I grew up in the Mississippi Delta. We’re pretty much known for three things; cotton, the blues, and giant mosquitoes. At least two out of the three are really awesome things to be known for. The other….. well, we can do without.
In my time as a child, I would make frequent visits to my grandparents house. The greeting was a warm welcome, a couple of big hugs, and then straight to the kitchen. My grandmother would always make toast with a slice of cheese melted on the top in an old, white and red oven that was as ancient as time itself. She’d serve it up on a plate with a little dab of ketchup on the side for dipping. Now, I didn’t realize it at the time, but this little dish was something of a poor Mississippi Delta boy’s version of a grilled cheese sandwich with tomato soup. And looking back on it, that little piece of cheese toast with ketchup doesn’t seem like much, but to a three year old, it was like hitting the jackpot. And that was the good thing about having grandparents who grew up when times were much harder; they’d never stand to let their “young’uns” do without.
Now, of course, when I walked into the Corner Bakery today on my trial run, I wasn’t thinking about my childhood experiences at my grandparent’s house. Instead, I was giving thought to the menu and which choice may possibly be the best option for something new and different. After careful consideration, I went with the Chicken Pomodori, a panini loaded down with chicken, fresh basil and spinach, oven-roasted tomatoes and provolone cheese with pesto mayo on grilled sourdough. And of course, no sandwich is complete without soup, so I went with the loaded potato. They also threw some kettle chips on the plate, which really, I could have done without.
I’ve gotta be honest, the loaded potato was “soup-perior” to most other places I’ve ever been. Rich and creamy, and full of flavor, it had no need to be over-piled with bacon and sour cream. Corner Bakery prides themselves on being a healthier choice, and they don’t disappoint in the process. Most of those fattening ingredients, you really don’t even miss them because the flavor is so good, so it’s quite possible to do without.
As for the sandwich, biting into that crunchy, cheesy bread was only the beginning. Something about the way the oven roasted tomatoes meshed with the pesto mayo gave me a strong and undeniable sense of familiarity. And then it hit me. For an instance, it was as if I was three years old again, sitting up on my knees, leaning up over my grandmother’s table, and enjoying that cheese toast and ketchup. Now, quite obviously, there was a bit more to this sandwich than cheese toast and ketchup, but the core of the sandwich was exactly the same; toasted bread, melted cheese, and tomato juices. And though I came in the door looking for something new, it was like I got something old instead….. as old as my oldest memories in fact; memories served steamy and fresh from that old oven as ancient as time itself. And that made it well worth my trip to Corner Bakery. The only complaint I could have made is that the picture on the menu showed two halves of a sandwich, but served was only one half which left me wanting more. But then again, there’s that poor, old Mississippi Delta boy in me who knows if he has to, he could do without.