Tuesday, February 08, 2022


Most Americans like bland greasy stuff for breakfast, such as donuts, bacon, hashbrowns. For a simple jiffy breakfast, fry all that together in lard the night before, then pop it in the microwave the next morning. Don't forget to garnish it with corn flakes. That, in essence, fuels the savage man within, and gives him energy for his trucker protest across the border in Canada.
As you can tell, the American breakfast does not appeal to me.
The closest I'll come is sausages, potatoes, rice.
With a bucket load of hot sauce.
If I breakfast at all.

While I am not a breakfast person, my apartment mate is, and quite often when I return from my dawn pipe smoke walk, I'll hear her in the kitchen briskly clattering about. She's Chinese American, and was raised with the idea that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Which makes her hungry upon waking. An American breakfast, the English disaster, or even a Dutch / French bready pastry thing will hit the spot. The Chinese breakfast (rice porridge and a fried dough stick) strangely does not appeal to her (I think it makes a splendid light lunch).

From my point of view, the best breakfast is something spicy with rice.
Fried chili prawns. For instance. What in Dutch we call 'sambal udang'.

Well, those of us that speak Indonesian.
As some of us do.

I still wouldn't have it for breakfast, because the day must start with coffee, pipe tobacco, and a long walk while contemplating man's inhumanity to man, and our insignificance in a cold dark universe. As represented by people walking their dogs, early joggers, dingbats heading toward a yoga studio at six thirty in the morning, wheatgrass beverages, and breakfast.
Just hot coffee. A smoke. And silence.

Precisely like the Pope.


The simplest way to make it: gently fry minced shallots, garlic, and ginger, till fragrant. Add a hefty sploodge of chili paste and a splash of tamarind water or squeeze of lemon or lime, about a teaspoon of coriander powder, half a teaspoon of turmeric, a pinch of sugar, and, if you're me, a small splash coconut milk. Cook until the oil comes out again. Then add plenty of peeled shrimp and stirfry over high heat till the shrimp turns colour. Optional additions during the early cooking: chopped tomatoes, stink beans, or small chunked potato. Later optional add-ons: chives, cilantro. Some people add bruised lemon grass and or stinky fish paste.
The chilipaste should be in sufficient quantity that it dominates.

It will more often be served along with other dishes and maybe chopped cucumber for a normal meal (so not at breakfast at all, alas), or even a rijsttafel spread.

For a healthy touch, have a banana afterwards.
Not, strictly speaking, necessary.

While I myself don't hold with breakfast, I amicably tolerate other people who don't have the Spartan Calvinist physical constitution I have been blessed with, and will happily do my own thing while they replenish themselves at that time. Without saying anything unpleasant.

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