Breaking the nightly fast has never really been important to me.
I know, I know. The government and doctors will tell you it’s the most important meal of the day, but I just never really got into it.
This is probably because growing up Dad left really early in the morning, often while my mother was still asleep. So us kids stumbled to the kitchen in our PJs we usually found a breakfast of Tang (what the heck is that anyway? A powdered “fruit-flavored” drink?) and the cold cereal of the week. By the time I was in high school the morning feast was a cup of coffee and a cold Pop Tart.
This went on for years, probably at least a decade before I realized I could cut about $200 a month out of my budget by kicking the Starbucks addiction.
In my twenties, after a late night, it might just be a can of Dr Pepper, which is why I can understand Brad Pitt’s choice of breakfast beverages for his brood.
And then there was the coffee drink craze in the mid 1990s when breakfast meant stopping at a ubiquitous Starbucks for a mocha on the way to the office. This went on for years, probably at least a decade before I realized I could cut about $200 a month out of my budget by kicking the Starbucks addiction.
Nowadays I usually opt for a glass of almond milk, maybe a half cup of coffee. Occasionally, I steal some of Dad’s frozen banana slices, which is about the only thing in his freezer that I want. Certainly not the Jimmy Dean sausage biscuits. OK, maybe once in a while I’ve snagged one, but I can rarely eat all of it. They just don’t taste like real food.
You would think for food writer that I would eat better than this. And every once in a while I do.
I can cook up a mean breakfast myself, anything from biscuits and chocolate gravy to scrambled eggs with fresh herbs and sausage. But I only do this a couple of times a year because if you’re really hungry in the early hours of the day there’s no shortage of spots to hit in Houston.
And there’s always grab and go: A handful of mini bagel dogs from The Hot Bagel Shop on South Shepherd Drive, the breakfast buffet at Whole Foods Markets, take-out from Avalon Diner or a frankie from Pondicheri. And there are a million places to get breakfast tacos or kolaches. In fact, you can get just about any breakfast item from any country in Houston.
And still I find I wake up to almond milk and a newspaper.
Unless it’s Sunday when brunch reigns supreme. Maybe it’s because brunch is latter in the morning, almost noontime. Actually it’s lunch for me, but on Sunday it's real breakfast food.
Can you say egg white scramble with tomatoes and peppers, a strip or two of crispy bacon, a slice of cantaloupe and maybe some wings and waffles? Maybe there’s even a taste of dessert. And of course, bottomless mimosas.
And I’ll whip up huge holiday brunches with bloody Mary’s and hash and egg casseroles.
But brunch isn’t really breakfast, despite the omelet stations and fresh fruit platters and steam trays full of breakfast meats. I think maybe it’s all the drinking.
So I’m back to the fact that I really don’t eat breakfast on a regular basis. That the oatmeal in the cupboard is probably from last winter and I’m afraid to look at the expiration dates on the yogurt and eggs in the fridge may also be part of the problem. But if the eggs were fresh, and I had some artisan bread (maybe from Slow Dough or Kraftsmen bakeries), this is what I would cook.
Eggs in a Basket
This is the easiest breakfast dish I know. I got the idea from watching the movie V for Vendetta (actually a lot of my best food ideas come from watching odd films) so I think it’s a British thing but my sister in Georgia also makes this dish and calls it a bird’s nest. It’s one of those dishes that seem to be made all over the globe with a plethora of different names but the taste is the same.
Start with a thick slice of bread from an artisan loaf. Throw a little butter in a frying pan on medium heat. Use a shot glass (see how often drinking comes up in this column?) to punch out a hole in the middle of the bread and then toss it in the pan. Crack a fresh egg into the hole and salt and pepper to taste. That’s pretty much it.
It takes about two minutes on each side, depending on how you like your eggs cooked. Just don’t let the toast burn. It’s quick, simple and tasty.
So, maybe I’ll whip that up some morning.
Or, maybe I’ll just grab a Dr Pepper and be done with it. Who am I to quibble with Brad Pitt?