My favorite phrase in the English language is simple. It’s just three words long, but it contains a promise that captivates the imagination, peaks the curiosity and guarantees a smile for anyone around. The phrase, my favorite phrase in the English language, is, “Breakfast for Dinner.”
The definition of breakfast is changing. When I was a kid, breakfast always meant eggs, some cut of pork and toast, but if you were lucky, Rod was feeling adventurous and cooked up some hash browns too. This definition was reinforced at my first job, A&W. On the weekends I’d wake to the radio at four-thirty in the morning. I’d pull on my brown trousers, button my grease-laden bowling shirt and find my trusty ponytail and hairnet to complete my lunch-lady ensemble. Remember Chris Farley in the Lunch Lady Land sketch? Yeah, that was me. One of the parents pry themselves out of bed at the ungodly hour and drive me across town to the place where I learned to cook the hell out of breakfast.
I was trained on the breakfast mode by a woman named Tanya. I can’t remember how old she was when we worked together, but I was sixteen. She couldn’t have been more than her mid-twenties. Because you can order a full breakfast at A&W, Tanya taught me the basics of cooking eggs to perfection, quickly. Without her, one of my favorite parts of me wouldn’t exist. I can hold my own in the kitchen on any occasion, but when it comes to breakfast, I’m straight egotistical. My breakfast skills are responsible for the one and only moment in my life that I’ve been cat-called, and my French toast game is so tight that IHOP calls me for advice.
Nowadays, breakfast includes a lot more fruit. It seems like we all want to live a lot longer, and that’s cool, but I still love a good “farmers breakfast” every now and then. Don’t get me wrong—I love bougie breakfast too, with quiche and prosciutto eggs Benedict, etc., etc., but nothing will ever beat a couple links and eggs on toast.
I’m a morning person, and I think it comes from the world I always got to peek into through the eyes of my uncle and the old folks that would come to A&W for breakfast. There’s a quiet world that starts moving at about four o’clock in the morning and doesn’t get overtaken until at least seven-thirty. This world belongs to the early risers; they come in many shapes and faces, but they share a common desire: to see the world in joyful silence before everything gets moving so damn fast. This has gone on to shape a large part of me. I love the morning because I can find a rhythm in it that doesn’t exist later in the day. Most of my best work has been done in the morning. Most of the skills that I use every day were acquired in the morning, whether it be through work, school or just those weird early-morning things you can find yourself doing.
One of my core skills, and one that I use daily came directly from Tanya. The first time I cracked an egg in front of her, she made fun of my “grandma elbows.” I cracked the egg so delicately, then stuck both my elbows into the air and gingerly separated the shell. She howled with laughter and showed me her one-handed method. Holding the egg with your fingertips against your palm, you give the egg one quick blast on a flat surface (so no shell ends up inside) and with your thumb and index finger, pull the top portion of the shell away, pouring out the contents. Once it’s cracked, the shell rips like paper, and if you’ve got it against your palm, the force of your thumb and finger will open everything nicely. I haven’t cracked an egg any other way since.
The real reason I bring up breakfast for dinner is because I’m trying to motivate myself to go make some. I got some hella gorgeous sausages at superstore on Saturday and have been meaning to fry some up since Sunday morning.
Just think of it, Joel, those little pink tubes browning like it was always meant to be while the delicate eau du cochon mixes into the eggs, weighing them down with that succulent porktacular aftertaste….
Yeah. I’m sold.
But before, I go... It would have been my step-dad, Rod's 58th birthday today, so in honour of that, I present to you: my father in hot pants, circa the 80s.
You should have seen him in drag.