Without question, my favorite meal is breakfast. At home. In a diner. A fancy restaurant. By myself. One-on-one. Or with the whole gang…breakfast is best.
And this morning, as I nailed my go-to scrambled egg burrito and raised my game on Briggs’s cinnamon toast, I started thinking about my Greatest Of All Time Breakfasts.
Here are the top five in chronological order:
Maryann’s Donut Drive (guessing 1983, I would’ve been 2 by then and on solid foods): A local donut and muffin shop that my parents (I’m guessing) frequented long before I came along, as it was a mainstay in Fitchburg (where they grew up and I was born) for 40 years. Maryann’s was the reward for making it through mass at St. Bernard’s. Their muffins were the size of my head, they were always warm, and the chocolate chip variety was more chocolate than muffin. The emaciated Jesus nailed to the cross and the gray, sad hues of St. Bernard’s massive gothic church tended to freak me out, but the promise of Maryann’s made me a believer that things (especially gooey things) made with love are worth the wait.
By the Fire (1985 – 2016): From the time I was in Kindergarten, I can remember going camping. Almost always in a tent, sometimes for days – sometimes for weeks – sometimes in the woods – sometimes on the beach – sometimes with extended family – sometimes with a caravan of friends – sometimes just us. Regardless of where, when, or with whom, the best part is always the early morning fire – and the toast, or eggs, or bacon, or sausages, or coffee (or all of it) that’s cooked on it. Though, of every camp breakfast I’ve ever enjoyed the very best happened at Hermit Island circa. 1996, following a lobster bake the night prior – when Dad made a lobster omelette on the open flame and Mom topped it with a homemade béarnaise. Sand in our toes, lobster on our plates – a perfect start.
Our Wedding (September 19, 2009): I happened to be working in broadcasting when Ken and I got engaged, and one day happened to help produce an interview with one of Boston’s top wedding planners. In a moment of downtime, I mentioned my engagement and asked for her quickest go-to advice for couples-to-be. Her response: Get married ASAP. Meaning, have that ceremony as early as you can the day off, as soon as the vows are exchanged and the thing is actually done, everyone can breathe a little easier and enjoy the day. Ken and I took the expert to heart and planned our 8-minute ceremony to kick off at 10 o’clock in the morning – and then, we served our favorite meal of all time: Breakfast. Our 180 guests were treated to fresh fruit, bacon, sausage, french toast, pure New Hampshire syrup, home fries, scrambled eggs…honestly, it was the best smelling wedding I’ve ever attended. A big, beautiful white tent wrapped in syrup and coffee. Love, love, love.
The First Night of Briggs’s Life (June 29, 2011): I couldn’t eat for 36 hours prior to delivering Briggs. It was a high-risk, emergency situation and I was pumped full of magnesium – so, no food prior to the c-section – and then for about 9-hours following the delivery I was in and out of consciousness. Briggs was born at 11:29 in the morning, and I had my very first meal of the day at about quarter to ten that night. In the span of a day and a half I’d just (thanks to science and my medical team) avoided a massive stroke, been taken off food and water, undergone surgery, been told my baby was stable but would be living in intensive care for at least a month (ended up being two), and had my milk come in. When a nurse named Jackie told me that night that I was FINALLY clear to eat, I hugged her. My breakfast that night consisted of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich made on squishy wheat sandwich bread, a handful of saltines, another handful of graham crackers, a can of ginger-ale, and half a fruit plate. It tasted absolutely divine.
His First Christmas (December 25, 2011): Briggs hit his double-digit weight gain just before his six-month marker. So, by Christmas morning he weighed 10lbs. This felt like a massive achievement (and relief) at the time. He was also officially off his liver development meds and we’d been given the “okay” to stop seeing his gastroenterologist at Boston Children’s. I’ve never experienced such gratitude for the miracle of a child’s life as I did that Christmas – and so, while I knew there would be no way for Briggs to remember such a thing, I made a big fuss. I woke up at quarter past five and prepped two different kinds of strata, and cinnamon bread pudding, and sliced fresh fruit and expensive cheese. I purposely used the “good” candles and made sure all of the lights were plugged in before he or Ken woke up, or before our parents and sisters came over. I actually made a “table scape” (which is very, very out of character). But it was lovely, and good, and delicious – and I’ve been making Christmas morning breakfast like this ever since…and I love doing it.
This morning, as I nailed that burrito and upped the game on cinnamon toast all of these G.O.A.T. Breakfasts came back to me. Could be that I’m just a little over tired and a bit over sensitive – or could be that there’s a little bit of each of these breakfasts in all of the breakfasts that I get to enjoy.
Either could be true, but I like the way the second theory feels, so that’s the one I’m going with.
PS – That’s cinnamon in my coffee cup 🙂