Mandy Nolan’s Soap box: Man shall not live by breadboard alone


What’s with the elevation of the breadboard to the status of a plate? I have a hint for trendy restaurateurs who seek to hipsterfy their service with chunky artisanal-styled food presentation. The true purpose for a breadboard is in the name. It’s a board, used for slicing bread. It is not, and will never be, a plate.

Serving my meal on a breadboard does not impress me. It’s stupid. It’s a tryhard gimmick. Here’s a hint: Just try harder making better food. I’ve been a waitress and mastered the three-plate carry. Carrying a breadboard is a two-hand job. Tipping is a real issue.

The other day the board was so big the chap had to wheel it out in one of those nursery trolleys. Plating up on a breadboard means you can only carry one meal at a time. The other day my poached eggs came out on a breadboard and one of them literally rolled off. Fortunately at that restaurant they were trialling the next service innovation, which was even more organic and unprocessed – food served on the floor. There ain’t no sides on a breadboard – so unless you staple-gun the food to the wood, it’s gunna fall off.

It’s gross. And totally unhygienic. You shouldn’t be serving eggs or steak on a breadboard. You don’t need a certificate in Food Tech to know there are some obvious health risks. Such as wood is porous and holds bacteria. Steak is full of blood, and eggs are the most common food containing salmonella. There is nothing like getting your food delivered on a salmonella-board.

And where do they stack them? Out the back in the woodshed? You’d be flat out getting more than three of those massive chunks of wood in a dishwasher let alone stacked in the cupboard.

I get the whole pitch. It’s part of the artisanal ‘look I made it myself so it must be good. A chicken laid the eggs for your breakfast and while they were cooking I felled some timber and sanded back your breadboard.’ When I see my meal come out on a breadboard I just want to hit the dude with it. Really hard. I want to scream, ‘Take it back and bring me a plate you flannel-shirt-wearing tosser’.

But I don’t. I just shake my head in desperation, wondering when this breadboard trend is going to end. Surely we’ve reached peak breadboard? How do we bring back the plate? The humble plate doesn’t need upgrading. It’s perfect. It’s circular. I like eating off smooth circles, not chunky squares. When you get the design right on something you should just leave it be. I’ve never used a plate and wondered how much better would the experience be on wood. Or maybe even polished concrete.

No, a plate is a plate. It should have no other purpose but to be a plate. Unlike the breadboard, it doesn’t need to be re-purposed. It simply has to be allowed to resume its former purpose, and that’s its life as a fucking plate. Here are some good things about the plate: It’s able to be stacked in a dishwasher. It’s light. It’s sealed. And it doesn’t harbour bacteria. You can also smash plates when you are angry.

Food on a breadboard doesn’t taste better. I have considered the breadboard trend is in fact a backlash response to the impact of the gluten-intolerant movement on bread consumption. It recently occurred to me that when people decreased their bread intake there would be a surplus in breadboards.

And who started this bloody breadboard bullshit? Someone had to start it first. Unless it was a mistake. Like the restaurant ran out of plates and while they were waiting for the dish pig to deliver a few they deposited the meal on a breadboard awaiting a transfer, but then out came the waitress who just served it to the customer as is, and bingo, the breadboard was part of the zeitgeist. Someone took the message back, and then suddenly all around the world restaurants everywhere packed away their plates and started brandishing the board.

It’s not even new. I was there the first time round for the ploughmans lunch and I didn’t like it then. Get back on the plate and ban the breadboard! Tune in next week for ‘A Jar? I am supposed to drink out of a jam jar? Are you fucking kidding me?’

5 responses to “Mandy Nolan’s Soap box: Man shall not live by breadboard alone”

  1. Serena Ballerina says:

    I so agree! Such ridiculousness happens all in the name of fashion/being trendy!
    How come these things start as a way of being different, but then all follow like sheep?
    Am also waiting for the fashion of grotesque graffiti on the skin to pass!

  2. Mal Ross says:

    Well said Mandy, these unhigenic wankers need to wake up!! a…nd clean up
    How many people get sick from these DIRTY bread boards.
    The next clown that serves me with a dirty old breadboard will be asked how they cleaned it .. and to put it all on a Freakin PLATE!! I am NOT THE PLOUGHMAN If you are going to rip me off with ignorant , crazy prices I want a PLATE !! you grubby pigs

  3. Rose Adams says:

    I hear you girl. I retain an unsavoury memory of just such a trendy move many years ago back in South Africa. Our favourite pizza restaurant decide breadboards were the go for serving pizza. No doubt following some health department edict, the dishwashers liberally and I mean very generously soaked these boards in Jeyes fluid, a noxious-smelling disinfectant that does not in any way improve the favour or aroma of food. We voted with our feet, their loss, our improved dining experience.

  4. eve sinton says:

    Yes to everything you say about the breadboard, Mandy. And even worse – liquid discharges from the breadboard-served food drip down one’s front onto one’s lap. A nice, round, ceramic plate is designed to prevent this.

  5. Steven says:

    Nailed it Mandy!

    I’m a chef and i have been saying this for years.

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