Welcome, dear readers, to The Takeout Draft, our recurring feature that combines our love of food, fantasy sports, and arguing on Slack.
Every month or so, we will select a topic of conversation from the food and drink world. Takeout writers will then field a team via the snake draft format. After three rounds, The Takeout commenteriat will vote on who they believe was victorious in that week’s draft. At the end of 2021, the staffer with the most weekly victories will select a charity of his/her choice that The Takeout will make a donation toward.
BUT WAIT! The previous Takeout Draft: Best bread was contentious—and not just between the staffers fielding their teams. The commenters let us know that this draft left them absolutely furious. It wasn’t that we didn’t make tasty selections, but the wide world of bread is so multifaceted, so overflowing in splendor, that our measly 12 picks left an unforgivable variety of breads still on the table. We at The Takeout have absolutely no intention of insulting bread, for god’s sake; it’s mankind’s greatest institution.
So let’s try this again. We’re going head-to-head in an unprecedented ROUND TWO, adding these updated picks to the teams we assembled in the prior round. The votes from last time will be added to each staffer’s overall tally, and the combined six picks will be submitted for your consideration this time around. Vote wisely, readers. Bread is not something to be taken lightly. (Unless it’s Wonder Bread, I guess?)
Competing in the Thunderdome this week are members of the Takeout staff: Aimee Levitt, Marnie Shure, Lillian Stone, and Dennis Lee. The randomizer has selected a draft order:
- Marnie Shure
- Dennis Lee
- Lillian Stone
- Aimee Levitt
Bring the pain.
Lillian: I’m scared!
Aimee: the suspense!
Marnie: We all have everything in the world to prove to our readers.
Since I’m first, I’m going to kick off with the most dastardly maneuver: I’m swiping baguette because it was the most glaring omission from round one, according to just about everyone.
Lillian: Agh! Dastardly, indeed!
Dennis: You just cut my legs off
Marnie: I should have picked it the first time around, since I studied abroad there and spent 48 centimes on an entire baguette every single day to split among lunch and dinner. Like a fool, I thought it wasn’t a sexy enough pick. But in fact, it’s a perfect specimen!
Aimee: It’s French. Of course it’s sexy.
Dennis: Not to mention putting butter on it, which I’m assuming in France, is truly amazing
Lillian: Was the 48 centime baguette the best baguette, or just the nearest baguette?
Marnie: BOTH. And babies in their mothers’ arms would gum the heels of baguettes to pacify them on the bus. Just amazing stuff.
Lillian: Now THAT’S how you raise a kid.
Aimee: We’re all deprived. That’s why we have such a screwed-up relationship with bread.
Marnie: Speaking of which, what’s Dennis’ first pick??
Dennis: My first pick is cornbread. We just had some terrific barbecue for lunch the other day from a restaurant called Smoque, and their cornbread comes in a little round foil tin, and it’s delicious!
Lillian: UGH, THAT WAS MY FIRST PICK.
Dennis: Barbecue without cornbread? That’s a tragedy. Also, here’s the thing, is that I figured most of you would have cornbread on your lists too, so there was strategy involved in this pick!
Lillian: Do you like it with corn chunks?
Marnie: Do you like the cornbread that is sweet like cake, or a little more on the savory/corny side?
Dennis: I like it with corn in it, and I lean a little more to a sweet version, but the savory one in my mind is better for a meal. I’ve had the sweet variety that’s just TOO sweet, in which case it tastes more like a muffin
I can’t confirm this right this second, but I’ve been told there’s regional preferences to cornbread and that we Midwesterners prefer the sweet kind!
Aimee: I think that’s fair. But it’s also good with bacon cracklings.
Marnie: I like it all, as long as I can break it up into chili
Lillian: I love the sweet kind! My friend Claire makes a super-sticky sweet kind that has corn chunks and bacon cracklings. All the fixings.
I do think Jiffy instant cornbread is appropriate in nearly every setting. It’s so good.
Dennis: I like it too. Does that make us posers?
Aimee: Nah, we’re discerning
Dennis: So I’m coming out swinging in my own way. For some reason readers didn’t respect my choice of tortillas and I’m miffed
Marnie: Let’s see if Lillian can win their hearts
Lillian: I’ve thought about this for many days now, and I’m pretty confident in my first pick: THE MIGHTY BREAD BOWL.
Marnie: But....! But....! That is a STRUCTURE, not a VARIETAL!
Aimee: Uh oh
Dennis: I’m also going to call shenanigans for a different reason: I do not believe that you eat bread bowls often
Lillian: Wait, do I not seem like someone who eats bread bowls?! That’s a serious character flaw.
Alright, listen: One could argue that a baguette is also a structure – it’s long, skinny bread! Like the glorious baguette, a bread bowl can be made of different types of bread.
Aimee: I thought the composition of a baguette was mandated by law!
Lillian: Well, if the composition of a bread bowl isn’t mandated by law, it should be. Plus, you don’t have to use it as a bowl – it just happens to have a pocket for your soups, your chowders, et cetera.
Dennis why do you not believe that I eat bread bowls!!!!
Dennis: I think the only time I’ve ever had a bread bowl was at Panera or at a party with spinach dip. But by the time you get to the bowl, who’s going to want to tear at it at a party when everybody’s hands were all over it?
I don’t remember the last time anyone talked about a bread bowl, Lillian!
Lillian: Ah, see, I grew up half a mile away from a Panera, so I’ve had my fair share. That is gross that someone brought it to a party, though?! I’m from a big Panera Family
Dennis: You’ve never been to a party where people bring spinach dip bread bowls? That’s like Super Bowl food
Lillian: I’ve never been to a party
Aimee: You’re lucky. Parties are awful
Lillian: I exist in solitude. With my bread bowl
Aimee: I see it’s up to me to get this thing back on track with an actual recognized type of bread, not a form.
Lillian: *blows raspberry*
Aimee: And so I choose… rye! The bread without which no deli can exist.
Marnie: Another fan favorite!
Dennis: I figured we’d see that one sooner than later
Lillian: Ah, no one can argue with this one. Very good, very good.
Aimee: It’s sturdy. It is one of the few acceptable options for a corned beef or pastrami sandwich—some would say the only, but I am a generous person.
Dennis: It’s also a good standalone bread for butter
Marnie: Not sure if you’re ready for this information, but as a kid I ate sandwiches that were mayonnaise and Swiss cheese between two thick slices of rye and....that’s it
Aimee: That’s very, uh, goyische.
Dennis: Honestly that’s why you’re the boss Marnie
It’s the sandwiches
Lillian: Honestly I’m not gonna knock that.
Marnie: Maybe I ought to revisit this combo in adulthood
I’ve really only had grocery store rye. Is it one of those things that’s leaps and bounds better from a bakery? I would assume
Lillian: Jeff & Judes in Ukrainian Village! Theirs is lovely.
Dennis: I’ve had it from Russian and Polish bakeries, but since I don’t understand either of those languages I have no idea if I was getting bakery goods or factory goods, but I can say it’s always great
Marnie: Well, Aimee scooped up a key player in round one, and she gets another pick to get out ahead of us.
Aimee: My next pick is injera. It’s not just a bread, it’s a plate!
Marnie: YOU’RE LEAVING US ALL IN THE DUST
Dennis: I was also wondering if someone would pick that
Aimee: Hey, I went last. You all had your chance
And you wasted it on bread bowls.
Lillian: Oh, nobody’s going to knock Aimee for picking a PLATE?
Just kidding, injera is awesome.
Dennis: I love the flavor of it
Aimee: I know! It’s so sour, but it works perfectly when you wrap food in it. And then it soaks up all the juice and gravy.
Dennis: Plus it has teff in it, which is cool because I think that may be the only food I’ve had involving teff flour
Lillian: I love that tang with super heavy, saucy foods!
Marnie: That spongy texture makes it feel like such a fun indulgence, too
Aimee: Also, if you’re eating with someone who doesn’t know any better, you can try to convince them it’s a washcloth.
Dennis: Eating with you must be a real hoot
Aimee: The first time I took my mom for Ethiopian food, she asked why we were getting washcloths at the start of the meal.
Marnie: My list of preferred breads is slowly being hacked apart by your picks. And I know Lillian is going to have a good second-round selection as well....
Lillian: Well, now I’m nervous to share my second-round pick lest I be the subject of SCORN...
But it’s beer bread! Have you all had it?
Dennis: Maybe a few times? Is it yeast bread or like cakey bread
Lillian: It’s so fun to make, and I love the sweetness of the beer. It makes the whole house smell amazing.
Cakey is a pretty good way to describe it! It’s thicker and more substantial, and you don’t use yeast (other than the yeast in the beer).
Marnie: Oh man, I totally forgot about beer bread! This pick shall hear no scorn from me!
Aimee: It’s so good with cheese!
Dennis: What if you ate beer bread with beer cheese? Then drank beer? Would that make the world explode?
Lillian: If that’s how the world ends, I’m here for it.
Oh, I also think beer bread is, like, one of the world’s best vessels for really nice butter. It’s dense, so it holds up well to a generous smatterin’.
Marnie: Generous smatterin’s are the only acceptable kind
I’d say that pick more than makes up for your first-round gambit
Dennis: Shots fired
Lillian: I’ll drink to that!
Dennis: Beer in a beer bread bowl
Dennis: I’m picking Hawaiian bread!
Marnie: Okay, now Hawaiian bread is what I remember the spinach dip being served in
Dennis: Wait, who serves spinach dip in Hawaiian bread? There’s Hawaiian bread bowls?
Marnie: Yes! It comes in a round loaf!
Aimee: Lillian says that anything can be a bread bowl.
Dennis: Our collective knowledge about food is dangerous
Marnie: What kind of bread did YOUR spinach dip come in?
Lillian: Your mom’s a bread bowl
Dennis: Lillian how did you know?
Usually spinach dip was served like sourdough-style I think?
Anyway, we have a local grocery store chain here, Jewel, that some of our readers might not know about, and on Mondays they have a dinner package called Cheep Chicken Mondays
You get a whole rotisserie chicken, two big sides, and a little bag of Hawaiian rolls for $12. I think if you opt for the fried chicken version your meal is cheeper. Hawaiian rolls are best with chicken, I’ve decided
Marnie: Do you make lil’ chicken sandwiches with the rolls
Dennis: No, because they’re covered in butter and I can eat one of those rolls in one bite, I think, which is disgusting to think about, but you all know I’m a champion
The pandemic has done a lot to me
Marnie: “The best bread to pair with chicken” is a tough act to follow, but I have to go with pretzel bread
Dennis: Siiick good choice
Marnie: Salty pretzel rolls? Pretzel burger buns? ALL OF IT. The saltier, the better
Lillian: Ooh, I didn’t even think of that possibility! How long’s it been since you had a nice PRETZEL ROLL?
Aimee: What about a pretzel itself? Does that count?
Marnie: I certainly wouldn’t turn it down!
Dennis: I’d say a pretzel counts but in a different way
Marnie: Another sandwich I ate every weekend in high school: A Trader Joe’s pretzel roll split lengthwise, with two slices of hard cheddar inside. That’s it; that’s the sandwich
Aimee: That is indeed.
Dennis: Marnie, the creature of habit
Marnie: Thank you for understanding
Lillian: Marnie I’m the exact same. When I find a plain-jane lunch item that works for me, I go all in.
Marnie: One less thing to think about!
Aimee: It’s so much easier, because you have to think about lunch before breakfast, and it’s so inconvenient.
Marnie: Now the only inconvenience is trying to settle on my final pick.
Dennis: Make it a bad one so I get a fighting chance
Marnie: Sure, okay! Well, taking a leaf out of Lillian’s book, I’m going with pita, a choice I’ve landed on primarily for its structure
There goes my pick, I think I got hosed with a final strike. As they say in Mortal Kombat, FATALITY
Aimee: Pitas are extremely useful, both as food and as projectiles.
Lillian: Aimee, what is going ON at your dinner table?
Marnie: Deception! Combat!
Dennis: Kombat. That’s Aimee’s finisher, a chucked pita
Well, Marnie’s too, in this case
Aimee: I learned about fine dining in junior high.
Dennis: I like that you can really put anything in a pita, you’re right, doesn’t matter what. Salad, sandwich fillings, stones
Lillian: Ham, rugs, paint chips
Dennis: Don’t forget a scrumptious chair leg
Lillian: We Stones have lived in pita for centuries.
Dennis: Man, I’ve been chipped away in all directions. I’m gonna have to go with something specific, and it’s, drumroll please…Martin’s Potato Bread!!!
Aimee: A classic!
Dennis: I didn’t really discover it until everyone on the East coast swore by it because of Shake Shack
Lillian: I don’t think I’ve ever had it!
Dennis: Well, it’s sort of a newcomer to the Midwest, but you can get it next to all the sliced bread like Wonderbread and stuff
Maybe it’s a psychological thing, but I like that it’s yellow and it’s a little sweet, it makes for good sandwiches and it’s soft. If you like Martin’s Potato Bread, you know what I’m talkin’ about
Marnie: All food is a psychological thing, I suppose
Aimee: Advertising is also magic
Marnie: This is quite a tactic to scoop up east coast votes!!
Lillian: For my last pick, I’m relying on our southern readers—I’m going with Texas toast!
Big ol’ buttery slabs topped with sweet or savory fare? You kiddin’ me?
Aimee: It’s a thing of beauty
Dennis: Turn it into garlic bread and you can even turn it into a massive sandwich
Lillian: Yes! Or an open-faced situation. You can use it for french toast, you can eat it by itself, you can dip it in whatever’s wet on your plate.
Marnie: “Whatever’s wet on your plate”
Lillian: It always reminds me of Anton’s, this breakfast cafe I went to with my grandma every week!
Dennis: I bet it’d go well dipped into instant ramen broth. Toast dipped into ramen broth is really good
Dennis: Dennis Ramen Fusion
Lillian: A beautiful name given to you by your mother, the bread bowl
Marnie: We’re all way too excited about each other’s picks here. This is too supportive of a draft!
Dennis: Yeah, where are the jabs?
Marnie: Aimee, do you care to sow discord with your last pick?
Aimee: It’s hard not to be supportive of bread. The staff of life!
My last pick is banana bread. I don’t think that’s divisive, but who knows?
Lillian: Oh, that sounds incredible right now.
Dennis: I’m surprised it hadn’t gotten picked before
Lillian: Where do we stand on peanut butter on banana bread? I hadn’t even thought to do it until last year, and it’s changed my life.
Aimee: That never occurred to me, but I can see it…
Marnie: Okay, so the readers will be THRILLED to see banana bread on here. But I consider it more of a cake, you know? Which is why I didn’t pick it. But to Lillian’s question, banana bread with peanut butter on it is the ONLY way to go
Dennis: Zucchini bread is also good, although I haven’t had it in years
Aimee: It’s a sweet bread! (As opposed to a sweetbread.)
Dennis: Oh man, a sweetbread would have been an amazing swerve
Aimee: My mom used to call banana bread “candy bread” so I would eat it.
Marnie: I guess certain recipes are “breadier” than others. The one I grew up eating had the same amount of sugar as any cake we ever baked, sooooo….
Aimee: I saw a recipe once with yeast.
Dennis: That seems sacrilegious
Aimee: It was not bad.
Marnie: How about add-ins? Chocolate chips or nah? Nuts? We make it with peanut butter chips.
Aimee: No nuts.
Lillian: Peanut butter chips is brilliant! No nuts, but yes to chocolate chips and also maybe butterscotch chips.
Dennis: Peanut butter chips…whoa
Marnie: No nuts?! Dennis, would you go with walnuts in there? I think you need ‘em!
Aimee: No! They just spoil everything.
Dennis: I have a mixed relationship with walnuts. I like them, but I don’t really care for that waxy feeling in my mouth afterwards. So, putting them in banana bread…maybe not
Marnie: I feel like I’m seeing you all for the very first time
Lillian: Assumed you were working with a bunch of nut hounds, eh?
Marnie: I just can’t picture a life without adding nuts to everything that can have nuts added
Aimee: Walnuts upset me.
Marnie: Hey, here’s that discord I was looking for!
Lillian: Nut fight, nut fight
Marnie: At least it wasn’t bread that came between us
Dennis: We end with tension.
Marnie: We end with tension.
Lillian: We end with tension.
Aimee: We end with tension.