Monday, August 13, 2007

Wawa, You've Given Me a Wah-wah

Take a good look at this picture. What do you see?

“A gas station,” you say? “A convenience store,” you say? Apparently, only the idiot offspring of Mr. Magoo are reading my blog today. Hell, anyone with one good eye and a metal plate in his head would recognize the above Wawa establishment as an oasis of gourmet specialty items for weary travelers with the most highly refined of palates.

Okay, I can tell that you need me to spell this out for you. The below advertisement is proof that my assessment of the above photo is entirely accurate.

Now do you believe me? For those of you not familiar with this gourmet taste treat, “ciabatta” is the Italian word for “slipper” and is used to describe a type of bread with a slightly wrinkled, crisp crust and delightfully airy center. While ciabatta loaves are largely shapeless, they often have a bit of a pointy end that resembles the toe of a lady’s slipper. Thus the name. Here is a ciabatta loaf that I baked recently.

As this was my first attempt at ciabatta, it resembles something more of a circus geek’s clubfoot than the shoe of a dainty Italian maiden, but you get the idea.

The observant reader may notice that Wawa’s ciabatta looks nothing like the traditional Italian loaf I’ve just described. For one thing, it is split down the center like a loaf of Sara Lee* split-top bread. For another, it has a distinct shape not unlike that of a weenie bun suffering from gastric bloat. In fact, it would seem that the ciabatta’s comparative pallor is the only quality that sets it apart from Wawa’s standard hoagie roll.

We should all congratulate the Wawa on its impressive display of inventive epicureanism. It takes a tanker truck full of balls to shatter a stale, centuries-old bread baking tradition in effort to create a ground-breaking new taste sensation that will satisfy no one and everyone simultaneously.

In its infinite wisdom, Wawa realized that not every one of its potential customers is a culinary expert. There were bound to be a few poor slobs stumbling into Wawa who wouldn't know a boulangerie from a pair of crotchless underpants. So, Wawa was kind enough to lend these folks a guiding hand by providing a beverage suggestion that would compliment the ciabatta’s flavor rather than overpower the complexity of its yeasty wang.

Thanks to Wawa, culinary rubes now know that a fountain beverage the size of an oil drum provides the best accompaniment to ciabatta, and that pairing ciabatta with an ICEE is nothing shy of gauche.

Since Wawa’s business practices had so deeply moved me, I decided to visit the company’s website so I could learn all there is to know about this Gourmet Good Citizen. I was thrilled to find that Wawa has posted its mission statement online for all to see. Among the many high standards that the company strives to uphold, I found these to be the most poignant and relevant to its obvious devotion to artisan bread baking:

Our Core Purpose. . .
To Simplify Our Customers’ Daily Lives

Our Core Values. . .
Delight People
Embrace Change

I, for one, am delighted by how much simpler my life has become due to Wawa’s commitment to embracing change. Gone are the days I once spent toiling in the kitchen, kneading bread by hand while a hot oven singed my sagging derriere. I’m off to the Wawa to git me some of that $3.99 ciabatta action. Hot-damn!

* Sara Lee Food and Beverage, incidentally, has just recalled several of its whole wheat bread products because they “might” contain metal fragments. While it’s true that nobody doesn’t like Sara Lee, apparently there is at least one Nitpicky Dick out there who doesn’t like metal shavings in his whole wheat.


David said...

Now I can't go to sleep until I drag "All Things Must Pass" out, cause I've got that riff in my head, actually two riffs, the opening guitar riff and that great Spectoresque horn break middle bit.

I would love two have a WaWa in my neighborhood and their imaginative labeling aside it looks like a bright and shiny place to buy a 40. Besides I thought everyone east of the Alleghenies calls them Hoagies?

My favorite imaginative naming scheme comes from Taco Bell, who serve something with "Carne Asada Steak" which means, meat roasted meat, I guess. yummers, as RR would put it.
Having said that I still like that round thing Taco Bell sells with the cheese whiz in it, the one the commercial says is "good to go". I just can never remember the name of it, (Like Now) but I always get one after I go to the SuperMercado, next time I will ask them to put some meat roasted meat in it.

extrastorchy said...

That song is the soundtrack of my dreams more than any other. Once it's stuck in your head, it'll be there for days.

I love Taco Bell. I can't get enough of it. I know that it barely resembles food, but I can't help myself. My Taco Bell tastes are simple. Bean burrito with sour cream and either a soft taco supreme or crunchy taco supreme depending on whether I'm in a noisy or quiet mood. Sometimes I'll go crazy and get side of nachos. That fake cheese is the food of the gods.

RD said...

I can remember a better time when we had to eat metal shavings in our bread and we were thankful to get them....

It made walking to school up hill through the snow both all worth while....those were the days.

Will E. said...

I never realized how much Wawa delighted me until I moved to the South. A Wawa is a vision of loverliness, and a feast for all these senses. I feel like "one of the people" when I visit one on the few occasions I venture back North; and lord knows, I never feel like one of the people.

Gloria Ives said...

Let's talk Ciabatta. I too make a pretty Darn good Ciabatta. It's the No-knead variety. Found it on YOu Tube. I'm from Cleveland Tho....and the Best Ciabatta you will find is from the Orlando Bakery: (My cousins) They were the First Bakery in the States to Bring the Recipe from Italy and offer it here! Wawa makes a pretty good one, your right! Here is the Link to the Youtube vid
And the Link to the original Ciabatta: