Let me say right up front that I am passionate about food (as well as writing) and so every so often I publish a post about food (satisfying both passions!). Fellow blogger/foodie Andrew Zahn (author of the Creatives blog) posted a piece the other day about the joys of breakfast—waffles in particular—and how people who don’t partake of the morning meal scare him. I commented in reply that I (gasp) skip breakfast on the weekdays. But I offered that with a caveat.
I actually love breakfast. I love everything about it, cooking it, eating it, and sharing it. But weekdays I rise at 5 AM and stagger through the dark to the shower. Once I am clean, shaved and dressed I descend to the kitchen to either feed the cat or clean up after her. I have taken to turning on the hall light every morning before taking a single step towards the kitchen (I have soaked my share of stocking feet in ocher pools of cat vomit, and believe me that is an instant appetite suppressant). I make my son’s lunch, get the newspaper from the driveway, put the trash and recycling out on the curb (when I remember), gulp down a shot of OJ and brush my teeth all before racing out the door just five minutes shy of 6 AM in order to catch the 6:12 bus.
I’m sorry, but a bowl of cold cereal is not considered breakfast in my book. Breakfast is bacon—with that unmistakable and irresistible house-filling aroma—cooked low and slow in an iron skillet to the perfect degree of crispness. Day old bread soaked in a batter of eggs, vanilla and cinnamon, then pan fried to a firm golden tan on the outside and custard soft on the inside to be doused in hot syrup (yes the syrup has to be heated) that marbles with melting butter.
Breakfast is eggs. Eggs in every shape and description. Rich, creamy scrambled eggs (the secret of which is an extra yolk or two, cream instead of milk, and finishing them off over low or no heat that last 30 seconds or so in the pan), eggs fried in butter and served sunny side up, eggs poached and smothered in hollandaise sauce, or soft boiled, shirred, or coddled eggs. The variations are nearly endless. Let’s not forget savory yet delicate omelets stuffed with anything in the fridge like ham, leftover chicken, marinated artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes, sauteed onions and mushrooms, goat cheese or grated pepper jack, and bacon of course.
There are also waffles, pancakes, cinnamon buns, monkey bread, toasted bagels with a thick smear of cream cheese and jam, or casseroles filled with sausage, bread, eggs and cheese. There are hash browns and corned beef hash. (I once had venison hash that clings in my memory banks as one of my top most memorable meals. It was served at the Salish Lodge, a massive hotel perched atop Snoqualmie Falls—the one that played the part of the Great Northern Hotel for all of you Twin Peaks fans). But I digress…
And please don’t rush me through breakfast. I want to linger over and savor my food while I peruse the paper. I want a pot of coffee (or maybe two) and seconds of French toast and one waffle is never enough. Breakfast is more than a meal it is a languid state of being meant to be leisurely enjoyed.
Breakfast should also be shared. Any meal alone can be depressing but breakfast alone is a crime. I want to be sitting across the table from my delightful wife, both of us in our bathrobes and crowned with clouds of disheveled bed hair watching the birds on the feeder and slipping our cat small bits of bacon (hoping that she doesn’t bring it back up later). Between 5 and 6 AM on weekdays the house is cold, quiet and the family still in bed. I rarely have time for even an English muffin on the run. So yes I do skip breakfast because if it can’t be properly done, I’m not all that interested.
What I do have time for every morning is a diet of writing. Writing is also a passion, but it is a solitary one. It can be done virtually anywhere. A laptop is great but if I have a pen and paper I can write about anything (even breakfast). It can be done in short bursts or over extended periods. And so that is what is on my plate most mornings as I rattle to work on the bus and subway. But on weekend mornings I trade one passion for another. I put my writing down and pick up the skillet. Can you smell the bacon yet?