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?
2 months ago