Each week, we rummage through the dark corners of our kitchen drawers to bring you an enigmatic item. We ask you to guess what it is in our weekly From the From the Back of the Drawer puzzle. To enter this week’s puzzle, visit this page. To read more descriptions of past items, visit this page. And, don’t forget to donate your odd items to the Southern Food and Beverage Museum.
This week’s item is unique to Dickie Brennan’s Tableau Restaurant in the French Quarter of New Orleans, Louisiana. It’s a loaf pan for baking very narrow bread (1 inch by 14 inches) for tiny finger sandwiches, although this “finger sandwich” is not quite like the one you might prepare at home by trimming sliced bread and cutting it into small, crustless squares.
Here the slices come from tiny loaves of bread, rather than large ones. The effect that you can see in the accompanying video is almost startling at first, as if Rick Moranis’s character in the film Honey I Shrunk the Kids turned his raygun on a ham and cheese sandwich. Tableau usually uses the tiny sandwiches as hors d’oeuvres for gatherings, although I wouldn’t be surprised to find the bread showing up as part of an amuse-bouche for dinner one evening.
A dark bread loaf similar to this is often available in grocery stores as a party bread, although the slices are not quite as tiny as these. The chef at Tableau, Ben Thibodeaux, says that these long loaf pans were made especially for the restaurant. You can certainly buy small loaf pans–an Internet search on “mini-loaf pan” will pull up many versions for small loaves–but certainly nothing this long and narrow.
Of course, that’s part of the reason we go out to eat at fine restaurants: to see and eat something we wouldn’t get at home. Tableaux gets the cute bread award for this offering.
Our Rating: While it’s not available to consumers, it’s a clever restaurant take on the finger sandwich bread. A+
Design: It’s a bread pan, albeit unusually long and narrow. A
Originality: Nothing in the marketplace is comparable since they were made for Tableaux Restaurant. A+
Practicality: Getting dough into any loaf pan this small could be difficult, unless you squeeze in using a pastry tube. Obviously for a commercial establishment, this is not a serious problem. B (for home use)