Thursday, April 23, 2020


My apartment mate has on occasion eaten fried chicken for breakfast, as well as, when she's in the mood, juicy grilled chops. Normally these days it seems to be a toasted bagel with cream cheese and jam, or something equally based on wheat. Plus strong tea. Sometimes fresh coffee.
Myself, I am not a breakfaster. On working days I'd get up around six, have coffee, and then around ten o'clock scarf down a pastry purchased from Messrs. Singh, Singh, and Singh. Alas, not one that they prepared, all nice and flaky greasy spicy rich, but something that Anglo Americans eat.
Samosas in the middle of the morning sound fine to me.
Or a butter-laden chili cheese kulcha.
Alu or keema paratha.

Still. Not really breakfast.
Arguably "elevenses."

Not being a hobbit, the idea of second breakfast (zweites frühstück) appalls me. The full English grease-on-a-plate twice? In one day?!? No wonder hobbits are fat little turdlings hunted down by orcs!
Hobbits probably taste like possum.

A friend who is a fellow-pipesmoker every week posts pictures of the regular weekend pancake breakfast, and that being a social occasion for him, I can sort of approve. Another pipe smoker posted a picture of chicken biriani with lentils and potatoes, and hard-boiled eggs, along with wishes for a ramadan karim, of which I wholeheartedly approve -- he planned to follow it all up with a bowl loaded with McClelland's Red Cake (a fine standard Virginia tobacco which is no longer in production) -- and biriani would be a splendid way to start the day right, except making it takes effort and talent, and the local restaurant world does not make biriani, especially not for breakfast.
Which is very sad.

[Biriani: a mixed rice dish associated with Mughal influences on Indian cuisine, consisting of meats braised with milder spices plus fat (ghee, rogan, or oil) and yakhni (stock), often with yoghurt added to the cooking process, layered on rice well flavoured with saffron. Because of the presence of saffron, in my opinion one should go easy on stronger spices like cumin, black cardamom, and cloves; reason being that when layering the rice and meat one does not want the saffron to be overwhelmed. Green cardamom and ground coriander seed, along with touches of cinnamon and nutmeg are good. In lieu of yoghurt, a bit of tomato sauce in the manner of Hyderabad is not a bad idea (and a stick of cinnamon will accentuate the tomato nicely. Additionally, a squeeze of lemon juice and perhaps a dash of orange blossom water (mayet-e zahr) can be added before sealing the lid and letting the dish steam to perfection on very low heat. Toasted cashews may be added before serving, as well as sliced hardboiled egg. Raisins are not traditional, nor advised. If you use onion when pre-cooking the meat, cook it so softly that it caramelizes (takes up to an hour), so that it has a delicate and complex flavour, rather than frying.]

Truth be told, the only decent biriani I've had in the Bay Area is what I've cooked myself. Indian and Pakistani restaurants make fried rice.

What I've had to eat today was two cups of coffee, two pipefulls of tobacco, a Happy Moment Choco Pie™, and some cheese. It was a long extended breakfast, dragged out since five in the morning when I got up. After lunch (the meal between noon and tea time), I shall smoke another pipe.

Paya nahari would also be an excellent "breakfast". Sheeps trotter stew. Simmered with spices overnight, served with flaky kulchas. When I think of Muslim food, I also remember crows and lines of Chinese poetry.
An almost hardwired series of mental linkages.
It would take too long to explain.

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