I’ve been talking writing voice this week of NaNoWriMo, and on Tuesday’s post, I mentioned how my writing buddy, Laura, would write about breakfast differently from me. This got me thinking, and I texted Laura and another writer friend, Joy.
The Challenge: To Write About Breakfast
Laura: Can I eat anything I want?
Joy: So this is totally open ended? Anything I want to write about breakfast?
Yes, yes, and yes. And I would do it, too – all to show how three writers approach a prompt differently and write it well differently. Of course Laura took us to Paris and Joy taught us something about cooking. I’m sure no one will be surprised mine that mine barely gets to breakfast at all. Combined, it’s Friday Fun for you! I hope you enjoy each entry as much I did.
Breakfast, by Laura Smith
As I juggle my plate and cup, men hustle by in suits, but they are less pressed than businessmen in the U.S. They proudly seem to sport their bedhead and open collars without ties. I weave through the crowded tables, marveling at three women strutting down the pavement in heels I may consider wearing to a cocktail party, chatting, as if these are the most comfortable shoes they own.
I spy an open table near the edge of the café, the place where the restaurant hits the world. I set down my wax paper bag and white porcelain cup. A couple of school age kids whiz by on scooters, so close, if I put out my hand I could give them fives. I bow my head to thank God for this—all of it, the breakfast my taste buds are already watering over, the fact that I am sitting in a café in Paris on a brisk sunny morning. I pray because it’s too wonderful to comprehend, but I rush my gratitude, because I’m suffering from jetlag, craving the three Cs–caffeine, carbs and chocolate.
The first sip of coffee is like magic elixir. For as much as I’m a Starbucks junky back home, the mermaid can’t hold a candle to the robust, perfect creaminess of a café au lait. I inhale it like good wine, take another sip, savor it. Leaning back in my chair, I watch a parade of black Vespas speed by as the bold, dark French roast does its magic.
I reach into the paper bag and pull off a corner of croissant. A thousand flakes scatter in the bag, on the table, down my shirt as I take the first bite of buttery layers. I immediately tug off a second bite, this one rich with the dark chunks of chocolate rolled into the center of my pain au chocolat. I alternate bites of pastry with sips of coffee, a perfect pairing. I let the flavors linger on my tongue. I take my time. There is no rush here. Only moments to savor. Moments like these.
Breakfast, by Joy Becker
Eight years ago I didn’t know oatmeal came in anything but little brown packages with flavors like Strawberry & Cream and Maple Brown Sugar. I had seen large Quaker Oats canisters in the grocery story, but I thought those were only for people who made oatmeal raisin cookies. The universe had brainwashed me into believing my morning was too hectic and my culinary skills too amateur to heat oats and water in a pot for 3-5 minutes. Oh, the wasted years. As it turns out, I can still get to work on time even if I spend 5 minutes making breakfast, and I am capable of pouring and stirring while using a hot stove.
Just this morning, I dumped ½ cup of oats, ½ cup of water, and ½ cup of milk into a small saucepan. I simmered it for a few minutes, stirred it, and then added a hefty dollop of Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Butter. It rocked my morning.
I am already thinking about tomorrow morning. There’s a browning banana sitting on top of our fridge begging to be cooked in coconut oil and mashed into creamy oats. This one involves more steps and additional ingredients; it might also set you back 7 minutes. But it just might be the one to elevate your breakfast to a new level.
Heat a spoonful of coconut oil in a small saucepan. Toss in a ripe banana and let it cook for a few minutes. Mash it with a fork. Add ½ cup of oats and 1 cup of milk. Simmer and stir for a couple minutes. Now blow your mind by adding a few drops of almond extract. Toppings, such as cinnamon, chopped nuts, shredded coconut, or fruit are a nice touch.
Breakfast, by Beth Troy
To be Beth Troy is to forget something everyday. Something important, like school’s out on election Tuesday. Except for college. School is in there.
“Hey, buddy,” I say to Jess. “You want to come to school with me?”
His face tells me a 9-year-old boy does not want to go to school on his day off from school.
“We’ll be playing Jeopardy, and you can keep score.”
He shakes his head. I guess his plans for the day also don’t include adding and subtracting.
“C’mon, it’ll be fun!” I counter in Mom falsetto. It’s not a nice sound. I’m not surprised Jesse turns away from it.
I lower my voice.
“I have one word for you.”
“Chocolate chip pancakes.”
He turns. “That’s three words, Mom.”
“But it’s one good idea.”
He nods, I exhale, and we both get chocolate chip pancakes before going to school.