Wednesday, February 24, 2010


This year for Christmas, my sister and brother-in-law gave us a DVD collection of the complete series of Rumpole of the Bailey. Many, many years ago, back in the days when we watched TV, Steve and I watched Rumpole regularly on the BBC network - and it has been great fun to get reacquainted with our favorite barrister.

Horace Rumpole is a stout, coarse old man who has spent his entire legal career defending criminals down at the old bailey. Rather than aspiring to rise in the legal system to the coveted position of judge, he has instead defended generations of petty thieves, murderers, and swindlers. He smokes stinky little cigars, visits Pomeroy's Wine Bar a bit too frequently, and harrasses the other, more respectable members of chambers. Most people find Horace Rumpole rather offensive.

As we've been watching the series anew, I've noticed another of Rumpole's disgusting habits. It has popped up in at least five different episodes. Horace Rumpole eats a cooked breakfast. Gasp! In one scene, Rumpole, who is staying at the house of a colleague, is reprimanded by a child for preferring a "horrid cooked breakfast", sneer, over a healthful bowl of muesli. In another scene, a colleague joins Rumpole one morning at a diner and grimaces at the plate of eggs, sausages, and thickly-buttered toast Rumpole is indelicately devouring.

This got me to wondering - Is something wrong with a cooked breakfast? When did we start preferring muesli or dry toast and coffee over a steaming plate of bacon and eggs? When I was a child, my mother nearly always cooked breakfast - eggs, bacon, and toast, or pancakes and sausage, or hot buttered waffles. Cold cereal was expensive and was reserved for a Sunday night, light dinner treat. And I don't think PopTarts or cereal bars had even been invented yet.

Based on my upbringing, I always assumed a cooked breakfast was the norm, and, not knowing better, I continued the habit of cooked breakfasts with my own family. Tom's favorite breakfasts - biscuits and gravy, or waffles. Nate - eggs, toast, and bacon. The girls like any breakfast that includes muffins. Saturday mornings, Steve sometimes commandeers the kitchen and cooks omelets, or we fix a "big" breakfast of eggs, sausage, biscuits or toast, and grits or fried potatoes. Because getting out of the house Sunday mornings can be a bit of a challenge, we settle for toasted bagels and cream cheese, knowing we'll be able to "fill in the cracks" with a doughnut at church. And one day a week, I take the morning off....we actually eat cold cereal (although I sometimes cook myself a bowl of oatmeal those days, since cold cereal doesn't seem to stick with you very long - on cold cereal days, we always have lunch a bit early, because everyone thinks they are starving by mid-morning.) We even like to cook breakfast for supper some nights, especially on Sunday when we've missed our regular morning breakfast.

All this to say - are cooked breakfasts a thing of the past? What are your family's favorite breakfasts?


Anonymous said...

My favorite breakfast is in the German style: hard rolls with jam or cheese, and a soft boiled egg. Nothing better!

Anonymous said...

I guess that could be called a cooked breakfast, since Emily makes the rolls (being nowhere to buy a proper German Brotchen here)

Camille said...

Sounds yummy!

emily said...

Today i had oatmeal cooked with tons of cinnamon, walnuts, and just a dash of salt and pepper -- cooking the walnuts with the oats made it so yummy I didn't even miss my usual spoonful (or six) of sugar!

Other than that I prefer yoghurt and fruit. Oatmeal's about it for "cooked breakfast" for me. Unless you count leftover birthday cake ;)

Ginny B said...

I don't believe so, I don't cook alot hot breakfasts in the mornings b/c of work, but do sometimes on the weekends and we LOVE to eat breakfast food for supper. Our favorites are pancakes (more the kids than me and Deon), waffels, bacon, sausage, biscuits,cinamon toast, french toast (which is My FAVORITE) and of course eggs. We love all types of breakfast foods even cereals, pop tarts and oatmeal. I could eat breakfast food more than any other :) Thanks now u made me hungry lol. C ya tonight

emily said...

Maybe "cooked breakfast" is largely A Thing Of The Past because most people are prepping something quick before they go sit in classes, or at an office, or maybe stand in a shop and assist people. Light to moderate activity. If I ate a big plateful of grits and sausage and eggs and toast (I hear beans and tomatoes are traditional in Britain, eurgh) I would be sick all morning :P

Then, too, most of us don't have a cook who's willing to get up an hour earlier to COOK it before we have to be out the door.

Christian gal issues said...

I grew up on cold cereal! My mom only cooked on Sat and even that wasn't all that often.

I did the same thing with my family until about 3 years ago when I too began to realize that they were all starving by 10!

Now I cook 4 days a week and they eat cold cereal/fruit the other three.

One of our favorites is bacon, eggs, toast and muffins, which I make once a week.

But after living in Germany my kids love it when I make Kaiserschmarren.

Basically it is a very large, on the thick side, crepe that gets cut into bitsize pieces, covered with powedered sugar and dipped in applesauce! YUM! I like raisins in mine, which most of the German's add, but the kids don't. We just put it on a big plate in the middle of the table and everyone digs in :)