What do you eat for breakfast?
I’m having a series of breakfast crises, so in lieu of therapy, I’m doing a survey.
I have a love-hate relationship with breakfast.
When breakfast is right, it’s REALLY right. When breakfast is wrong?
Dis. Gus. Ting.
When I was a kid, I always ate breakfast. Some of my best memories were of early mornings.
My mom took her first job at a local factory when I was three years old. My grandparents lived between us and town, where she worked. So we’d get up and she’d shuffle me off in my pajamas, with whatever pile of toys and books I wanted for the day, and she’d drop me off at MotherGrant and DaddyMike’s house for the day and she’d be to work before seven .
Yes, I see mouths dropping open and looks of disbelief all around the lair, but it’s true. There were times in my life when I was forced to wear the burdensome cloak of a daywalker. Crime against nature, but there it is.
So anyway, she’d pull into the driveway, we’d pile out of the car with my gargantuan load of necessary accoutrement, and head for the back door. Cows were already mooing in the barn lot. I stood by the back door as mom reached for the handle. She pressed the button on the latch of the ugly gray aluminum storm door. She pulled. It opened just a crack, and the heady scent wafted over me.
Not just any bacon either. I knew from whence this bacon came.
Every now and then Daddymike would be running late, or mom would be running early, and I’d get there before he started breakfast. Daddymike would pull out the butcher knife, give it a few swipes across the whet stone, and off to the smokehouse we’d go.
The smokehouse was dark and the smell was heavenly. Cured meat. Big hams lay on the rough-hewn benches in piles of salt mixture. Other hams and sides of bacon hung from the rafters. He’d cut a chunk off of one of the sides of bacon and back to the house.
Slice the meat. Rinse the salt off. Plop it into the cast iron skillet. And aaaaahhhhhhhh!
There came the smell.
Now when I see eggs at breakfast, I make the sign of the cross and get queasy unless there are copious amounts of gravy to hide them. But Daddymike made perfect eggs. Fried eggs, over medium well plus. (That "plus" is extremely important. Not well done. Not over medium well. Over medium well PLUS a little.) Buttered toast. And coffee. Yes, it was instant, but at that time it was nectar. Diluted by half a cup of milk and a whole bunch of sugar.
By that time MotherGrant was up and about, setting the table, getting the house running for the day. We sat down to eat together. MotherGrant gossiped about the neighbors. I did this every day for years. And my love of breakfast was set.
After breakfast I followed DaddyMike to the barn to milk his three cows. I played. I climbed trees. I played. I ran. I played. I rode my tricycle. I played. I watched Captain Kangaroo. And I played. All the way up to lunch. Then again all the way up to dinner. That breakfast gave me energy in abundance.
The memories of those breakfasts with DaddyMike and MotherGrant haunt me.
Because I can’t get them.
There's the whole "nobody fixes eggs the way DaddyMike did" issue. Bacon comes from the grocery store now, and still smells wonderful, but not like his bacon.
I have searched for other fulfilling breakfast food, and I’ve gone through some stages. I had my Cheerios phase. I had my Captain Crunch phase. I had my egg sandwich phase (lots of jelly to hide the egg) and my bagel phase. In my college days I had a cold pizza and coke phase.
Recently I’ve been traveling down south a lot with a woman who loves fried catfish for breakfast with eggs and grits. I admit, it’s pretty darn good.
In my search for breakfast fulfillment I paused at the front bar, where a few Bandits were taking breaks from the writing caves deep in the bowels of the lair.
“Joanie,” I said, “What do you eat for breakfast?”
Joanie said, “Good or bad day?”
Clearly, this could get more complicated than I thought.
“Okay, Joanie, Good day.”
“A cup of cheerios, and a cup of skim milk.”
I was aghast. “What the heck makes THAT a good day?”
“Bad day,” Joanie went on, “is scrambled eggs, bacon, shredded hashbrowns, a biscuit with sausage gravy. And a Diet Coke.”
Hmmmm. That sounds much closer to a GOOD day to me.
Except for the Diet Coke. *shudder*
“Okay, I said, “Nancy, what do you eat for breakfast?”
“Well my goal is a bowl of Raisin Bran with the serving size specified on the package, skim milk, and coffee with half and half.”
I frowned. “You are not right.”
Donna broke in. “I usually have a cup of Raisin Bran cereal, only I use one-percent milk, I won’t drink skim.” (YES! *Cassondra pumps fist for the very slight gain toward the good-tasting ground of whole milk*) “But,"Donna said, and paused to glance at Nancy who raised one eyebrow, "my favorite breakfast is half of a banana sliced in a bowl, topped with a handful of granola, a cup of low-fat vanilla yogurt, and sliced strawberries and blueberries. “
"Okay I am down with this idea. A parfait. I could go with that...except for the no-protein part. Yogurt does NOT count as honest protein. Yogurt is an interloper. A late-arriving fake. It's hoity toity. And I say that all y'all are a little twisted.” Now Donna has her eyebrow raised.
I have one last hope from the people in the bar. My evil twin. Jeanne.
Jeanne did not hesitate. “Three eggs, scrambled firm. A bowl of Cheerios with whole milk and a bagel with cream cheese. If I’ve got it I’ll eat bacon. Oh and there’s usually a decaf, venti , skim, with-whip mocha involved.”
“Yes, "Nancy said, but you’re having breakfast at one in the afternoon.” She points at me with that same eyebrow raised even higher. I can see that she’s considering buying a cross-shaped necklace to wear at all times.
“FINE FINE. Okay. It’s true. I am a vampire. But why should I be breakfast-penalized for this?”
And you see, I am penalized. I tend to stay up very late and sleep late. Then I want breakfast. Almost all restaurants turn off the eggs and bacon and turn on the burgers and barbecue by the time I’m up and have had coffee. By that time, any form of biscuit has turned into a reasonable imitation of a hockey puck. And I’m sorry, but I just don’t want spice for breakfast. No ketchup. No complicated sauces. Nothing fancy. No gourmet concoctions in cute heart-shaped ramekins. No mushroom quiche. These foods I mention…they are challenging. I do not want to be challenged by my breakfast.
The world makes breakfast for daywalkers. And I am not one.
And I cannot, under any circumstances, manage cast iron skillets and slow-cooking eggs within the first three hours of waking. To consider such a thing could be a threat to national security. Or at least to the dog and the FedEx guy, who tends to arrive in the mornings. I am not a morning person.
So recently I have been gravitating toward catfish because it’s available even after noon.
But I have to admit, it’s lacking. It’s not DaddyMike’s breakfast.
DaddyMike’s breakfast was comforting, filling, full of energy and not challenging. The ultimate breakfast.
Recently I’ve been logging some long hours and trying to increase my writing output –I mean double or triple it. I have decided that I need breakfast. My books need breakfast. And since I no longer have DaddyMike on this realm, I need help.
What do y’all eat for breakfast?
Eggs? Bacon? Sausage? Toast or biscuits?
How ‘bout potatoes?
What did you grow up eating for breakfast? Do you still like that? Or have you switched? And if so, is it a diet you’re on? Or has your taste changed?
Are there certain breakfast foods which are traditional in the area or country where you live, or where you grew up?
What's your favorite breakfast ever?
Help me, Bandits and Buddies. What’s a vampire to do? (And no, blood is not an option. It's far too challenging for a morning meal.)