Snap, Crackle, Pop! (The Lie We Tell Ourselves Every Morning That Breakfast Is Gr-r-reat)

Have you ever put a forkful of broccoli in your mouth only to then think, maybe I don’t like broccoli, after all. It’s a little dispiriting. And even worse when you repeat the experience several times in a row, before 7 a.m., and several days running.

See, for the last week and a half, I’ve finally been doing something that for 32 years previously I never really bothered with: eating breakfast. No, wait, that’s not entirely true. I mean eating a healthy breakfast, at home. Instead of a $2 pastry from Penn Station at my desk at work, an almond croissant one day and a sweet cheese Danish the next. This week, to be exact: I’ve been eating cheese and broccoli omelets, with a side of marmalade on toast.

Almond Croissant

And coffee. Yep, coffee – that’s what got me into this sorry situation in the first place. Now I don’t know about you, but I absolutely CANNOT drink coffee on an empty stomach. Never mind a cup, a mere sip of Joe without any food in my belly and I’m liable to faint – my body, in the meantime, no longer a comfortable fit, woozy and trembling. (Like I just said, I really don’t know why.) But, nor can I start the day in any useful way without drinking coffee.

All of which, until the beginning of last week, was self-evidently ruinous. At my desk at work, I started every weekday drinking cheap coffee ($1 from a kiosk in the lobby) and eating a $2 pastry. How do you stop such a thing? I never really liked the coffee, and I never really wanted the pastry. But for the sake of being halfway awake, I was willfully engineering (at a cost of roughly $780 per year) the long, slow process of becoming a fat person. (Danny Baker likes to say of himself, with self-deprecating candor, “behold the ruins of a once great beauty.” Since moving to America nine years ago, I’ve come to feel the same way about my gut.)

Danny Baker

Well, I really am asking: how do you stop such a thing? Surely not, my friend, with forkfuls of broccoli? Don’t tell me I’m setting my alarm a half-hour earlier (6.25 a.m.) for that. Or the toast I’ve been eating… Someone said it’s important to eat more protein in the morning. So what did I do? I got the kind of bread that’s plain bursting with protein: 1g more of the stuff, per every two slices. It sure doesn’t taste very nice – my god, I need all the energy that extra half-gram can give me, to summon sufficient willpower to eat a single fucking slice. (What is protein, anyway? Is it sort of grey and chewy?)

I’m new to eating breakfast. But don’t you dare try telling me there’s any such thing as a cereal worth getting out of bed for. Or that any day can recover from the shock of choking down some oats. Urgh. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, they say: a sentence that lapsed into cliché even before the first person to ever say it actually finishing saying it. Taxes are important, and so is cutting off your toenails.

How bad of a meal – objectively, I mean – is breakfast? In closing, I ask you to consider briefly McDonald’s. Famously, McDonald’s advertise their food with the scantest possible regard for depicting it accurately. You know. You buy a McDonald’s burger and it looks as though someone threw it at a wall then sat on it. See advertisements for the same burger, however, and it looks a fine, plump, and succulent delight. Now, though, cast a weary eye over this:

Mcdonalds Breakfast Menu

The McDonald’s breakfast menu is so bleak, so barren, so utterly bereft of all human warmth and feeling, that even promotional photographs of it cannot help but tell the truth. Before lunchtime, just about any food is, at best, a forkful of broccoli and, at worst, an actual waking nightmare.


Today’s post soundtracked by:

Gil Evans Orchestra Plays the Music of Jimi Hendrix


About newjonnytransit

Same as ever, only better.
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3 Responses to Snap, Crackle, Pop! (The Lie We Tell Ourselves Every Morning That Breakfast Is Gr-r-reat)

  1. Mary says:

    Forget overrated and overpriced coffee, and remember, you may have lived in the states for nine years, but you are still English, and therefore tea is the answer, without hesitation, the only beverage to start your day. My advice is, make a pot of tea using a combination of first class English breakfast tea, adding one bag of chai tea. It is the perfect start to one’s day.

    Far too much rubbish is spouted over different ways of making coffee, and way too many different forms, most of which would be more suited to babies, given the amount of milk in lattes, cuppa chinos, flat whites, etcetera. I think now making coffee is similar to the feeling i got when a smoker, way back in the 60’s. It was the whole caboodle, the taking out of the packet, flipping open the top, selecting the cigarette, onto the lips, whilst searching through handbag for matches – always matches, never a lighter. And then, bit of a let down when actually inhaling. Same as the cafeteria, warming the glass interior, coffee in, hot water, just off the boil, waiting several minutes tlll plunging time, and then, disappointment, and what do you do with all the grouts? Feed the plants, clog up the sink. And now onto cereals. One hundred per cent agree. I have yet to find a really appetising cereal, unless you’re really into dried up pieces of fruit, bundles of wirey shredded wheat, or weetabix that turns unto a mush when the milk is added. I know I have time on my hands as I am retired, but there is absolutely nothing to compare with a well cooked English breakfast. Locally produced grilled bacon, accompanied by grilled tomatoes, black pudding, mushrooms and eggs. All older generations started their day’s work with such a meal, with no desire to snack or graze until lunch. In practical terms, Jon, I understand your predicament, and can only suggest one thing. Buy the best bread you can find, one that has pumpkin and sunflower seeds is delicious, toast a slice, using unsalted butter and add either marmite or marmalade, washed down with a mug of above mentioned tea!

    • Hi mum! What can I say? Another stellar contribution to my blog… much thanks! However, I’m afraid I must disagree with you one important point. Sure, I’ve lived in America for a while now, but how many times do you ever remember me drinking tea!? My first 23 years in England – and maybe I managed about three cups. I just don’t get the appeal. Even, though, I realize, that puts me in a minority of one in our family…

      As for the full-English… well, yes, I’d love to start every day with that… but I’d also have to start waking up about 5.30 to get it cooked and eaten in time. Think we can both agree: there’s not much chance of that ever happening.

      Smoking during the swinging 60s, huh? On Carnaby Street, I suppose… Either way, you’re surely giving coffee a bad rap. 100% agree with you about adding too much milk, mind – Jackie’s ‘coffees’ are more like coffee milkshakes. Urgh.

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