Sunday, September 12, 2010
When Home is... Weekend Breakfasts
My mother and sister came over for breakfast this morning and while I thought about cooking something ‘special’, I couldn’t help but return to a family favourite: bacon. Weekend breakfasts for me have always been about bacon. The smell of it sizzling away takes me straight back to lazy mornings spent in pyjamas cocooned at home. And so it was, bacon sandwiches for our family on this Sunday morning. Only today my children were the only ones in their pyjamas.
It’s not often we ‘breakfast’ with other people, is it? For a start, it’s too early to feel sociable and we have ‘brunch’ for those occasions anyway. And thank you 19th century British students for creating this slang term to describe a combination of breakfast and lunch.
In 1895, Guy Beringer wrote for British magazine Hunter’s Weekly an article titled Brunch: A Plea, ‘Instead of England’s early Sunday dinner, a post-church ordeal of heavy meats and savory pies, why not a new meal, served around noon, that starts with tea or coffee . . . By eliminating the need to get up early on Sunday, brunch would make life brighter for Saturday night carousers.’
And let’s be honest, even if you’re not a ‘Saturday night carouser’ surely no one really wants to be entertaining at 7am no matter how great the company is.
But people’s breakfast habits and what their food of choice is at this time of day can tell us a lot. When I first moved out of home, I shared a flat with a very close friend. We’d shared all kinds of intimacies and secrets over the years yet on our first morning together when I set the table for us to have tea and toast she looked surprised.
‘Wow,’ she said holding her mug, ‘I usually just eat breakfast standing up. Do you always have it at the table?’
I hadn’t realised there was another way to have breakfast and over our time together she took to enjoying her tea and toast at the table and I took to enjoying eating while leaning against the counter. But rebellions from upbringing aside, I remember us both feeling we had learnt something about the other; something very personal.
Another old friend recently told me as an aside that her family makes pancakes every Sunday morning. I’ve known this friend for nearly 20 years and had no idea she ate pancakes so regularly yet I could tell you all her favourite dinners.
Perhaps because breakfast is usually eaten before people are showered or dressed or even fully awake it takes on such an intimate feel. We stayed with friends interstate a couple of years ago and despite sharing many lunches, dinners and even a couple of weekends away, it wasn’t until we sat down to breakfast in their house, all of us in pyjamas sporting fantastic bed hair, boxes of cereal on the bare tabletop, the smell of toast in the toaster with mugs of tea and coffee, bottles of milk, packets of butter, open jars of jam and vegemite surrounding us that I felt our friendship had reached a much higher level.
All pretence gone, our lives and homes lie completely exposed at such an early hour of the day.