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A writer’s struggle to find edible food

Kristyn Filip | Fulcrum Staff


“No, it’s tofu. Look, it’s kind of spongy. It’s tofu… maybe.”

“It’s not tofu! It’s cheese… I think.”

I’ll probably never know if the floppy, shiny, sponge-like substance was egg, tofu, cheese, or something else entirely, but I am sure of one thing: it certainly wasn’t edible, yet a Première Moisson employee handed it to me last Monday morning and took my five dollars in return.

My fellow Fulcrum editors and I had decided to buy breakfast from the highly-anticipated bakery located in the new crowning glory of our campus, the Faculty of Social Sciences (FSS) building. We’d heard nothing but great things about Première Moisson, and admittedly, our expectations were sky-high. After suffering the tragic loss of our beloved Café Nostalgica—may she be restored to her former glory by March, as promised—the Fulcrum staff was excited to have a new place to grab some good food so close to our office building.

Immediately upon entering FSS, the delicious aroma wafting from Première Moisson overwhelmed me, and the sensory feast didn’t stop there. When I reached the bakery, my eyes were treated to a cornucopia of jams, pastries, sandwiches, and so-lovely-you-could-hardly-bear-to-eat-them chocolates.

It was nearly impossible to choose just one thing. My taste buds told me to go with the adorably wrapped sweets and a jar of gingham-swaddled apricot jam, but my head, ever the practical killjoy, reminded me it was only 9 a.m., and adults eat breakfast food at that time. Fortunately, Première Moisson’s selection of morning-appropriate food was vast. I eventually settled on the “breakfast panini,” to go.

When I returned to the office, I unwrapped the warm layers of cellophane to take a much-awaited first bite of my panini. My teeth bit down and tore off a piece of bread, and I, having already anticipated deliciousness, was about to smile with satisfaction when my brain caught up to what I was actually tasting in my mouth. I spat out the offending food into a nearby garbage can and stared at the sandwich in my hand. I removed the top piece of bread and took in the full horror of the contents before me.

“There must be some mistake,” I thought, somewhat hysterically. “This came from the place that’s supposed to be the saving grace of the University of Ottawa’s Food Services. This cannot be.”

But alas, it was. The primary ingredient comprising my breakfast panini was a thick, yellow, foam-like substance with a surface so smooth and shiny it could probably double as a mirror in a pinch.

Sensing that I would need support to get through the next few minutes, I called for my coworkers.

“You guys?” I said, my voice loud and slightly cracking. “Guys, I don’t even know what this is.”

A few people came to my rescue and stared at the proffered sponge, as the substance shall now be known. I moved my hand up and down, and the sponge flopped like a dying fish on a dock.

My coworkers’ disgusted faces, feeble attempts at identifying the true nature of the sponge, and grateful glances at their own entirely edible Première Moisson purchases said it all. I had managed to buy the one disgusting thing the bakery sells.

Ever the generous people that they are, my friends offered me bites of their croissants, muffins, and cookies, each more delicious than the last. As much as I wanted to, I couldn’t write off the bakery entirely. The other food was undeniably good.

Will I ever return to Première Moisson? Most likely. Will I ever have high expectations for future endeavours by the U of O in the realm of food? Absolutely not. Except for the return of Nostalgica, that is. Check back with me in March.