When I was four or five years old I would wake up every morning and eat oatmeal with my dad. I have only vague images of this, which are themselves probably simulations based on stories my parents told me many years later. That said, the feeling of heading down the stairs to share oatmeal with my dad remains in that space between true recollection and fabrication, and is one of my favourite stories about me.
Apparently, I was a voracious eater of oatmeal.
There’s nothing more boring than someone extolling the virtues of eating breakfast, and I’m happy to say that the fact that it’s The Most Important Meal of the day and Vital for a Healthy Lifestyle does not factor at all into why I love it so much. Breakfast could be linked to cancer and I’d probably sneak two or three a week.
What a proper breakfast signifies—and here by proper I mean something that resembles a meal, and not a bar of compressed nuts covered in yogurt—more than anything else is the availability of time. Unless you’re the type to wake up two hours before you need to leave the house, a proper breakfast is probably beyond you on most working days. But on holidays, or when gainfully unemployed, breakfasts offer the kind of decadence I associate with jackets worn indoors and afternoons playing ridiculous sports.
With the kind of time I’ve had over the past eight weeks I’ve produced breakfasts of such dense amazement sometimes I just sit in front of the plate almost weeping. I’ve discovered the delight of duck eggs, of cooking tomatoes slowly in a pan, of scrambling eggs with butter by taking the pan on and off the heat. When I have significantly less time on my hands, as dictated by bank accounts and bills, its breakfasts I’ll miss the most, although I have a sneaking suspicion kippers and eggs will start making their way onto the dinner menu.