Confessions of a Breadboard Addict - The Breadboard
A lot of people don’t know that the Breadboard has been around for 35 plus years – it was originally a gas station built in the 40’s until a couple of people started selling sandwiches in the early 80’s. That’s around the same time an Architecture professor named Erno Rubik came up with a weird puzzle that no one really understood and took months to solve because back then there was no YouTube or even smartphones and people just had to figure it out but over a billion cubes later kids can solve the Rubik’s cube in 4 seconds which seems almost impossible to comprehend but then how a place that used to be a garage can serve Pumpkin Pancakes that are incredibly addicting is hard to comprehend and the service is so fast at the Breadboard that even if you were a freakishly fast cube solving phenomenon you still could only solve it a few times before your pancakes were served and you’d have to quit because you had to dive into those yummy pancakes and your whole world would slow down as you savored every scrumptious bite and your cube addiction would be supplanted by a feeling of calm and reflection and you’d start feeling poetic and wanting to write haikus like the 15 century poet Basho and with each bite you’d start thinking “Every day is a journey, and the journey is home.“
The country gravy at the Breadboard is thick and creamy and flavorful and amazing with big hunks of sausage and bacon and I was really enjoying it the other day and this couple sat down next to me with what seemed to be their elderly father and the young husband was saying that he’d been juicing and was going vegetarian and gonna get the veggie benedict and that he’d had a creepy nightmare last night about Shirley Temple munching little animals out of her soup while she sang about it and the wife said that she thought that caging exotic animals is wrong and that it was evidence of a true spiritual awakening that Nabisco had finally let the lions and tigers roam free from their cages on the Animal Crackers box but she still wanted some of that delicious thick cut Breadboard bacon and the elderly father said he had no idea what they were talking about but he wanted to know what the doctor had been talking to them about after his physical and the wife said that there was some bad news and some really bad news and the father said to just let him have the really bad news first and the wife said that he has cancer and the father slumped and sipped his coffee and said, “OK…what’s the not so bad news?” and the wife took a moment and said, “you have dementia” and the father sipped some more of that delicious Breadboard coffee and thoughtfully looked out the window for a bit and then a big smile came over his face and he said, “well, at least I don’t have cancer!” And he said, “Today is a day to celebrate, I’m gonna have a Mountain Man with that delicious country gravy!”
I was enjoying a delicious omelet at the Breadboard the other day. I was sitting on the deck… the morning was cool, the air was fresh the sky was blue and I was still in a celebratory mood like everyone else because the Beavers baseball machine earned another national title. I noticed a young man, he was sitting alone. Dressed all in black. Reading a 4-inch thick physics textbook. The table next to him had young parents busily texting away with two cute but rambunctious little ones. The mini- Einstein grunted and mumbled “obstreperous children with their juvenile parents”. After observing the young family and googling “obstreperous”, I had to agree he had a point. Then the mini-Einstein noticed I was watching him and the kids. Our eyes met and he sort of sneered “the moderately stunning view of Grizzly Peak upstaged by the raw drama of human nature?” Then he stood up, stretched, cracked his neck and sort of actually “sauntered” over to my table and I was a little nervous because I’d just finished reading a Clive Cussler novel and you know, you never know… Then, in a very low, measured whisper he hissed “Good morning Beaver hat. You like drama? I propose we play a game of chess. Loser buys breakfast. “ Being still a little cocky and feeling the obstreperousness in myself percolate after the Beavers dramatic victory, I replied, “Set ‘em up, Einstein.” Go Beavers.
Yesterday was really interesting at the Breadboard. There was a group of six young boys, maybe 11 or 12, sitting on the deck and they all had T-shirts that said Atari Lives! Apparently they had been deeply affected by the new Wes Anderson movie, “The Isle of Dogs”, because they all were really fired up and going on and on about how the movie was a metaphor for overcoming evil and it unlocked the keys to self-actualization and because it so closely paralleled “The Matrix” (hm?) they really out to be organizing self-help seminars based on the “Atari/Samurai/We Can All Be Boy Heroes” theme and how this was a business begging to be started and they could all get really really rich… etc. And then one of the Atari Lives! group started quoting Socrates who said “how many things there are that I do not want” and a couple of the kids agreed saying that in Japan there are over 200 different flavors of Kit Kat Bars and that was ridiculous and then one of the kids said Socrates wasn’t talking about Kit Kat Bars, he was talking about materialism but then the other boy said there was a really cool new art gallery that just opened up next door to the Breadboard in the little log cabin and they could maybe organize an event there because the wife does world class glass art and the husband travels one week a month all around the country sourcing great art and maybe they could see if they could do some kind of joint promotion and maybe she could make a glass figure of the Atari boy samurai with a screw sticking out of his head but he was cut off because the Socrates kid that felt like “there are so many things he didn’t want” said that the one thing he really “wants” is a dog and the movie was more about love than heroism and they needed to set the goal of trying to see that every boy in America adopts a dog – that should be their mission statement – but then their food came and they each had a different dish and they started arguing about whose was the most awesome and the one with the Nutella Stuffed French Toast was the most convicted – obviously. And then a woman with a dog walked onto the deck (because that’s totally cool at the Breadboard) and she had on an Atari Lives! t-shirt and the energy jumped another notch and my Goodbean coffee was better not bitter, and the view of Grizzly Peak was stunning and my food arrived and I thought, maybe I should have ordered the Nutella Stuffed French Toast, but after one bite of my Breadboard Omelette I started chanting too. But I’m still puzzled as to how there could possibly be 200 flavors of Kit Kats and I thought I’d ponder this as I checked out the art next door…
(feel free to bring your own take-out bag)
Things almost got ugly the other day in the Breadboard. The four women at table 2 had decided to each get a different omelet but then to also get a plate of Marionberry Muffin French Toast and to split it… the problem was that it came with 5 pieces and it’s obvious that this wasn’t gonna work. Things were all bright and breezy at first because everybody was still revelling in the new found joy that the Breadboard has finally gone with compostable/biodegadeable to go containers, utensils, and straws and now only gives straws on demand which are the most damaging and deadly thing we can put into the environment but as the omlettes dimished into the final bites the conversation switched to the French Toast and how this was one of the items Guy Fieri was going to feature on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives when he visited Ashland, but he was equally taken by the Mountain Man with the rich country gravy but at the last minute he was apparently more into Indonesian food and who could blame him because authentic Indonesian food is hard to resist and Blue Toba is the real deal but the customers that nominated the Breadboard for Triple D deserve a big hug of appreciation because Breadboard customers are passionate about their place and that’s why they fight over the 5th piece of Marionberry Muffin French Toast. Fortunately, the discussion about the importance of using biodegradable to go containers at the Breadboard seemed to mollify the women at table 2 and one woman had to use the restroom and another had to take a call outside so the other two split the last piece – kind of like a Trump/Kim moment (sort of but not really) – but all was well and because of the to go container adjustment the turtles now stand a better chance and the Pacific garbage patch will grow just a little less and we can all feel good about that.
I was in the Breadboard the other day politely eavesdropping on a conversation between a mom and her pre-teen son and he was a big OSF fan and mentioned that if the Bard were alive today he’d have just had his 364th birthday and as she nibbled on her huge and scrumptious home-made Marionberry muffin that is baked daily at the Breadboard (not at home) she said that Shakespeare actually never existed and there is a very well-documented conspiracy theory supporting this claim. The son was deep in thought, and the Mom maybe thought he was offended… again… and the conversation was over. Then the son asked her why she was so big on using organic pesticide because if it’s purpose is to kill things then what’s up with that. Then he asked her why she is so big on recycling everything but she uses two paper towels when one would suffice or why use paper towels at all? And why were she and Dad building a house when there were lots of older houses available and why did they buy a pure bred dog when lots of ‘em at the animal shelter needed homes and, if Shakespeare never existed how is it that his cannon is so harmonious and then by the same line of reasoning, if a big bang results in chaos why is the universe so orderly and he said he can explain why the sky is blue and why it feels like time is speeding up as you grow older but can she? And as their meal came she gave a defeated sigh and said at least they can both agree there is no such thing as gourmet British food and the son shrugged and nodded and she asked for a second muffin.
I saw the sweetest little old lady in the Breadboard the other day and she was alone and it looked like she had been crying. She was wiping her eyes and sniffling a little bit and I leaned over and asked if she was ok. She said she was fine, she was wiping her eyes because she had just woken up and had hurried to the Breadboard to be there when it opened and she was awaiting her first cup of coffee for the day. She said she appreciated my concern and suggested I join her for breakfast because we could each order something different and split it that way we could each get something sweet and savory and besides she had been wanting to talk to a “younger” person about what the deal is with this country these days. Before I could respond, the coffee arrived and she had shifted over to my booth and said to the server that she’d like the Mountain Man ‘cause she needs some of that yummy real country sausage gravy smotherin’ them fresh biscuits and eggs and cheese mmm…and she said that I’d be having the Marionberry stuffed French toast. Then she said she was really perplexed with the things going on this country and that she was a huge Batman fan but now that she knows that Ben Affleck’s tattoo on his back was real she was really conflicted. She told me that she also followed the philosophy of Kim Kardashian and agreed with her view that why would anyone put a bumper sticker on a Bentley and that Ben was definitely a Bentley and he should have never split with Jennifer Garner and he was a way better Batman than the last pretty boy Superman but not nearly as cool as Black Panther – but of course – who is? And our food came and she decided I should leave the tip and to be sure to be generous because the service at the Breadboard is second to none and two meals and three cups of coffee later she waved goodbye and I never even caught her name.
I was having breakfast at the Breadboard and there are so many great choices I didn’t know what to do and then this couple at the table next to me was having this conversation and the woman was trying to explain something to this man and he said he just wasn’t getting her point because she was talking so fast but she told him he was, as usual, he was just listening too slow. They were sort of having this argument about who was the best James Bond. She was saying that she’d just watched “Dr. No” with Sean Connery 3 times in a row and he was without question the best Bond ever. But he was a Daniel Craig fan. She kept saying that his defense was built mostly around special effects and modern cinematography and improved editing and less about the character himself and then she cited this study from Stanford in 1970 that documented the counterintuitive phenomenon that when facts prove someone wrong, instead of changing their mind, people tend to double down on their false belief. Thankfully, breakfast arrived just in time because they were starting to get pretty fired up. The food is just so good at the Breadboard – good enough to bring peace to the table when the big issues just can’t seem to be resolved. The thing everyone agrees on is that the Mountain Man at the Breadboard is a classic. 35 years and still an Ashland favorite. Never goes out of style. There’s probably a study done by Stanford that explains the peace-making effect of the Breadboard Mountain Man, and the woman next to me has probably read it and I was going to ask her about this but then a guy next to me started talking about the Roger Moore James Bond (talk about counterintuitiveness and false beliefs) and and I started to flip out not yet having had my Mountain Man but thankfully, just in time they delivered my warm Marionberry muffin and all was copacetic.
“Then in 1982 a guy dressed up in a Spiderman costume got on top of a Greyhound bus that was driving through town, and we became real concerned about safety,” said City Councilor Susan Reid. That was a quote from the first issue of Sneak Preview in 1990 regarding the Halloween situation in 1982. Shortly after that two guys who were selling wood stoves decided to cut their losses and start selling sandwiches and Ashland Wood Stoves changed its name to The Breadboard. The “rest of the story” is that Ashland was barricaded on Halloween for a time and Spider-Man sightings stopped but the Breadboard never slowed down. 2,643,231 meals later (est.) and the big question seems to be why it is called the Breadboard? Good question. A good goal for 2018, search for the meaning. Get up early. Eat at the Breadboard every day because it’s been there for 35 years and while you sit there enjoying your delicious omelette or Kristal’s Killer Chicken Sandwich, gaze out the window and who knows, maybe Spider-Man will pass by on top of a bus. A perfect beginning to 2018.
“Maman died today.” It’s supposedly one of the most famous lines in literature. As I sit in the Breadboard savoring a piece of perfectly cooked thick sliced bacon I am intrigued by the conversation next to me. Somehow the discussion has veered from the literary merits of one of the most famous openings of a novel to a heated dispute over the pronunciation of a name. “It’s French – like ‘Al – bear’ – not just ‘Albert’ like the Beatles’ uncle!” And this person is really fired up. “How do you know?” “Because I googled it!” Well, there you go. A paradigm shift. Not because of the AP English teacher that forever changed my life – nope. This person knows literature because of Google. Who needs AP English when you have Google? The dreaded instant authoritative Google expert – the seed of smartphones and the internet. All of a sudden, someone who doesn’t really read literature can pronounce and even lecture on Camus. Or someone who doesn’t even like jazz can spell and pronounce say …. Django Reinhardt. They’ve never even appreciated “Honeysuckle Rose” but they know all about Django’s burned hand and his tumultuous gypsy life and they’ve never worn a beret and can’t play guitar. I mean, OK, really… I don’t really think the decline of western civilization started with googling, but I do think that instant Google experts maybe should be put in solitary confinement on a restricted diet – no Breadboard bacon, or some other form of effective rehabilitation. Honestly though, there’s a balance. For example, I’ve always been bothered by people who think George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” was written by the ad agency for United Airlines. But that was almost pre-internet and a well-known classic long before the United marketing campaigns. In all fairness, I can’t blame Google or the internet. I mean, without the internet only a few people would get to appreciate the United slogan, “If we can’t beat our competition, we’ll beat our customers.” Or what about Emoji’s? Fun. Useful. They can add humor and warmth to an impersonal text. But they are teaching people how to not write… how not to write? . So many issues occupied my mind but my bacon was so good that I settled into a meditation on the grace of simplicity.. But I must have been thinking out loud because the Google addict next to me overheard me and googled “grace of simplicity” and a whole new extended period of philosophical pontification based on Google “facts” was off to a running start and I asked for another delicious cup of better not bitter Goodbean coffee and smiled to myself and settled in for the ride. Life is lyrical – love you maman.