Breakfast has always been tied with two other meals for being my favorite meal of the day. We grow up hearing that it is the most important meal, but I am not sure of that. I certainly enjoy a good breakfast, and that is all the justification I need for eating each morning. I truly love to eat, and that includes breakfast. Something about the beginning of the day simply makes that meal special.
From a young age, I would eat three bowls of cereal to begin my day. My mother would not likely have countenanced this. I managed it by waking up early to join my father for breakfast before my mother was up. He would pour me a bowl of whatever he was having. I would then get dressed and return when my mom had made her way to the kitchen. She usually let me have two bowls of cereal. This started at age five.
By age nine, I had started swimming competitively. My appetite only increased. I could no longer get up with my father because we had moved. He now had to get up much earlier, and he ate at work. Since my mother had taken a job, she had much to do in order to get ready for her own day, so I could usually sneak a third bowl. I would try to have toast and jam, too, if I could get away with it.
We went to Disney World that year and stayed at the Contemporary Hotel. They had a breakfast buffet. When my mother explained that my brother and I could take as much as we wanted, we were incredulous. We were there for about two hours the first day. People stared. My parents looked sheepishly at the other diners as if to try to dispel suspicions that they never fed us at home.
By high school, I had begun again to double up on breakfast. First, the usual three bowls at home, then my mom would drop me off at my friend’s house the next town over, since I went to a private school that did not send a bus to where I lived. My friend’s parents would insist I join them at their table each morning. I could not resist. And I was glad I did not. That morning ritual drew me closer to these people, who are still my friends to this day.
Swimming kept me thin, I guess. And the metabolism of a teenager. My father took me out to breakfast one summer morning after a Saturday swim practice. More stares. Two eggs over easy, bacon, sausage, home fries, toast. And, uh, two–no, no! Make that three–pancakes. And a glass of orange juice. Large. Glass of milk, too, thanks. No coffee until after my milk shake–chocolate, please. After the pancakes.
I continued to swim even after college. Then, some years later, a relocation took me too far away from a pool to do my daily workout. My routines changed. Then I turned 30 and had to make serious adjustments. Today, I am pleased to say, I wear essentially the same size clothes as I did when I swam 25,000 yards per week.
But I eat no lunch. Instead of a lunch break, I have my only breakfast of the day at around 10:30 in my office. Students have often asked me what I like to have. Almost every day, it is a single pain au chocolat, one cup of caffelatte, and some quiet time with the New York Times crossword puzzle. Often, it is the most pleasant and peaceful half hour of my day. The rest of the day, I’m busy and hungry–but then, that is consistent with most of human history.
9 thoughts on “Breakfast”
I laughed out loud reading your post! I could picture my son Shaun, then a recent high school graduate, going back several (SEVERAL) times to refill his plate at a luau in Hawaii. His plate brimming every time! Then there is my husband who espouses the phrase, “I’ve had plenty of food today.” I live somewhere in the middle. I love to eat but generally feel better if a little hunger lingers.
But I never miss breakfast!
Congratulations finding your personal balance. It is vital to overall health.
Your slice today brought back memories of my son. Practically everyday after dinner was complete, he would ask if we had dinner yet? That continued for years. He, too, like you was and still is very active and enjoys food. Thanks for the memory.
I can relate to your son. I did not mention in my post that after dinner, I would often take out a loaf of bread and jars of peanut butter and jelly. I would make sandwiches and eat them until I was full. If I ate like that today, I’d be dead.
I love how you managed to “sneak” an extra breakfast. I bet your dad loved that time with you.
Nice job pacing this piece. It can be challenging to cover such a broad timeframe in a single blog post, but this fit together seamlessly.
Thanks for that compliment. I may have to do another about breakfast some other time. I left out much in order to preserve a manageable scope.
Imagine if you still ate the way you did as a teenager! We’d be hearing about you on “Dateline” or something. Yes, metabolism makes us change our habits. Your description of your breakfasts has made me hungry! Darn it.
So much here tucked in between the first and last sentences which are both brilliant!
Also, I learn here that you have something else in common with my husband – a pretty famous appetitie that has waned forgivingly as time moves forward. He once went back four or five times for sizable helpings of roast pig at an outdoor wedding, hiding his enormous portions under large lettuce leaves on his plate to avoid suspicion.
This is wonderful – so much fun to think about these little things that I never think! Thank you for another great slice!
I love your storytelling voice and I LOVE a good breakfast out!
A joke my husband likes to repeat often… when you have teenage boys, just take the door off the fridge. We have a toddler and a preschooler. We could take the door off for the toddler.