Op-Egg: Where have all the breakfasts gone?
How does it happen?
There used to be a day when you could walk out of the LRB's northwest London campaign headquarters, and on every corner, some lascivious breakfasting house would beckon you in with flash of bacon, or a whiff of sausage. Even, when with loins girded you stepped out just to pick up a paper, or a have a quiet beer, someone somewhere would be offering a cheeky eggs benedict for a fiver, or if you wanted to go all the way, needed a quick pick me up, a full english with all the extras.
They were halcyon days, a life of gentle punning, interspersed with breakfasts and thoughts of breakfast, until we could no longer with good conscience entertain that culinary mistress, that all consuming passion. With more than a sideways glance at those establishments of our youth, we shed a last greasy tear for the memories of private battles lost and won, of yolks broken and gammons roasted, and the office disbanded for sunnier shores.
At least we could leave knowing that many more young men and women would follow in our footsteps. Or so we thought.
Has the breakfast reached a point of terminal decline? Did the critical gaze of my peers burn too brightly for the underachieving breakfast house? On a recent return to my former chomping ground I acted the big man. Don't worry, I said. I know where to eat. Let's start with the old faithful gastropub - oh, seared scallops with purple sprouting. Not breakfast. Don't worry there's another - oh, only bar snacks. Still not breakfast. Beloved greasy spoon - er, closed. Why not gammon, egg and chips? Oh, I see, a Thai kitchen, lovely. Still not bleeding breakfast.
People definitely looked unhappier, like in prohibition, or some new puritan state, or a convent maybe. Where did all the breakfasts go, succour to so many brilliant young minds? My greasy tears have all but dried now, and still I find no answers.