The Breakfast Club

The re-appearance of the italic font of course means that Mr. FB once again has been cajoled into penning a guest post.  And given the food-oriented nature of this space, I thought I’d explain a significant shift in my daily meal habits that’s taken place over the last year or so. 

The meal in question is breakfast.  And this isn’t one of those stories about having gone away from it for years and then re-discovering– I ate breakfast pretty much every single day when I was a kid, continued to do so through college and grad school and into my professional life.  In fact, I ate pretty much the same breakfast for about 90% of the first 33 years of my non-infant life: one or more bowls of cold cereal with milk.

There was some variation on the theme– when I was a kid, my mom developed an increasingly militant theory that we should not eat “sweet” cereal every day.  So we got to have it one day a week, and on holidays (birthday and Christmas mostly)– the rest of the time we were stuck with the non-sweet variety.  At first, the definition of “sweet” cereal was obvious… Cap’n Crunch, Froot Loops, my beloved Lucky Charms (eat all the oats first, sometimes pour a second bowl on top of marshmallow/milk sludge and repeat, then gorge on the sludge at the end).  But being the kind of kids who pushed the envelope, my brother and sister and I started to expand to things like Honey Bunches of Oats to end-run the limitations.  Which prompted my mom to set a grams-of-sugar-per-serving limit on non-sweet qualifiers.  Which prompted us to turn to choices like Cracklin Oat Bran and granola-based options.  Which prompted my mom to also establish a fat content limit on permissable daily options.  Which pretty much restricted our day-to-day choices to Cheerios, Rice Krispies, Chex and Corn Flakes.  Upon which we heaped teaspoons full of refined white sugar. [side note: why did I link to all of these cereal websites? Because how f’ing ridiculous is it that there are dedicated websites for specific kinds of breakfast cereal?]

All of this culimated in my decision upon leaving home for college that every meal I ate in the dorm would include one or more bowls of the old-school sweet cereal.  So for 2 years, I ate a bowl (usually Lucky Charms) for every meal, breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Transitioning from college to grad school (not conincidently coinciding with meeting FB), I slowly became an adult and stopped feeling the need to spite my mom by making every meal “magically delicious”.  And I also replaced regular milk (skim) with soy milk, first the vanilla flavored variety, but eventually lite and unsweetened.  But sometime after turning 30, I started to realize that putting a bunch of cold, soggy mush into my stomach every morning (sweetened or not) was not very appealing to me any more.

So last May, after a phyiscal showed my cholestorol level to be slightly on the high end of good, I started making steel cut oats for myself every other day.  And I found that I liked the warm breakfast much better.  Over time the oats have evolved to include dried goji berries, dried currants and a bit of creamed honey. 

Then, after a visit to Tokyo this fall where we had Japanese breakfast buffet for about 5 days straight while we stayed here:


And went to see a lot of this … which prompted me to eliminate the cereal altogether and switch to a bowl of rice from our Zojirushi rice cooker on the non-oats days.  At first it was just rice and a tablespoon of butter, but then I would mash in some avocado as a butter substitute from time to time.  Lately I’ve also added a rice, fresh blueberry and butter combo.

And on the weekends it’s come to this:

This consists of the rice, two diced strips of crispy bacon and a soft-ish boiled egg, plus fresh grated pepper (no need for salt with all that bacon up in the house).  And to get the crispy bacon, I stumbled on a foolproof technique– place the bacon on a rack, like so:

Then place a catching pan on a cookie sheet under the rack and bake at 400 degrees for about 20-22 minutes.  No risk of grease fires, no risk of burning, and no need to turn the slices.  Just tamp in a paper towl and you have 100% completely crispy bacon, which is the highest form of bacon in my opinion (but I don’t count pork belly as bacon, otherwise that would be a much harder piggy race to call).

Added bonus– your oven makes the house smell like bacon for the next few times you use it… “Smoke up, Johnny!”

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