Thursday, January 21, 2010


Pan, aciete y tomate. Toasted bread, olive oil and a thick sludge of chopped tomato. The breakfast of the best national football team in the world, matadors, long lived dictators and Rafael Nadal. I mean, it probably is. Alright, so I have no conclusive proof one way or another but it should be given that it is one of the best breakfasts in the world. Previous to a recent trip back to Spain I'd always had the country down as being not very good at the meal. It was usually some dryish madelaines, some Dorado biscuits (which are the best biscuits in the world so it was never that bad) and coffee. It is simply not a meal that the Spanish had put their heart and soul into, like they have with lunch. I was wrong.

We Brits excel at breakfast, the creaky old Somerset Maugham quote about eating breakfast three times a day is probably accurate and certainly an aspiration of mine.  The full English is king. However, in fifty odd years we've gone from around fifty percent of us starting each and every day with a fry up to less than 1 percent, so it's hardly representative anymore. We've just gone and borrowed everyone else's breakfasts and muddled them all up. Italian coffee as seen though the big milky lens of American tastes, cereals and muesli from Satan himself or the Swiss (you decide) and hideous malformed croissants which we've brought over from France and then tortured horribly as a reminder of Agincourt, pounded by yeomen until they surrender. Tea and toast are all that are left to us. And porridge, but big girly porridge with sugar and milk not hairy arsed porridge with salt and brimstone in it and a shot of single malt to round it off.

I don't know if you'd noticed but everywhere has started selling porridge. I noticed it in L.A. early last year and thought nothing of it. Just figured it was a food meme that would sweep through the town and fade. It would appear not. It's here in London and it appears to be surviving, if not thriving. Porridge, no longer the preserve of Golden Spurtle winners and burnt pans soaking through the day whilst we toil at work or spattered on the inside of a microwave, but something one can buy at Pret. Odd.

Belated Happy New Year by the way.


Zeb said...

HNY to you!!

Mark said...

It's about time you posted again.
Love your writing.
Keep it up.