Hi Everyone, I do not like breakfast; I am not really a breakfast person. I am way too fussy about this meal. Don’t get me wrong, I like all that it stands for and I love the idea of breakfast, especially for a get-together. But, as a meal to eat in the mornings, I’m not really interested – or should I say, it depends.

Oh, and don’t blame my mother; she tried.

Everyone has a morning ritual and for most people, that involves having a meal, breakfast. Growing up that meant that my sister Pat and I as the elder siblings were the ones to prepare breakfast, not just for ourselves, but particularly for our brother, Eon. Personally, Pat and I detested everything about breakfast; well at least she’d enjoy drinking tea but me, I’d have none of it. I did not want anything – to eat or drink. And the main reason was and still is very simple: it is too early in the day for me to eat anything! My brother, on the other hand, is obsessed with breakfast. He’s one of those people who would not be able to function well if he does not have that morning coffee and breakfast to start the day. Mommy tired everything – toast, various porridges, weekend treats of eggs, sausages, bacon, sardines, all to no avail.

Over the years, many people have asked me why I don’t like breakfast and my general answer has always been, “I don’t know; I am just not a breakfast person.” After being asked this question as recently as last week and giving the standard answer, I set about jotting down my thoughts about breakfast and realized that I have quirks about this meal. I’ve decided to share those thoughts with you today.

Being a working person means that if I am to have breakfast, it must be early, some time between 7-9 am, and that’s way too early for me to eat or drink anything. Granted, people talk about fuelling the body to have the energy to sustain the system throughout the day. For some reason, that does not apply to me. If I eat that early in the morning, I feel bloated and uncomfortable. Even if I just have something to drink, my body reacts as if I am full.

Eleven am is when I can consider having breakfast, and by then it is close to lunch time and I don’t bother at all. I wait and have lunch.

The idea of preparing breakfast for myself is not appealing to me. Sure, I’ll make it for others but never for myself. If and when I prepare breakfast for others, I like to make exactly what they like to have – sweet and/or savoury dishes. And I like to make 3 or 4 different dishes complete with coffee, tea or juice. The only time cereal is served is if it is specifically requested. I like to prepare hot, fresh breakfast dishes and at times that includes early morning bread-making.

I like the idea of other people preparing breakfast for me, but never at home; only when I am visiting or on a business trip. I look forward to breakfast when I visit certain places because I know that they’ll make the kinds of food I’d like to have for breakfast – savoury stuff. I do not like sweet breakfast dishes so don’t give me muffins, toast with jam, jelly or marmalade, fruit scones, tea rings or buns. I’ll have those for an afternoon tea but never at breakfast.

Ackee and saltfish, bakes and saltfish, fried smoked herring, buljol, tomato choka, baigan (eggplant) choka and roti, bacon, eggs, sausages, hash brown potatoes, and toast with butter, now these are the things I like to eat whenever I decide to venture into the realm of breakfast.

Once when we were very young, both of our parents were out of the country and we were staying with relatives. It was a Sunday morning and the person tasked with purchasing the bread for breakfast somehow forgot how many people would be having breakfast and did not buy enough loaves of bread. Auntie Cinti scanned the hungry faces in the dining room (not me, I couldn’t be bothered, it’s breakfast remember?), she pulled herself up to her full height and said, “Who wants fish curry and rice for breakfast?” My mind screamed, “What? What did she say? Fish curry and rice? For breakfast?” I don’t even remember the reaction of the others, all I know was that I said “me!” loud enough for her to hear. Now this is breakfast!

About an hour later, we were all seated around the dining table. I was at that age where if I sat in a chair I couldn’t comfortably reach my plate. So I knelt in my chair and, armed with my spoon, I tucked into my catfish curry and rice. That was the best breakfast I’ve ever had. I can still see the red tomatoes in my little plate and the fleshy piece of fish I was given. I wished the next day that someone would forget about the bread-buying and we’d have to have cooked-food again for breakfast, but I had so such luck.

Now, many of you having read this will be tempted to bombard me with reasons why I should eat this very important meal. Before you do, let me make a suggestion. Let’s say I come on an extended vacation to your house. Then you can prepare breakfast for me each morning (you already know the things I like – and I am open to trying new things too). Then, as we sit down to this wonderful breakfast prepared by you, then, and only then can you scold me about breakfast. Timing is everything.

Cynthia

tasteslikehome@gmail. com

www.tasteslikehome.org