what happened to my breakfast?

WHAT happened to breakfast?

They used to be meals! With courses! Bacon and eggs; followed by toast; coffee. In winter, porridge; followed by toast and coffee.

Or my mum would make pancakes, which is the most time-consuming breakfast in the world (if you’re the one making the pancakes) but the quickest to eat. She never stopped. There were four of us children, like fledging pelicans – all mouth and demand – into which she shovelled pancakes.

Now breakfasts don’t exist. Well, yes… we eat something (usually out of packet) and we call it breakfast, but that’s not the same thing.

Breakfast isn’t an item of food. Breakfast is a period of time! Or it used to be. It was when we could all be guaranteed to get round the table and fight (except for my mum, who was too busy making the breakfast).

It was where I learned that my sister would stab you with a fork if you made jokes about her weight… where I discovered that fathers are more inclined to be generous with money after two eggs (sunny side up) two rashers and two toasts followed by two coffees.

You have to wait till they’re halfway through the coffee, or it doesn’t work. And if you wait till they’ve drunk it all, you’re too late, because then they realise they’re late and they’re out the door like a rat up a drain.

Do you know what I had for breakfast this morning?

An apple. From the fridge. So it was cold. In the middle of winter my entire breakfast was a cold apple. It used to be porridge, then toast, with 11 different kinds of spreads to spread on it, even though I only ever had two slices. Now it’s an apple.

And of course you can’t sit down and make an event out of an apple. You’d feel like a pillock. Where’s the knife and fork? How are you going to spread Vegemite on an apple? The only way to eat an apple is as you’re moving… to the bathroom, to the car, to the station, to the office.

And this abdication of breakfast means you never get a chance to update your memory banks regarding who your family is.

One day you’re sitting down with pink objects in high chairs who smear egg yolk over your briefcase so cutely that everyone laughs… and then you’re sharing your meals with barbarians who have ironmongery bolted to their faces and eat out of saucepans.

And who is that… over there… pulling the apples out of the fridge? Looks a bit like your wife – but wasn’t your wife younger?

We need to return to the good old days!

Yes, yes, I know this is what all old people say, conveniently forgetting that the good old days included people who thought the world was flat, dentistry performed by the local butcher, and your breakfast being half a tonne of tusks and sharp teeth, and very likely a galloping dot on your famished horizon.

If that happened you could always eat your neighbours, but it wouldn’t have been the same without toast and coffee to follow.