Today’s Prognosis on Soup In A Bread Bowl


The word itself is probably one of the worst-sounding descriptive food words next to polenta and gefelte fish and immediately connotates a lethargic, common, everyday food item that does little to excite, inspire or ingratiate. Alone, soup is never a meal nor is it ever a main course — it is the poor man’s liquidy food of nothingness.

So then why is a bread bowl supposed to change everything?

As far as prognosises go, soup in a bread bowl has the least chance of rising high above all the other subjects whose prognosises have been not-so-good. This is, primarily because, you just can’t dress up soup — and trying to do so taints what sliver of dignity soup initially had before the bread bowl came into the picture.

Tomato soup on its own is basic, somewhat boring. But throw it into the top of a sourdough bread bowl and watch people run for the hills. Why? Because it seems as if you’re hiding something. It’s like putting thousand-dollar rims on a Toyota Supra. It’s like building a second story onto your mobile home. It’s like dressing up a homeless heroin user in Abercrombie & Fitch cargo pants. It’s like you’re trying to pull something over on someone, and it’s painfully obvious that you’re trying to do so, which in turn — turns people off even more.

Soup in a bread bowl is not looking good, people.

Offer me up a bowl of nice hot chicken soup and I’m on board. Suggest a nice lobster bisque in a basic metal bowl. Craft some of that tasty home-made french onion soup you’re so famous for. But offer me any of those in a sourdough bread bowl and watch me turn the other way.

Sure, there will be people coming out of the woodwork today with their inspirational stories of how eating soup out of a sourdough bread bowl changed their lives. How the act of eating soup mixed with floating pieces of discarded bread-skin inspired them to change the world. How the process of finishing said soup, then ripping apart pieces of it’s housing (the bread bowl) and flinging bread shavings everywhere in the process made them realize the error of their truly-villainous ways and subconsciously forced them into an attitude adjustment.

Yes, there will be some who claim that. But we’ll pity them behind their back.

The real truth behind the sourdough bread bowl is more sinister than some expect. Restaurants do not provide the sourdough bread bowl because they know you love more bread than the human body can digest in one sitting. No, they don’t provide the sourdough bread bowl because they know that the hunter/gatherer inside of you is desperate to rip apart the equivalent of an animal you shot and ate, limb for limb — and yet it just happens to be a bread bowl instead. No, your favorite bread place is not offering you the bread bowl because they know that the public has been clamoring for soft, soggy, warm and wet bread bits since the dawn of time.

They give it to you so they can save money.

The soup in a bread bowl phenom is simply an easy way to not have to buy soup bowls, not have to pay kitchen staff overtime to wash said bowls and not have to add extra storage space for bowls (which are not too stackable and thus, require a lot of shelving). That’s right — sourdough bread bowls are not for you…they are for “the man.”

And you don’t want to eat soup in a bread bowl if you know it’s THE MAN who wants you to do it. Right?

That’s why, today on WFME — we would like to officially state our opinion that the prognosis on soup in a bread bowl is very very very bad. Yes, worse than line-stander asker holders. Worse than balloon animals. Far worse than sweating and extremely utterly far worse than thank you notes. Yes, soup in a bread bowl has the worst prognosis in the history of WFME.

Honestly, are you surprised?

So, the next time you find yourself in a restaurant where your waiter or waitress tries to convince you that clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl is the most exciting, most groundbreaking, most awesome-ist, bestest fad, coolest thing to do ever, in the history of soup — you tell them what you know to be true:

Them, and their soup, and their bread bowls — none of it ain’t foolin’ no one.

42 comments on “Today’s Prognosis on Soup In A Bread Bowl

  1. nic - March 8, 2006 at 8:54 am -

    Amen, brutha!

  2. Hilary - March 8, 2006 at 8:58 am -

    I think the thing about the soup bowl is that it provides more filler, so you don’t leave hungry. I mean, one can only eat so many Saltines–don’t you agree?

  3. Pauly D - March 8, 2006 at 9:00 am -

    Hilary – So, it’s about filler? Personally, after loading up a bowl of soup with saltines, I’m pretty full. Besides, think about it this way — how often do you eat the “food holder” that you eat the food from? And how often is that so you’ll be more full? That’s like eating a banana peel just to not be so hungry when you’re done wiht the main banana portion of your meal.

    See? Doesn’t make much sense, much like the bread bowl.

  4. Flower Girl - March 8, 2006 at 9:08 am -

    Soggy bread = bleh. I 100% agree with you, Pauly. Down with Bread Bowls.

    I would also like to take this opportunity to recommend eliminating the Tortilla Bowl as well. Since everything below the outer rim is going to turn to soggy sludge, why not just serve tortilla chips?

  5. heather - March 8, 2006 at 9:13 am -

    the “filler” theory is a total farce: the bread ends up soaking up half your freaking soup, and there’s no farking way i’m eating that soggy piece of crap (that always, always has a crust that’s harder than a bloody walnut on the outside).

    bread bowls are bullshit.

  6. sandra - March 8, 2006 at 9:24 am -

    Can I confess something? (as if you had a choice)…I don’t really like soup all that much in the first place. So bread bowl…no bread bowl…fuck the soup AND fuck whatever it comes in.

    Whew. I feel better now.

  7. Pauly D - March 8, 2006 at 9:24 am -

    Sandra – We’re all here for you. Let it out.

  8. nic - March 8, 2006 at 9:24 am -

    But I DO like the shell-bowl for my taco salad.

  9. Uisce - March 8, 2006 at 9:26 am -

    I love the soup in the bread bowl and I always will. Viva la bread bowl!!

  10. C Ro - March 8, 2006 at 9:39 am -

    Heather’s right. Bread bowls do suck…one’s soup and that is unacceptable.

  11. Jacquie - March 8, 2006 at 9:53 am -

    Are you the one who writes the commercials for Budweisers Great American Heroes???

    Just wondering.

    Hats off to you Mr Soup Bowl Prognosis Prognoser!

  12. Jerry - March 8, 2006 at 10:00 am -

    not sure why this is so but soup in a bread bowl reminds me of that scene in Willy Wanka when Gene Wilder sips his tea and then eats the cup. As a child I thought that was awesome. No clean up. No being told by your mom to take your empty cup to the sink. Maybe the bread bowl is the inventor’s way of dealing with repressed childhood urges to say, “Fuck you, Mom. You take the damn bowl to the sink yourself, bitch ’cause I ate mine!”

  13. Flower Girl - March 8, 2006 at 10:15 am -

    “Fuck you, Mom. You take the damn bowl to the sink yourself, bitch ’cause I ate mine!”

    Does anyone have a towel for the water I just spilled all over the place while laughing my ass off?

  14. Pauly D - March 8, 2006 at 10:17 am -

    FG – The fact that you spilled water all over the place just made me spill water all over the place. So funny.

  15. Jerry - March 8, 2006 at 10:26 am -

    FG — if there were some silly little emoticon towel or a typing trick to create one I would send it your way.

  16. Keith - March 8, 2006 at 10:51 am -

    Am I the only one here who’s pro-bread bowl? Shame on all of you! The hardworking people in the kitchen have attempted to provide you with a better presentation of the soup, plus give you something with a little more substance to accompany the liquid. If your bread bowl has too hard of an outer shell to eat, you just haven’t gotten a good bread bowl.

    And while the kitchen may be saving time by not having to wash an actual bowl, they still have to take the time to cut open the top of the bread bowl and scoop out all the bready innards. What I want to know is, what do they do with all those bread guts?

  17. Flower Girl - March 8, 2006 at 10:52 am -

    This would be, like, the second wet keyboard the Techs have had to replace for me. My face is going to be on their departmental dart board, thanks.

    Here is your towel emoticon: [] “Look, it’s a tiny towel!!!”

    Oh my…I need to go home…

  18. ms. sizzle - March 8, 2006 at 10:55 am -

    this post is basically a proclamation against San Francisco. next you will be dis-ing rice-a-roni!

    😉 sizz

  19. annabel lee - March 8, 2006 at 11:06 am -

    “Besides, think about it this way — how often do you eat the “food holder” that you eat the food from?”

    Do you ever eat stuffed peppers? I’m a fan of them, and of the bread bowl, though I can’t say either has inspired me to change the world. If you were served chocolate mousse inside a chocolate shell, would you eat both mousse and shell? If you wouldn’t even eat a chocolate shell, you’re just anti-edible-containers, is all. What did edible-containers do to you as a child, Pauly?

  20. Kevin - March 8, 2006 at 11:14 am -

    You’ve seen Panera’s marketing for their bread bowls, right? “Eat the soup, eat the bowl, return the spoon.” You’re right, it’s all about saving money.

    Pretty soon, they’ll be providing cracker-based spoons so we can eat those as well. And some kind of pita tray so they wind up with no clean up whatsoever.

  21. Glen - March 8, 2006 at 1:39 pm -

    Hey look! I can already eat bread an soup, only I can do it at the same time without having a soggy piece of bread to deal with after!

  22. Amber - March 8, 2006 at 1:40 pm -

    So I was going to talk about the pros and cons of bread bowls in the context of not only soup, but also salad, but then I got distracted. Annabel Lee mentioned “chocolate mousse inside a chocolate shell” and I lost all train of thought. All. Mmmmmm. Chocolate mousse. Chocolate shell. I have to go now.

  23. Bre - March 8, 2006 at 1:46 pm -

    Ah yes, but have you ever experienced French Onion Soup in a bread bowl from Panera?

    I could eat it 3 times a day, 365 days a year and have a lovely lovely year!

  24. H.F. Peterman - March 8, 2006 at 3:03 pm -

    I prefer my mulagatawny, bisque’s and chowders the old fashioned way…from a real bowl. However, if you’re talking about cheese and spinach dips. Maybe?

    I defer to one of the greatest soup artisans of the modern era the soup nazi…no way would he EVER consider a fake/bread bowl.

  25. Mikey - March 8, 2006 at 5:45 pm -

    LOLOL I hate sourdough, can’t they make a plain white bread bowl?

  26. Dawn (webmiztris) - March 8, 2006 at 6:02 pm -

    they sell soup in bread bowls? pffft…not around here! I never heard of that!

    seriously though.


    it rhymes with poop.

    and I can’t think of any other food that rhymes with poop. weird.

  27. Kathleen - March 8, 2006 at 10:06 pm -

    i like bread bowls

  28. C.M.Chase - March 9, 2006 at 6:00 am -

    Well, go right ahead and pity me behind my back, because, Panera broccoli cheddar? Breadbowl? Oh yeah…it’s a threesome for me.

    I know where I’m heading for lunch.

    Can 8am be considered lunch?

  29. better safe than sorry - March 9, 2006 at 6:44 am -

    my 14 year old son would disagree with you, he would actually eat two soup bowls if i let him. it’s a winner to me, anything that makes him feel full, i’m all for.

  30. Pauly D - March 9, 2006 at 8:24 am -

    C.M. Chase – Panera, huh? I think they have a deal with a small third world country that sends them nothing but bread bowls. They push those babies on you like they were going out of business.

    BSTS – What about soda? Give the kid a six pack a day, and he’ll never be hungry again. And NO CARBS!

  31. Boogie's mom - March 9, 2006 at 11:02 am -

    I have to admit that I’m a bread-bowl eater too. Have you ever had chili in a bread bowl from the the Boudin bakery? Yummy! Or do you not consider chili soup? The creamy wild rice and the broccoli and cheddar soups at Panera are both good bread bowl choices. Don’t hate the bread bowl!

  32. Brandon - March 9, 2006 at 6:20 pm -

    I see all of your points, I understand where you are coming from and I will look differently at the soup in a bread bowl from now on. Not only do they save money, but they charge you $6.00 for it instead of $3.00 or whatever the going rate on a bowl of soup is nowadays.

    That being said, clam chowder in a bread bowl is one of my all-time favorite things. It just makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. What can I say. And I ain’t about to give it up just because of your really, really good points.

  33. C.M.Chase - March 10, 2006 at 7:31 am -

    Pauly, if you find out what small country that is, please pass along the info. I will pack my bags and head that way. Thanks.

  34. Ed Bremson - March 11, 2006 at 9:33 am -

    I beg to differ. I eat soup as a main course often. And I usually eat it as the only course. Soup is very healthy. You can add all kinds of things that are healthy for you. My father was a meat and potatoes man. I’m a vegetarian. I like a good hot bowl of lentil soup.

  35. Janet - March 11, 2006 at 9:50 am -

    But is the bread bowl dishwasher safe? That’s what I want to know.

  36. Jaana - March 12, 2006 at 7:57 pm -

    I’m with Boogie’s mom… I’m all for the chili in a bread bowl. Not so much the soup.

    Is this a throwback to your “food inside other food” phobia?

    Completely understandable, then.

  37. […] A candybar. Soda from a can. Food that does not require a dish or a bread bowl or a full place setting at a luxurious dinner table. Go ahead and eat those things in your car and go crazy. Down a bottle or water or consume a wonderful apple. Chomp on a handful of peanuts or munch on a bag of potato chips. […]

  38. […] Worse than pain in my loins, worse than stockings with coal, you could never ever force me, to eat a sourdough bread bowl. […]

  39. […] Worse than pain in my loins, worse than stockings with coal, you could never ever force me, to eat a sourdough bread bowl. […]

  40. […] And this week — things just happen to get even more exciting. Longtime reader, commenter and hang-gliding teacher Susan writes: “Your life is reportedly very exciting, what with the bread bowls and celebrity sightings and all. Whose life is more exciting than yours? Really, whose? Let’s say you had your own stalker, (not me, I’m way too lazy and busy really watching real football) what surprising things might they find out about you?” […]

  41. […] Awhile back, I flexed my 1st Amendment rights and shared my dislike for sourdough bread bowls. […]

  42. Erik - September 3, 2008 at 9:36 pm -

    I never knew so many people felt so passionately about bread bowls, one way or the other. And here I thought I was the only one.
    I am radically anti-breadbowl. Steadfastly. I will vote against bread bowls every single election, no matter which party or candidates are running.
    Really good bread would not be so tough as to hold the soup in, and lousy bread is not worth serving. And there is more bread in the bowl than I could possibly want for dipping. And if I tried dipping, I would have to rip off a part of the bowl to do so, and then I would have soup leakage issues.
    Bread bowls are just wrong!

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