It’s a dog’s breakfast.
(British slang for a mess or muddle, used since the 1930s)
Bad breakfasts? Well, sometimes Waffle House fails to deliver. And occasionally I bite into a pretty hard almond when I’m eating my pathetic half-cup of homemade granola in the morning. Most days it’s a bad breakfast if a filling falls out or I discover the milk soured overnight.
Breakfast means different things to different folks in different places. Variety is the spice, yada, yada, yada.
But when I read Tim Wu’s Slate.com account of one of his Mongolian breakfasts, I nearly lost mine. Here’s a teaser:
On our very last morning on the road, the mutton problem became a crisis. At fault was our dear driver, Bimba, who decided it was time to celebrate the trip by buying a whole sheep and slaughtering it. As we went into a local ger to eat breakfast, I noticed that the sheep’s head had been removed, and the internal organs were being poured into a giant pot, the same way you might empty a can of beans.
Surely this was to feed the dogs, I thought. No one really wants to eat the lungs, stomach, and intestines of an aged sheep.
Au contraire. I’m sorry to say that we had to watch the whole mess boiling for a while on the dung fire, yielding bubbles of brownish-gray scum. Afterward, a giant steaming bowl of internal organs was placed before us with some ceremony. Out came knives and a mixture of anatomy lesson and breakfast as we sampled one organ after another.
To paraphrase the old saying , “One’s man’s breakfast is another man’s, well, you know.”
Tim’s comments bring home rather sharply another point regarding food and culture: we in the West have virtually lost all connection with the fact that animals DIE so we can live. The age-old concept of “sacrifice” apparently plays no role in the daily consciousness of most meat-eaters. (Note: I will never be able to convert to vegetarianism, although vegetables play a very large part in my daily cooked-from-scratch meals.) I must admit I yearn a bit for this idea of sacrifice to appear again, to enter into our worldview.
Anyway … just a thought.
Now what did you say we were going to have for breakfast this fine morning? I guess it depends on where you live, doesn’t it?
(For a lot of very interesting breakfasts from the world’s larder, take a look at the October 2008 issue of Saveur magazine. For the American side of breakfast, see A Real American Breakfast: The Best Meal of the Day, Any Time of the Day, by Cheryl and Bill Jamieson or Marion Cunningham’s classic, The Breakfast Book.)
© 2008 C. Bertelsen