Breakfast of champions
My favourite hours of the day are between 7 and 10 in the morning. Obviously the 20 minutes preceding these hours which involve actually getting out of bed are not fun, but I can’t complain: Gone is the 1 hour commute to work, gone is the rush to the gym in the morning, gone is the queuing at Pret for my black coffee. It’s just a gentle roll out of bed, an easy slither into casual clothes and a short walk to the office, aka the kitchen, where freshly ground coffee is free and I can enjoy it in complete quiet.
We then start preparing breakfast, and every morning (so far) I fall victim to the same false hope that if we prepare enough there won’t be a mad rush when people start coming down to breakfast, that we will be able to calmly deliver toast, tea, coffee, smiles and conversation knowing that all is going smoothly in the kitchen. Unfortunately that is not the case..
No matter how much you prepare, no matter how much you get onto the plates in readiness for the morning’s eating activity, the nature of the English breakfast is that everything happens at the last minute. The eggs have to be poached at the last minute to save being overdone or rubbery, the beans have to be served up at the last minute to prevent them from going cold and the mushrooms and tomatoes should be straight off to the grill to ensure maximum heat and just the right amount of firmness.
So, as much as we ready ourselves for the breakfast rush we are still running around like headless chickens shouting at each other to grab the toast, get out of the way, pour the coffee, and heat up the plates. It’s a frantic 40 minutes of running in and out the kitchen, poaching, cracking, whisking and boiling for the huge variety of egg-related dishes we have on offer, grilling and oven-baking bacon and sausages, and cutting the chive plant out the back of the kitchen into a shadow of its former self in order to make the plates look pretty. Frantic is not the word…
All that aside, I must confess to loving it. While I may not love the pressure of making sure everyone gets their breakfast within a reasonable amount of time, I do love the adrenaline rush of pulling it all together and taking it out of the door knowing that I will set it down in front of someone who will truly appreciate it. It’s brilliant fun and when it’s all over, when everyone has their breakfast and is happily munching it’s just the best time. Danny and I look at each other and, while we stopped high-fiving after every successful plate a few breakfasts down the line, there is a mutual look of satisfaction and a lovely sense of a job well done.
Then comes the fun bit, the bit where we can casually wander out of the kitchen and ask if everything is OK and would anyone like any more toast / tea / coffee / juice; acting like we haven’t just sprinted 100m in record time and as if we’ve had 6 oompa loompas making the breakfast while we’ve just sat around waiting to serve it.
The more frantic the breakfast the more ‘casual’ we are after it, the more eggs I’ve dropped or broken and the more intense the adrenaline the more fun it is to chat to people after – to check it’s all been OK despite Armageddon breaking out in the kitchen. It’s even a pleasure to wash up knowing that the tense bit is behind us for another day, knowing that we’ve managed to feed guests without letting on that we’d nearly broken our engagement over toast just 10 minutes before.
Did I think it would be like this, yes – kind of, I just had no idea it would be this much fun!