Op-Egg: Why I Hate Going Out for Breakfast
Before moving to London from a sleepy West Midlands town I’d never given breakfast 'out' much thought; it was only when time or location necessitated it that I’d reluctantly take my eggs à la God-knows-whom, and it was precisely because it was necessitated that the food’s quality had never really mattered.
The difference between a greasy spoon breakfast and a breakfast at home is enormous; I have time for the former, as I am unlikely to prepare myself a white bap stuffed with bacon and dripping with grease and brown sauce. Therefore, when, on occasion, I have found myself eating a greasy-spoon breakfast, I have treated it as a different beast and thoroughly enjoyed it for what it is.
Here, in a city offering a chance for real community, though, I have found myself, for the first time, seeing people actively going out of their way to eat breakfast away from home despite having easy access to their kitchens, ample time and good ingredients. Somewhat naively, I initially took this to mean that breakfasts ‘out’ in the capital were a cut above the rest.
I will beat around no bushes here; I am a scholar of homemade breakfasts. I am an expert in eggs, an artist in accompaniments and a maestro of the multitasking required to produce a fine breakfast. I was not born with these expertise; I worked on them weekly, with dedication and love, for even from a young age I could see the value inherent in them. Given that these are, with just a little patience, skills quite within our mortal grasps, it seems ridiculous that we should go through life without honing them, and absurd that we should spend the veritable bags of money requested by twee cafes to consume a love-starved and unsatisfying breakfast.
I do understand spending money on dining; if nothing else it’s probably the best way of experiencing cuisine you may not at home. Breakfast out, however, is beyond my comprehension. Its creation is neither a complicated nor an expensive procedure; yet when we eat it out we often spend a sickening amount just to have it as we wish. I mean, damn it, I shouldn't have to pay extra for coffee (or again for a second cup, should I wish it) and certainly I shouldn't have to do so for the basic privilege of bacon, as a fellow contributor once had to at Stoke Newington's Blue Legume. For a comparative drop in the bucket, I can feed a table of friends a lazy weekend feast the likes of which cash will not buy in the outside world.
Finances aside, it is a joy to prepare one’s own breakfast. There is no rush, there is no inexplicable wait, there is no want for space, and most importantly of all, the food is good and plentiful, every time. There is also, damn it, as much coffee as we like.
"But!" I hear you clamouring, "the washing up! The time! The effort of it all!" - well, to quote Theodore Roosevelt: "Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty…", and let's be honest with ourselves; investing a little time in achieving the perfect start to your weekend is surely a sacrifice of far more worth than casting a fistful of money at a small plate of lukewarm non-breakfast and a cup of coffee you have to savour.
I implore you to remember the home-cooked breakfast, each of which is your own work of art, never quite the same twice. Don’t risk your valuable time and money on the whims of stony-faced cafe staff and nameless breakfast chefs.
Take control of your breakfasts and you take control of your weekends; take control of your weekends and you take control of your life.