As I begin my missive on breakfast, having just finished eating one, I feel compelled to proffer a disclaimer, to tell you I am not a heart attack waiting to happen. I have written herein that I struggle with being overweight, and have professed my love for pork products, so I think it's also important for you to know that my cholesterol levels are acceptable and my blood pressure is good and has been as long as I can remember--even when I was a regular smoker. On more than one occasion I have seen a puzzled look come over the face of an LPN after she fiddled with an extra large arm cuff and watched the sphygmomanometer read 110/68 (a benefit of teaching A&P: knowing words like that), and have felt compelled to joke at my own expense. I know, I'm a bit of a medical miracle: overweight smoker with good blood pressure. If it saved my arm from getting squeezed again to within a millimeter of its life, it was worth it. Similarly, eating lots of vegetables, cooking with olive oil, and looking at label information to choose the higher fiber option if given one, is worth keeping weekend breakfast in my rituals. Honestly, the vegetables and olive oil aren't even a forced effort. I crave salad if I haven't had one in a couple of days and could eat a plate of spinach--sauteed in olive oil with some garlic, salt and pepper--for dinner. But that's another post. Today I'm talking about breakfast.
Sunday breakfasts have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. Every Sunday, after church, my family and I would sit down to breakfast. Sometimes this took the form of bagels and a tub of cream cheese, sometimes a platter of cold cuts and cheese with fresh rolls. Eggs might have accompanied either of these or could have been the costar of a breakfast with toast and bacon. Usually a dessert course--fruit salad or some fresh baked cake or quick bread-- was also served; always, in the summer, a plate of sliced tomatoes, garnished with sliced scallions or chives, from my mother's garden was served. The latter is not a particularly American breakfast accompaniment, but a savory addition as second nature to us as ketchup on the table is to other families.
While my parents still enjoy a family breakfast that includes my sister Mary and her husband and children (and where I know I am also welcome), I more often than not enjoy mine alone. Most Sundays, after a load of laundry or two and my exercise DVD and maybe a quick trip to CVS for the newspaper, before my Sunday chat with Deanna, I sit down to a perfect breakfast.
These days a perfect Sunday breakfast for me is 2 eggs over easy, 2 slices of toasted rye bread for dipping in the yolks, and 4 slices of center cut (lower fat) bacon. Depending on my plans for the rest of the day and my mood that morning, Sunday breakfast (which takes place close to noon) may also include a mimosa (or three) or a Bloody Mary (or two). It is perfection on a plate: a combination of colors, textures, and flavors that sets me right for hours and makes a mockery of the 90 calorie Special K bars I eat in the car on the way to school or bowls of Cheerios I scarf standing in the kitchen.
The meal is a ritual and a celebration. It beckons memories of my childhood and thoughts of my family as it calls to mind leisurely weekend brunches at Bartol Hall at Simmons. It celebrates the weekend and acknowledges the need to slow down and savor the simple things in life. For now, being active (enough) and making (mostly) healthy food choices keeps Sunday breakfast on my weekly menu.
Come to think of it, I'm not sure I could ever give it up, even if--God forbid--medical assistants no longer look puzzled. Knock on wood that I am in good health and know enough to make some good choices. But if one day my blood pressure reading meets their expectations and I am no longer an apparent anomaly, I bet you'll still find me practicing the egg flip at my stove on Sunday morning.