Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Advent of Breakfast Saturdays

Last week, I was sufficiently entranced by the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton to get up at 3:30 a.m. and spend the pre-dawn hours at a British pub, eating an English breakfast buffet and sighing over the amazing millinery in Westminster Abbey.

If it hadn't been for the allure of the buffet, I still would have been up early, but I would have been watching from the comfort of my couch. One of my great weaknesses in the culinary world is breakfast food, and breakfast food in bulk. Not for me the "light breakfast" of juice and coffee, or a solitary English muffin with a smudge of butter. Give me eggs and bacon and potatoes and toast, and maybe a pastry and fruit, and I will show you a meal composed of splendidly matched pieces, delivered in an unpretentious manner, eaten with the promise of a full day ahead.

Breakfast food can be fancy, to be sure. But most of the time, when you venture out for breakfast food, it is served all crowded together on a single plate, scrambled eggs overlapping hashbrowns hiding beneath pancakes. The plates are quick coming out of the kitchen, often accompanied by any manner of simple condiments and a bottomless cup of coffee. Breakfast food is dependably the same, with slight variations depending on preference or region: sweet and savory and plentiful.

But I think what I like best about breakfast food, whether I am having an omelette day or a French toast day, is that it is the most leisurely meal to eat at a restaurant. When do we go out for breakfast? After church on a lazy Sunday. To celebrate Mother's Day or Easter. To enjoy conversation with a friend. I find that I never rush when eating breakfast out; it is a deliberate appointment to start my day with a large plate of comforting food.

It comes as no surprise to me, then, that as Chef Matt and I discussed opportunities for me to have a little time to myself, outside of work and mommy-ing, I chose to start Breakfast Saturdays. One Saturday a month, I go out by myself or with a friend and indulge in a huge plate of foods that I love to slather with jam or ketchup or syrup.

It is a comfort to me that on my mornings "off," I know I can predict what will be on the menu and know that I will love it. Satisfying my hunger with breakfast food is the easy part; for peace of mind and soul, breakfast has taken on a new meaning as the most important meal of the day as I leave the chaos for an hour of quiet with a pair of over-easy eggs and a cinnamon roll.

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