Hark! Early birds and lovers of the 3 P.M. brunch, today's the day: Extra Crispy, a website devoted entirely to breakfast and outfitted with a yolk-colored banner, is live. (And they're hiring a bacon critic—could it be you? It could be!)
The content is diverse: a recipe from Suzanne Goin for Oven-Baked Eggs with White Beans, Roasted Tomatoes, and Olives; a guide to the seven people you'll find "brunching"; a story from John Devore "about a young, dumb, broke bro living off knishes" (spoiler alert: it's him); an explanation of why we're still eating Pop-Tarts, despite all evidence that we should not be; and—my personal favorite—a series of articles under the category Is it Gross? and subtitled ¯\(ツ)/¯.
And the truth is, I need Extra Crispy right now—because I'm bored with breakfast, and I'm bored with breakfast content.
Once upon a time, when I was 11 and scarfed down Rice Krispies at 6:30 A.M. every morning, not understanding what it meant to wake up tired—too tired to think about getting dressed, let alone cooking something—hot breakfast was a desirable luxury, weekend pancakes a welcome reprieve.
But today, breakfast is something I like to not think about. I eat the same thing every morning and I'm grateful for its blandness, for the ho-humness of my not-at-all-cute routine. When someone offers to make me eggs or, golly, waffles, I'm overwhelmed. I look to the ground and quietly decline. I'd prefer Puffins—even on the weekends. Maybe that makes me boring. Maybe that makes me a hypocrite. I don't really care.
Because where dinner requires meal-planning and grocery shopping and recipe sifting, the beauty of breakfast is its simplicity: a cereal box and a milk carton. The quickest two-ingredient meal, simple and spoonable enough that I can focus on the newspaper (or emails). As delicious as that Suzanne Goin recipe sounds, I don't want to cook beans from scratch for breakfast. Is this such a sin? It's already shameful (albeit, in a funny way) to eat cereal for dinner. Must it now be considered embarrassing to eat cereal for breakfast, too? I hope I don't see that day.
But maybe this is also the root of our country's newfound breakfast obsession: Whereas lunch and dinner seem like necessities, breakfast—a meal that so many skip, and hey, that might not be as bad as we've thought all along!—is still fantasy-land. It's fun to dream up the fried egg sandwiches we'll create, the doughnuts we'll scour the city for, the cinnamon rolls we'll get into the oven at 6 A.M.—you know, when we get our lives together. When we have 3 extra hours in the morning, and when we don't value the morning as a time not to think too much. If those plans don't come to fruition, it's okay: It's just breakfast. And if we do end up with a hot, extra crispy breakfast, it feels like a bonus meal. Dinner is an obligation; breakfast is fun.
So I'm counting on Extra Crispy to give me a reason to care about breakfast. I'll probably skip any technique-y pieces, and I'll look at the recipes—but I won't make them. Instead, I'm excited to laugh about cereal Frankensteining and to learn about the origin of the "brinner" phenomenon. I'll read all about it over my bowl of Puffins.
People who eat hot breakfast every morning: Are you out there? Reveal yourself—and explain how you do it—in the comments below.
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