Because last week and Friday in particular were quite hectic, I couldn’t be bothered to go shopping on Friday evening. Mrs johnm55 suggested that we go out early on Saturday morning and have breakfast in the café at Tesco before we did the shopping.
One of the great things about a traditional British breakfast is that it is almost impossible, even for Tesco, to mess it up. So before shopping I had a full, heart-attack threatening, plate of bacon, fried egg, sausages, black pudding, hash browns, and to add a bit of healthy eating, some baked beans. The breakfast was fine, and set me up for the grocery shopping, but beyond that was nothing memorable. However it started a train of thought, because a lot of the meals that I truly remember have been breakfasts.
Two in particular stand out.
In the years before British Rail was pulverised, privatised and broken up, it had many shortcomings, but one thing that it did better than almost any one else, was breakfasts. Served in the restaurant car by uniformed stewards who transported it from the galley on huge silver platters. With tea and coffee constantly replenished, and a seemingly endless supply of hot toast and marmalade, it was memorable at any time. One occasion in particular sticks in my memory. It was winter, and a cold and clear morning. I had caught the train from Carlisle at about 7:30. I was going to London to join a ship. I parked my bags by my seat and headed off to the restaurant car for breakfast.
The sun had risen by the time we left the station.As we passed by the Lake District the steward came to take my breakfast order. There was snow on the tops of the fells and it was glowing pink and blue and orange as it caught the rays of the rising sun. There was something immensely comforting in being there in a warm comfortable seat, looking out on this incredibly beautiful scenery, as the steward served me breakfast. I sat here for a long time after I had finished my bacon and eggs, drinking coffee and nibbling at a couple of bits of toast, but mainly just absorbing the peace and contentment and watching the scenery unfold outside the window. *
The second should more properly be described as a series of breakfasts. About twenty years ago we decided to take our summer holiday in Switzerland. We booked a hotel in Crans-Montana called the St George. Crans-Montana is about 1500 m above sea level on the northern side of the Rhone valley. What made the breakfasts at Hotel St George so memorable? Partly it was the excellent coffee, and the best croissants I have ever eaten. But I think primarily it was the view. They served breakfast on the terrace, with a view across the valley to the snow-capped mountains to the south. It would be impossible not to remember
On both occasions the place was as important as the food in making the memory. I may remember breakfast in the café at Tesco in twenty years time, but some how I doubt it.
* Sadly it is not possible to repeat my British Rail breakfast. Restaurant cars no longer exist on British trains. You will now have to make do with a microwaved bacon roll and a coffee in a paper cup.