My companion and I looked at each other as we discarded the sampling spoons, thanked the gelato vendor, and walked away from the colorful freezer case. We had intended to get some gelato from an inviting display, and after tasting five different flavors, came to the same conclusion: the actual gelato cream base had too much overrun. The flavors themselves didn't matter, the resulting product was an insipid castle built on quicksand.
Sadly, in many situations, food providers try to use accouterments overshadow the fundamentals, and this seems to be the case in popular discussion. For example, with pizza, the discussion is often about what the topping is, be it fontina cheese or "Thai" chicken or 25 different options. The crust itself is lost in the equation, mentioned by pizza aficionados but a discarded nuisance on paper plates for most of the public. Sushi judgements are almost always discussions about the quality of the fish used, but in its essence, sushi rice preparation is the foundation to the custom and cuisine.
And then, there's bread. In most cases, bread seems to be treated as a humble carrier for something else - the forgettable supporting character in an overstuffed sandwich, or sometimes to be discarded as the purveyor of "carbs". But good bread - there's nothing quite like it.
At its most basic, bread is a showcase of technique. From very few ingredients, one can produce anything from a baguette to focaccia, but we don't have many bakeries of distinction in Houston, bakers that take pride in the art of bread. So, with great interest, I've been sampling the wares at the newly opened Common Bond bakery.
|The country sourdough loaf is the most "general purpose" bread they carry. It's a fairly mild tang, though I am curious as to the sourdough starter they use. Is it something that reflects the terroir of Houston?