I am one of those people who always wakes up hungry. Obviously there were times in the dim and distant past when I maybe woke up hungover and didn’t feel well enough to eat, but other than that, I NEVER skip breakfast.
Breakfast is a funny meal. It’s the most intimate meal of the day, eaten with somebody you’ve slept alongside. It’s when we’re at our most vulnerable, still cobbling ourselves together. It’s a meal where people crave familiarity.
But I don’t like cereal. I eat cornflakes on the very worst days of the chemo cycle because they have a bit of crunch and they go down easily, but other than that I wouldn’t bother with them. My standard breakfast is muesli, yoghurt, fruit, toast, tea. However, I will eat anything at breakfast. I like the strange, the exotic, the exciting.
My daughter is a bit of a breakfast girl. Brunch, maybe. She is rather partial to eggs Benedict – she’ll happily rustle some up. Coco Pops, she likes as well. We all love a breakfast buffet.
In Sri Lanka we had idlis, in southern Indai we had Kotha Parotha, in Thailand I had a kind of rice porrige with dried fish that I never learned the name of. Bring it on!
A Full English, obviously, is a wonderful thing. Ohh – a Full English with potato farls, which then becomes a Full Irish. Ohh – kedgeree!. A Continental buffet of meats and cheeses and cake – croissants – soft French bread to dip into a bowl of hot chocolate – pastries. Churros. Cold pizza. Honestly.
My mum used to do a proper Easter breakfast. Hot cross buns, dyed boiled eggs, an array of chocolate eggs. We used to spend Easter with my godmother and her family, and the pair of them once stayed up most of the night hand-making hot cross buns.
You know, I even like a hospital breakfast – a tiny bowl of cereal, some bendy toast and a plastic packet of marmalade.
Just after my first diagnosis we celebrated my husband’s 50th. I decided I had to delegate madly and unashamedly. We’d booked a place that had a few cottages and I appointed a breakfast monitor for each one. It was amazing what people brought – I particularly remember Sarah’s home-made muffins. I felt very loved that weekend.
Porridge. I’m never completely satisfied by porridge, but I do like it. The most decadent way of eating it is with cream and golden syrup, (obviously) – clotted cream if you happen to have some by you. In the Aran Islands we stayed in a guesthouse with a flamboyant proprietor who jazzed up our porridge with spices and raisins and it was a revelation. And in Finland we ate a different porridge made from a different grain every day of the week.
So, yes, my favourite meal, I think. I mean, it’s difficult.