Thursday, January 24, 2008

On Eating Breakfast

Well friends, it's a new year and I'm a new man. I am now a breakfast person. Don't get me wrong, I was never a breakfast hater—sign me up for pancakes and bacon and biscuits and waffles and eggs and even quiche anytime. Anytime but breakfast time, that is.

Ever since high school I have eschewed the morning meal as much as possible. It all started when I noticed that on days I ate breakfast I would be really really hungry in second period, still long before lunch, but on days when I skipped eating I would be just fine. After graduation I worked as a waiter and was running on a pretty late schedule. I'd get up and go to work by 10:30, serve lunch furiously for a few hours, and then eat my first meal at around 2, when things slowed down. Then I'd work all evening and not eat again until after closing, sometime around midnight or later. You see, being a waiter is interesting work because not only are you too busy to eat when normal people eat (that's the job, see?), your body kind of flips out since you spend so much time around food. It loses the ability to distinguish between actually having eaten and having watched other people eat and eat and eat. It did not breed good habits in me.

Well, then I went to Korea, and I can say that I did eat breakfast regularly then, because it was more or less a commandment. But Koreans don't distinguish between meals the way we do—they eat pretty much the same things for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. I mean, it's rice all the time, and they don't bat an eye at eating something killer spicy for breakfast. So even though I was getting up and eating before 8, it wasn't always very breakfasty.1

When I came home, I got my old job back waiting tables and Andrew and I fell into the same old habits of eating. Later, as roommates in college, we started calling it the 12-hour diet, because we usually ate at 11 and 11 every day. Also somewhere in here I lost the ability to eat the same thing twice (did I ever have that ability?). Maybe it was the variety in Korea and the hot breakfast almost every day, or maybe I just grew out of cereal or something, but whatever it was, breakfast foods weren't cutting it because I didn't have time to cook something new and good (and spicy) every day.

And that brings us to today: I am not good at eating before noon, and I have years of practice. But no more! This year I have resolved to take my mother's advice, the same advice she's given me every time I go home and she takes me to Walmart in hopes of buying me all my favorite things and we end up walking right by the cereals, the Poptarts, the muffins, the powdered donettes, the Toaster Strudels, the Eggo Waffles, and the canned biscuit dough with nary a snatch.2 From now on I am a breakfast eater, whether I want to be or not. This year I have already consumed like 6 yogurts, a box of Post Selects Banana Nut Crunch, and 11 English muffins,3 plus I have a full box of Cheerios ready to go.

Wish me luck.

1Although I'll always remember this time, living with Steve Wiscombe, when we made a huge stack of pancakes—apple-cinnamon, maybe?—and a big jug of homemade banana milk. For some reason we set up the little table in the living room and were just settling down around it to pray and eat, and Hales or Groneman knocked the whole jug over onto Wiscombe's shirt.4
2Well, maybe not the powdered donettes.
3Two of which I ate at lunch time, but you get the idea.
4Note to self: Looking to see if I recorded that incident in my journal some place, I stumbled across the entry explaining about the house that the retired architect designed for his own family and how he made classical guitars in the basement, a story I had just shared with Z at the pizza place tonight. This is a coincidence because I probably haven't thought of that in years, but here it is twice on one day.


Queen Bee said...

Any plans for granola? I still haven't tried out that recipe, but I will. Granola is the best way to start the day, if I may recommend it!

Jennifer said...

I'm a coke and candy bar girl, myself, by I am trying to change over to eggs. Good for me. Lotsa protein. Not so hypercharged. I'm having a hard time being motivated for all the obvious reasons. May I suggest for you, though, one of your handy microwave meals. Since it doesn't have to be breakfast food, according to Korea, just eat lunch food! Eat a lasagna, or an enchiladas suisa or whatever it's called, you get the idea. Then, in 3 to 5 minutes, you have hot, spicy, EASY breakfast! And you can make yourself waffles for dinner! And pack a banana for that inevitable hunger 2 hours later. Although, this is a sidenote, when I eat a lot of protein in the morning, I don't really get hungry for 4 or 5 hours. To be fair, when I drink a Coke I don't get hungry, either. THIS IS YOUR SISTER, in case you forgot, you college graduate.