break*fast (noun)


Where do you stand on the subject of breakfast? Personally, I’m all in favor of it. Being a wordsmith devoted to words and their meanings, I especially like this one. It means, literally, to break one’s fast. To eat a little something — or a lot — after eating nothing at all during the night.

When it comes to breakfast I believe in variety. So one morning I might have a toasted whole wheat bagels — just a half of one; my wife Karen can rattle off the number of carbohydrates in a bagel pretty fast — along with a pile of sliced cantaloupe, bananas and strawberries. The next day might bring wheat toast and scrambled eggs. And when I’m rushed, it’s a cereal day. Grape Nuts, more than likely, or shredded wheat – two holdovers from the days when we had kids at home. That way I always had cereal available since they wouldn’t touch those.

Grace and Missy, our  generic cats, could care less about variety. They eat the same thing — dry cat food — for breakfast every day, and for dinner, too. Though Gracie, my constant shadow, isn’t opposed to a pinch of fried egg on occasion.

Back when I did some wandering around in Europe I quickly learned which countries laid out the best breakfasts. England won, hands down. A British repast of sausages — called bangers — and eggs and scones was hard to beat. A big dollop of beans came with it as well, which took a little getting used to for an East Texas lad. Up in Oakwood we generally ate our beans much later in the day. Germany ran a close second, with pan-fried potatoes and Bavarian bratwurst. France and Switzerland were at the bottom of my list. In those places, you might have only a croissant, some jam and maybe — if you’re lucky — a piece of fruit.

So give me England and Germany when it comes to breakfast. And, if I’m in New York City, I’ll take Sarabeth’s on Amsterdam Avenue. Specifically I’ll take their lemon and ricotta pancakes topped with fresh berries. My wife and I first went there on a friend’s recommendation, and we’ve sent no telling how many people there when they visit Manhattan. We’ve provided so many customers that Sarabeth’s really ought to give us a little kickback, or at least they could send us a jar of their boysenberry jam.

We’ve all heard, countless times, that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. And I agree with it. I don’t think I could make it to lunch without breakfast. I’d crater; I’d fold up like a bad hand of cards.

Now, there are people out there who can go all morning without a morsel of food. My sister Janie, a retired schoolteacher up in McKinney, has a diet Coke for her breakfast every day. But she’s persnickety about it; it has to be from McDonald’s. I’ve told her for years that she would be doing herself and her health a favor by adding a sausage biscuit to her order. But she won’t. And Janie and I are at the stages of our lives where she is likely to keep on starting her days with just a cup of soda in spite of any suggestions from me.

Janie and I grew up in a house that had some particularly fine breakfasts on the table. Our mother turned out some world-class French toast and omelets. And our father’s specialty was pancakes, extra tender and fluffy, he maintained, because he used cold Sprite in the batter rather than water.

Even back then, I was so much a fan of breakfast that I could predict what leftover part of our suppers would reappear on the table the next morning.  For instance, if we had pork chops, I could expect one parked next to a pile of scrambled eggs in the morning. And, best of all, when we had cornbread in the evening, then the next day’s breakfast would be a thick slice of that golden treasure slathered with butter and broiled to crispy-edged perfection and drenched in syrup. Which went extremely well with either a sausage patty or a couple of slices of bacon. Add to that an over-easy egg or two, the runny part seeping up into the bottom of the cornbread.

Anyway, the lesson today is don’t skip your breakfast.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to poke around through our cupboard and see if we have any cornbread mix. I’ve talked myself into a definite plan for tomorrow morning’s menu.

[This showed up on breakfast tables in a Sunday morning column sometime or another]


One thought on “break*fast (noun)

  1. Hello, friend! It’s 5:30 a.m. I don’t usually feel like having breakfast until about 9:00, but after reading these creative breakfast menus, I may have look for something to go with my coffee pretty quick! Hope you are doing well.


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