“Inspired by Deborah Madison’s essay collection “What We Eat When We Eat Alone”
On most Sunday mornings, way before my roommates have even thought about rolling out of bed, way before most college students have even thought about the idea of rolling out of bed, I get up and watch the sun rise. I put some water on the stove, I listen as the water roils around, I slouch on the sofa bemoaning the fact that yet again, I can’t sleep past 9 o’clock. I watch through the window as the light goes from soft mist to beaming rays, as slowly-yet-surely people begin to walk by my window and head to wherever they’re going in the world. The water reaches boiling, and I begin the process of drinking copious cups of tea. I stir some of the water into my oatmeal, waiting for the grains to solidify, then add quick flicks of cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg.
The cinnamon dust sometimes pokes into my nose and makes me sneeze. The honey goes on last, swirled around in small circles on the top. Then I start eating, waiting for either my brain to start engaging and clicking and making sense of things or for my hands and mouth and stomach to finish off my breakfast before I even have a chance to realize that I’m indeed up and out of bed. I finish and decide to read something, anything, to jolt myself awake. Sometimes I feel ambitious and strap on my running shoes and fly out the door. Most of the time I just linger at the table searching for a reason to stand up, brush my teeth, and go ahead with my day.
At the high school breakfast table, my dad attempted to engage me in witty conversation or intellectual dialogue. Most of the time, he was greeted with a scowl and a lot of under-the-breath sass. Now in college, I reserve the morning scowling and sassing just for my family.
More peanut butter, slathered on bread, some banana wedges and honey layered between. Some mango slices. Then I jet on with the rest of my day.
At the end of the day, I am famished. So I decide to combine everything that rests on my cabinet shelves – dried rosemary, some lemon pepper, an onion, two cloves of garlic, two eggs, some bread. I even wrestle some ketchup from the fridge. I turn the stove on high, slick a pan with oil, slide in some of the onion, the garlic, the rosemary, the lemon pepper, and wait for the sound of a sizzle.
My feet are tapping the floor, my hands are winding a spoon through the garlic. The onion becomes translucent. I crack both eggs and slide them into the skillet, slamming a lid overtop to cook the yolks. The bread is rubbed with garlic, then put in the oven to toast. Five seconds later, I root through a drawer to find a spatula and slide the eggs, garlic, and spices onto a plate where they are quickly capped by the toast. The yolks are soft, too runny, almost raw; the garlic crisp, the onions clear.
I dip the toast into some ketchup, and then open my mouth wide and devour the egg-toast-ketchup combo in record time, deep yellow yolk running down my hands. I don’t bother with napkins. This breakfast-for-dinner is more than I could have ever hoped for.
I ruffle through the drawer and find a single spoon, and I then tip-toe over to the side cabinet and pull down the jar of Nutella followed by the jar of peanut butter. I scoop up one spoonful of Nutella followed by one spoonful of peanut butter. I decide there is nothing better in the world than this salty-sweet combo. So I grab one more spoonful of each and then fall into bed, content.