My ideal . . . breakfast


I was in my room the other day, rehearsing my latest anecdote. I won’t give it away, in case I find myself seated beside you at a dinner party or funeral service, but let’s just say it ends with this stunner of a line: so that’s how I knew, he was absolutely riddled! Pleased with myself for almost perfecting it, but aware of the long night ahead, I stopped rehearsing and began instead to imagine the ideal breakfast.

To write with authority, one must research. I expect a Peabody to come body-popping my way for this next piece of insanely personal, deeply investigative journalism: I asked my parents what they eat for breakfast.

My mother habitually speaks for them both, it’s easier that way and, besides, Daddy only gets tired if he talks too much. Mammy’s answer boomed across the turf she was cutting: “Porridge. Always porridge.”

My father, following behind with a basket, peeped out from under his little grey shawl and, with a shy sweep of his dark lashes, concurred. All well and good for them, but I don’t eat porridge, because it tastes and looks like porridge, and I don’t like porridge.

Breakfast is sometimes called the most impotent meal of the day, and I blame cereal for that. Puffs, shreds and crunches are nothing but textures and noises, surely not substantial enough to constitute a meal. Silly as they are, cereals are harmless enough; unless you count the now discontinued Special KKK. This brand ceased production after teenage girls used the empty boxes to make Ouija bowls to eat this peculiarly demeaning cereal from. If you did this twice a day for a week, Satan himself would show up in the form of self-loathing: easy to spot in his little red swimsuit.

However, my real concern is with the enduringly popular breakfast choice – eggs. We’ve all got them, am I right ladies? And as sure as eggs follow night, one day soon a waiter will confront you with this loaded question: “How do you like your eggs?” It happened to me this very morning. “Please; I’ve been putting off dealing with that!” I pleaded. “Do I have to decide right now? Could I not get them whenever suits me, like in 10 years, like a man? What about my career? Could you just hold them for me?” Then I quickly jumped out the window.

The ideal breakfast is a tone setter, a spirit leveller, a bridge into a day well lived, but it’s not everything. My dream breakfast is the start I mean to continue – all good intentions and fierce care, fortified with fortitude, with no added restrictions. If I get that right, I’ll give the mirror a kiss. Mwah! You can do the same, and even if you don’t quite manage it and end up eating a Twirl and a couple of Lexapro instead, never mind, there’s another meal four hours away and you can start again with that.

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