Saturday, September 5, 2009

It's The Breakfast Inquisition

My daughter and husband went out to breakfast this morning. My husband loves to eat breakfast out, it is one of the little luxuries of life for him and he wants more than anything to share this with me, but I often send them off without me. In theory eating breakfast out is a good thing, someone else touches hot burners, stoves and toasters, while I wake up and sip my coffee and juice, but the reality is much different.
The Scenario: First, I try to use the most pleasant voice possible to break the news to the server. I brace myself for the sharp edge of the black coffee as I explain to the wait staff that that milk shows up in unexpected places. We usually start with non-dairy creamer which invariably has dairy products in it. I have no idea why they call it non-dairy creamer, because it isn’t. Then, I have to examine the package the bread comes in to see if I can eat the toast. Then I need to inquire about the cooking oil/grease to see if it contains butter or whey. Sometime around this point, they usually start looking around to see if they are being filmed for some sort of reality programming or if someone has a cell phone camera pointed in their direction.
I move on to the menu. I eliminate anything with cheese, so most omelets are out, anything with a sauce, so eggs Benedict are out, then I eliminate all the buttermilk pancakes, crepes, and waffles, the white gravy with the sausage and the biscuits and English muffins…and so on, until I order fried eggs over medium, bacon (cooked in a clean pan not on the griddle) and, maybe, dry toast.
Ahhhhhh, it is so very relaxing as I sip my bitter coffee and subject the staff to the inquisition. I wonder what Torquemada ordered for breakfast?
As I wait for my food to come I watch the other tables diving into their Belgian waffles with whipped cream and strawberries, imagine the texture of the sausage gravy, and soak up the scents of the savory stuffings of the omelets, knowing that had I stayed home I could have had something similar.
I closely examine my Spartan food as it comes to the table, because I know that if I aggravate a cook, the food may contain some very personal, unspoken messages. Once satisfied it is safe, I sigh and eat my breakfast. The next hour or so, I keep checking myself to see if I am developing any allergic symptoms.
An hour and a half at home writing, drinking light, sweet coffee and eating leftover spaghetti with capers and sausage is just the thing, while they are out eating breakfast; it is one of life’s little luxuries.


  1. I finally joined so I can start commenting! First of all, I'm totally with you on the whole salty/crunchy thing. I'm not into sweets at all, although I love to bake. (Luckily I have a boyfriend with a sweet tooth.)
    Sounds like eating breakfast out is a major hassle for you! Are other meals as bad? Your story reminded me of eating out with my best friend Sharon. For a while she was a vegan. If that doesn't restrict your options enough she is also a type 1 diabetic, so she had to grill the servers too about how everything was prepared. For example, the veggie skewers at Outback are brushed with pineapple juice and have to be ordered without. Then someone would still need to test a bite first to make sure. Since Sharon is not one to cook much at home she ended up going back to being a regular vegetarian to make life easier. The diabetes unfortunately, like an allergy, is not as easily resolved.

  2. Whoops! The comment by rtobey was me (Heidi. I thought the name I signed on with as a follower would show up, not the email address I used. I think I've got it now!

  3. I love to bake and enjoy sweets, but my first line of snacking is salty-crunchy. If I'm stressed out I reach for the potato chips not the chocolate chips. Eating breakfast out is very hard. "American" restaurants seem to have the subtitle, "For flavor, we dump cheese and butter on everthing. Come on in!" So, eating out is mainly in small ethnic restaurants, where they know every ingredient that goes into the food. Asian food is the easiest. Luckily, I have an adventurous palate.