A predictable life isn’t all that bad. You know what to expect, you’re comfortable in the routine and it works to rarely step outside of something that you know is always going to be there. You have Tacos on Tuesday, you do laundry every Wednesday whether you want to or not and the floors get cleaned on Sunday. Predictability makes for less stress, without a doubt.
Yet, life isn’t always in alignment with keeping it predictable. Our day to day existence can be thrown all over the map without a lot of effort, and having the ease of the expected sometimes can make those erratic days feel less of a burden. The same can be said about our meals too. I love variety in my kitchen, and will highlight the best of those recipes here for you to enjoy as well, but in addition to our stretching in the foods that we eat, we do a lot of repeats too; we make a batch of burgers, bake some chicken, cook up a pan of enchiladas, or jambalaya or stir up a large pot of different soups. I made a gorgeous pork tenderloin the other day, slathered in the roasted garlic mustard I made as Christmas gifts. It was lovely, but it was predictable, especially with the roasted potatoes on the side.
And in going out for a meal, I love to experiment, to try out restaurants especially that serve ethnic cuisine I don’t to make at home. I love Indian food, and often leave it to the experts to create. Thai food, Chinese and Mexican are other cuisines I love to sample from restaurants. Sometimes they’re predictable, but I try to choose menu items that are unfamiliar so that I can experiment with other flavors and the different aspects of the culture.
But then, there are those times when I just want something simple, something I know will deliver satisfaction and consistency, and stopping in Panera will give me just that.
It’s not fancy, or lavish. It’s comforting and simple. Anyone can go there, from a 2-year old to the elders in your family. The selections are easy and familiar. You can count on the soups being warm and soothing, with a nice chunk of bread to dunk in, with a wide variety of good sandwiches and salads to satisfy everyone’s tastes. Their line of artisan breads are crackly on the outside, soft on the inside, and if baked goods and coffee are your thing, Panera offers lots of rich decadent options along with plenty of chewy bagels, and a bottomless cup of java to help you through the morning. WiFi is also available, and the stores are comfortable, and usually quiet enough for a few hours of work.
Just recently on a chilly morning following church, Mike and I stopped in for some soup, and soon a bowl of their Creamy Tomato Soup was sitting in front of me, with a delicious Asiago cheese bagel on the side, to pull through the steaming bowl. The taste reminded me of being a kid, sitting at my Mom’s kitchen table with tomato soup and a grilled cheese, and I loved how it gave me that sense of comfort. There’s really nothing more to it than that; it’s predictable and widely available and always there, something you can count on.
DISCLAIMER: I was compensated for this post and my meal was complementary. All thoughts, opinions and feedback in this post are my own and were not influenced by Panera or their affiliates in any way.