Mourning Breakfast

If I learned anything from my fifth-grade gym teacher Mr. Malm, it's that he had this horrible neck injury which required him to keep his face looking straight ahead with his right hand, and he told the fifth-graders he fell off a horse and the sixth-graders that he was hit by a car.

Perhaps more important was Mr. Malm's emphatic endorsement of a sadly neglected meal of the day, breakfast. Before we played some sadistic variation of dodgeball, Mr. Malm would ask who ate breakfast that particular morning, and anyone failing to raise their hand would be chastised.

And rightfully so. For too long now, breakfast has been suffering from entirely baseless neglect. As we grow older, many of us forsake breakfast for added time in scooting off to work or school, despite repeated admonitions in our youth from gym teachers and parents alike who told us that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. This overlooking of breakfast is tragic, for it is truly a wonderful meal.

Firstly, the foods are excellent. While some foods like pizza and sandwiches easily straddle the line between lunch and dinner, breakfast claims a group of foods all its own. Breakfast cereals, for one. Think of all the cereals which kids and adults alike have eaten over the years. Cocoa Puffs. Cap'n Crunch. Golden Grahams. Lucky Charms. (Why is it that Lucky Charms always has the same stupid "match-the-color-to-the-shape" contest on the back of the box? Do they really think we don't know this by now?)

And those are the sugar cereals alone. Lest we forget, the "healthy" cereals are a strong faction, boasting Grape-Nuts, Shredded Wheat, Mueslix, Nut n' Honey Crunch, and Cheerios in their ranks, amongst others. My cereal bowl runneth over. Any true connoisseur of breakfast foods would be remiss to overlook delicacies such as muffins, bagels, Cream o' Wheat, oatmeal, donuts, toast, pancakes, eggs, waffles, bacon, scrapple, orange juice, milk, Pop-Tarts, fruits shakes, and hash browns.

And the toppings from which the possessor of a discerning palate may choose! Ketchup, whipped cream, salt, pepper, butter, half and half, maple syrup, strawberry syrup, jelly, jam and marmalade.

Not only does breakfast boast a plethora of such comestibles, it is a treasure trove of nostalgic memories. I will always connect Grape-Nuts to a summer fling with a fellow Grape-Nuts enthusiast. I remember eating Pop-Tarts in my friend's basement in eighth grade as we watched TV and played Mario Bros. Cheerios with sliced bananas reminds me of times in my youth when my stomach, tossed by lengthy car journeys, couldn't handle anything less bland.

And whither the cereals of yesteryear? Moreso than the hula hoop or the pet rock, cereals are a fine meter for the faddish desires of American pop culture. Does anyone remember cereals such as Gremlins, Mr. T, C3POs, Nerds or even Smurfberry Crunch, which turned the milk a hideous purple color? Meanwhile, the old standbys of shredded wheat and Grape-Nuts stand proudly on the supermarket shelves as monuments to the persistent desire of a quick but healthy meal to start the day.

Last but not least, to eat a full breakfast is to show that, in a culture which increasingly leans towards a chaos of hurrying and bustling, you are not afraid to kick back and take the time to enjoy the pleasure of leisure. To take the time to eat a breakfast which transcends the usual bowl of hastily gobbled cereal over the funny pages is to indulge in a subtle defiance of this capitalistic, soul-sucking societal trend. A breakfast replete with cloth napkins, fine silverware and meticulous attention to culinary details is a big "Fuck you" to the workplace. The bourgeois pig may one day become the bacon on the breakfast table if we were all to gleefully embrace breakfast as it deserves to be embraced. Workers of the world have a pancake!

Mike Janssen