl to yourselves? Or do you sit across from each other, allowing each soup-lover to sample from both bread holes?
Maybe you decide to sit across from each other LONGWAYS, with the intention to meet in the middle, Lady and the Tramp style, as my colleague Maria Sherman suggested.
Philly.com reported that the double bread bowl looks remarkably like a dog bowl. I agree, and the idea of two humans eating from it brings me great joy. Asked for her opinion, Jezebel managing editor Megan Reynolds said she thought that “both liquids look horrific.” (For reference, see the photo above.) Harron Walker suggested we try making our own bread bowl in the Jezebel office, an idea I and several others endorsed in Slack, and frankly whipped the entire staff into a frenzy.
It’s clear the bread bowl only brings out the most extreme emotions in those who encounter its tantalizing yet conceptually vexing nature.
The good news is there’s no wrong way to share Panera’s double bread bowl. It’s double the soup, and double the fun. However you and your lunch date want to tackle this thing, it’s all love. We are one. (One bread bowl, if you will.) The real question is: Do you eat the bread at the end of this thing or not? When asked, most said they would eat the bread, except for Hazel Cills, who said she’d never had a bread bowl before, which I found suspicious. Megan said she does not eat the bread, and then clarified that she eats SOME of the bread after Harron correctly said, “Why not just get soup then?” Why not, Megan? Why not indeed.
Your turn! Tell us your double bread bowl thoughts.