Sunday, 15 April 2012

A bit of flavour

When staying away from home I used to be an enthusiastic Full English man. Sitting down to make a choice among twenty items, knowing that whatever you have will make no difference to the cost, was a inspiring way to start the day. At a really good hotel you don't even have to choose: you can order the lot, starting, say with two poached eggs and finishing with kedgeree (omitting silly hash browns, of course, nothing English about them). I was once encouraged by a helpful waitress not to regard kippers and black pudding as alternatives but to have them both, before the bacon, fried bread, mushrooms and sausage.

At home all this is too much bother, and anyway is bad for one's health, so over the years I have found simpler breakfasts suit me better. Some of the healthier options are not too bad: a slice or two of a new white loaf, lightly toasted, spread (sparingly, as it tells you on the pot)with salted creamery butter and Patum Peperium,The Gentleman's Relish, Est 1828,  or, thickly, with taramasalata (the kind with smoked salmon in it is good) are quite acceptable.

But looming over the breakfast scene is the horror of cereals. It's not that there is little choice; every supermarket has a whole aisle of colourful boxes, containing fifty varieties of the stuff: some consisting of polystyrene, some of dust with bits in, called muesli, some which degrade to a brown sludge when you add milk, some tasting of straw and some made almost entirely of sugar. There is one called Grape-Nuts, invented in 1897 by C.W. Post, a competitor of Kellogg, containing neither grapes nor nuts. This was part of the Jungle Rations which were given to American soldiers from 1939 and in WWII, as if they didn't have enough troubles: it is like eating gravel.

However, I have recently discovered a way of making a plateful of breakfast cereal almost edible: choose a bland and harmless one and, before you put in the milk (or, better, crème fraîche), add a tablespoonful of lemon curd.  

This will not actually be very nice, but it's not as disgusting as anything else you can do with cereal (like the dreadful gritty buns suggested by the manufacturers of All-Bran).  


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