31 December 2005
Okay, letís make no bones about this (because obviously we need the bones for stock): I am known to be fond of food. Iím interested in what it is and where it comes from; I enjoy shopping, preparing and cooking it; and yes, I like to eat. Almost anything, at almost any time. Food is a good, in my lexicon.
With, necessarily, one exception. Got to have an exception, just to prove the rule. For me, O my beloved 'earers, it's breakfast. There are people out there, I know, who assert it to be the best meal of the day. Some of them are nutritionists and dieticians, and are therefore safe to be avoided & ignored; others are sensible people who like food in much the same way that I do, and they propose interesting recipes and menus, and it all sounds fine and dandy except for the one unavoidable aspect of this whole thing, which is that they expect me to eat it mere minutes after I've got out of bed. Which is revolting.
This has been a lifelong thing with me, more or less. When I was a small boy, I remember fights every morning, as my mother endeavoured to force something into my stomach before I went to school. She probably succeeded, more mornings than not (tho' I do remember numerous jam sandwiches being hurled surreptitiously to the bottom of the cupboard under the stairs - sorry, Mum...), but I always understood the practice to be vile and against nature. Now I am in my age and answer to no one, and a pint or two of coffee is plenty to see me through to lunchtime.
With, necessarily, an exception or two. Got to have an exception. My regular one is hotel breakfasts. If I'm staying in a hotel, I will always eat the breakfast. All of it, whatever they've got. This started at conventions, where it meant I could start drinking as soon as I liked and not have to stop for lunch; now it's just a habit that I don't understand and am not particularly fond of but can't be bothered to break.
However, a second exception has just reared its curious little head; these last two days, I have woken in my own bed in my own wee house, and discovered to my shock and chagrin that what I most needed to get me up and active was the promise of a breakfast. Toast and honey, specifically. Lawks...
What it is, though, the reason for this apostasy is a simple thing: it's been hugely, appallingly, horrifically cold, and I'm just hungry all the time. My body needs the fuel.
All very traditional, of course, but the thing about traditions is that they're just so mediaeval. Eating more, to see you through the winter - these days, central heating is supposed to obviate the need. Trouble is, though, this is a fundamentally cold house. It's long and thin and faces north, the central heating is ancient and inefficient and doesn't come upstairs, there's a vast chilly stairwell all through the centre of the house, and - well, you get the picture. I must admit I'm disappointed with my new windows, I thought double glazing would magically make the whole house toasty-warm and clearly it doesn't, but it's probably unfair to blame them for the coldest snap in the weather for twenty years.
Anyway, what it means is that I eat two lunches one day, two suppers the next, and I don't mind that at all. It's just this breakfast thing that perturbs me. What's a man supposed to do all morning, with a weight of food in his belly? Where's the coffee meant to go?
© Chaz Brenchley 2005
Reproduced here by permission of Chaz Brenchley, who asserts his moral right to be identified as the author of this work.