Thursday, February 4, 2010

Thoughts for Breakfast

So, apparently I eat weird things for breakfast. At least, according to my friends who happen to be around mid-morning when I begin to forage in the cupboards pulling out strange things like, left over curry, carrots, fruit, granola bars, figs, egg plant, stir fry or the odd piece of pie.

Hey, who ever said pie wasn't a healthy thing to eat, it has fruit (generally) and grain , albeit loaded with sugar, lard and other calories. My favourite's raisin, or cherry, or apple, or... okay, I guess I don't really have a favourite, it's all good. In my mind food is food and when I'm hungry... probably not a good time for me to go shopping, unless you want me to bring back half the grocery store because everything looks so good I can't make up my mind what I want most.

Speaking of breakfast got me thinking about Jasper Fforde. Ruth McCullough first introduced me to his work during one of Jerome Stueart's creative writing classes. That was a neat class. Half of us students were writing great literary novels (or at least, we hope they will be) and the other half were working on fantasy that was generally pretty out of this world and great to read! The assignment had been to either write 5 blog posts on a book or bring a book in your genre that would appeal to the other half of the class and explain why. Ruth brought in Jasper Fforde's series about Thurday Next.

Thursday Next is a literary detective who's a member of this special group of people that police works of fiction. In about the fourth book, The Well of Lost Plots, when Thursday's pregnant with the child of her dead husband, she goes into hiding in an unpublished book. Her biggest complaint is that people in books never seem to have breakfast. There are tons of teas, dinner parties, lunches and socials, but apparently breakfast is too boring to write about. So, she gets these stock characters, blank characters with little or no personality often used as filler's in crowd scenes, and teaches them how to make breakfast for her. After all, they might as well be useful. This of course is in the residence she is housesitting while the "real" book character she's filling in for is on vacation and when she isn't playing the part the reader reads in the book... like being off set.

In breaking the breakfast rule, this is one book guaranteed to have many breakfast scenes and variety of food to eat. And in my mind, variety is the key to enjoying breakfast. I mean who made up "breakfast" food anyway. Why is it that only eggs, bacon, ham, toast, cereal (cold or hot), bagels, yoghourt, cottage cheese, muffins, biscuits, pancakes or waffles, and fruit salad, are "breakfast" food and everything else is snack or dinner food? That's a lot of grain, dairy, meat and fruit, without being much of a selection of anything. There's what... 4 kinds of bread, 2 of cereal, two kind of meat, and there are only so many ways to do eggs. Then we wonder why it is our arteries are plugged when we eat eggs, ham, and bacon with toast all the time, no thank-you.

Don't get me wrong. Those of you traditional breakfast lovers can have your bacon, eggs, cereal or whatever it is you want. But for me, having to only eat specific things for breakfast would be like only being allowed to write (or read) certain kinds of things one or two ways... where's the interest in that? For me, writing is an adventure to be savoured as I learn about my subject, the characters, or the world I'm creating, no two alike... kind of like breakfast. I wonder what it'll be tomorrow... maybe biscuits with olives, onions, a bit of olive oil, basil, majoram, tarragon (for sweetness) and a dash of pepper... not to forget a pinch of white wine vinegar... mmmm. Last time I made those my kids thought I was crazy. "Are you trying to kill us Mom... olives? In biscuits?" they said. But that was before they tasted them!