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Friday, July 30, 2010

First Bites

For those who eat breakfast, what is the meal like for you? A hurried bit at home, a greasy prepared fast-food croissanwich, a biscuit, a bagel, or a simple piece of fruit? Coffee and toast? A freshly blended smoothie? Cold cereal or frozen waffles with the kiddies?

Breakfast seems to be the most varied meal among us and not often shared during the work week. However, I have become a bit of a convert and join with a few co-workers at precisely 7:30 a.m. in the company cafeteria to assemble and select a freshly prepared morning feast at least once a week. Omelets made to order, pancakes (with or without blueberries, depending on the season thank you very much), fruit smoothies, french toast, oh and let's not forget the pastry bar or the sausage or bacon. A sizzling flat top griddle, manned by Emmett in his traditional white double breasted coat and black and white checkered pants, he taps the metal spatula and calls out, "Happy, happy, happy," as we walk in to make our selections. We may talk about the weather, sports, food or he may simply ask, "Everything alright?" What a delicious way to start the day.

Some of my recent favorites include a hard roll (you can try to make this healthy by going with the multi-grain, but I always ask for "regular") with sausage and freshly sliced tomato, or a tomato omelet (again, you can go for egg whites, but I get the whole egg) and sometimes the smoothie which recently consisted of blueberries, strawberries, banana, pineapple and yogurt. Yum.

To balance things out, I may also decide to have oatmeal at my desk and sometimes I will add craisins or blueberries. Granola bars are another option. Celebratory or breakfast meetings at work can also include the best bagels and they are usually still warm - the right balance of chewy, crusty and doughy accompanied by a selection of flavored cream cheeses. Sometimes, one of us will feel the need to share our desire for sweet doughnuts or a quick box of doughnut "holes" from that corporate donut franchise. Strange how we have more traffic from other departments on those mornings.

Once in awhile, we gather after we pay for our food and sit together, chatting like friends more than co-workers. Is it the food, Emmett, the overall atmosphere? Does it matter? The first bites of the day can be savory or sweet - it's always up to you to be fed well.

Emmett's Tomato Omelet:
In one section of the hot flat top warm chopped tomato (about a handful)
In another section ladle some egg mixture
Once the egg is cooked on one side, scoop the tomato into the middle of the egg and fold one side in. Plate.

The Fancied Up Version (for 1 but double it for 2):

The tomato mixture:
1/2 medium tomato
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1 tablespoon chopped basil
pinch of salt, pepper

The egg mixture:
1 egg
1/4 cup half & half (ok, you can use milk if you want)

You may decide to:
1. simply cook the omelete then add the tomato mixture without cooking or;
2. use two pans - one for tomato and one for egg and follow Emmett's artful assembly or;
3. heat the tomato mixture first, drain away any liquid, add egg mixture to warmed pan and continue cooking together. Garnish with additional parsley if desired.

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