Cupcake Shops Don’t Serve Breakfast

The hearty American breakfast, defining as it may be, is under threat by health enthusiasts, continental Europeans, and cupcake shops. Forthwith, a necessary manifesto.

  • Breakfast, besieged by the pathologies of the twenty-first century, is fighting a desperate rearguard battle for survival, and at stake is nothing less than civilization itself.
    Photo By Ewan Munro

AUTHOR’S NOTE: A section of this essay has been interpreted by some as inciting violence against cupcake shops. Following consultation with my attorney, I would like to clarify that it is purely rhetorical and, furthermore, go on record as saying I do not and have never advocated political violence against the proprietors of baked goods stores.

I believe in mornings. I believe in making the most of them. I believe that there is no better way to start your day than to wake early in the morning as the sun still rises, splash cold water on your face, and stand on the scale; then step out into the brisk morning air, jog around the neighborhood, working up a sweat in the solitude of your thoughts; return home, stooping to collect the newspaper from your front lawn, to shower, shampoo, exfoliate, deoderize, and change into clean, pressed, smart clothing; and then head to the kitchen or a nearby restaurant to consume, in the space of a few minutes, hundreds of calories delivered by a vehicle of largely fried grease.

In this world there are a surprising number of people who believe that sliced fruit, or yogurt, or granola—or perhaps, if they are feeling especially bold, some combination of all three—constitutes breakfast. These people are categorically wrong. They may consume these foods at the time of day associated with breakfast, but at best they eat at breakfast or a breakfast; they do not eat Breakfast. We must regard them with scorn, or pity; they worship false idols, they covet their neighbors’ kale.

What is breakfast? Breakfast is the meal which exists in slight variants throughout the English-speaking world and includes eggs and meat and something made of potatoes or bread and a hot beverage. Breakfast is the Full English, or the Full American, or the Full Canadian. Breakfast is a triumph.

Yet breakfast is under threat. Breakfast, besieged by the pathologies of the 21st century, is fighting a desperate rearguard battle for survival, and at stake is nothing less than civilization itself.

11/13/2013 8:08:23 PM

I really enjoyed your essay on breakfast in Utne Reader - until I reached the third to the last paragraph. People who say "lunch and dinner" don't eat real breakfasts. They eat croissants. People who eat real breakfasts, including the British, say "breakfast, dinner, and supper"!

10/21/2013 12:38:10 PM

I wish I had written this manifesto ...long live grease!

10/21/2013 7:36:42 AM

Come to Germany, one (but far from the only) European country where for breakfast you can still stuff yourself full of as much meat, eggs, cheese, bread and a wide variety of other calorie-laden foods as you wish.

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