American Pancakes with Pig-Flu Free Bacon and Sausages and Chicken-Flu Free Scrambled Eggs

My oldest is currently explaining a new game on his iPad to me. It’s a global apocalyptic disease game. A map shows the spread of a disease by planes and ships criss-crossing the screen. Countries slowly turn from green to red as the epidemic takes hold.

Disease

Then the disease mutates and you watch the body count ratchet up. So, naively, I assumed the point of the game was to stop the population dying. Maybe it was even a bit educational. But no. The objective is to kill all human kind. The game tries to save people, you try to kill everyone.

The irony. There is a trend generally towards end-of-the-world films, TV, books, newspaper articles and of course ubiquitous rolling-news coverage. Should something nasty happen you will be able to watch it in real time from the comfort of your front room.

And if it does happen I will make sure my family of survivalists-in-waiting are fully prepared with a big hearty breakfast of American Pancakes with Pig-Flu Free Bacon and Sausages and Chicken-Flu Free Scrambled Eggs (I am assuming pancakes cannot act as flu transfer agents)

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Italian Planes, Trains and Automobiles with Eggs Benedict

We recently returned from a long weekend in Northern Italy. Lake Garda to be precise. I’d never been to Italy before (the wife has, she’s been everywhere, and is determined to get me to see more of the world).

Rather than playing it safe, by booking travel and accommodation through a brand holiday company we winged it – randomly booking flights and a hotel that had 4 stars and did absolutely no other preparation until the night before.

It occurred to us that although we knew how to get to Verona (the nearest airport to Lake Garda) – British Airways takes you there – we had no idea how to get from the airport to our lakeside hotel.

So I began, at about 10pm the night before our flight, to investigate how to get from Verona to ‘Gardone Riviera’, the spot we were staying in. No chance. I mean for a start all the websites were in Italian.

There was one blog, written by someone who was English (or American) and interested in the area. He had a forum where someone had written the question ‘How do you get to Lake Garda from Verona Airport by train?

Simple enough question you’d think. But this guy was one of those blogging expert types who suffers a form of pedantry restricted to  those who know more than anyone else, and are only divulging their brilliance onto the unwashed masses through sheer exasperation at the stupidity and ignorance of everyone else.

His response; ‘Which airport are you referring to? There are several around Verona’. The person who wrote the original query didn’t respond (possibly because he or she realised they were dealing with a twat, who answers a question with a question). I can answer the blogger’s question though; ‘The airport everyone else arrives at when going to Verona, you twat.’ There.

Anyway, through a series of minor miracles, coincidences and lucky breaks we made it to our hotel. You might at this point be wondering, why not get a taxi. Well we decided that we were not going to throw money down the drain and we’d use public transport. All in all to get to our hotel that day we took one car ride, one plane flight, a trip on a coach, a train journey and another coach trip.

I was totally knackered by the time we got there, as my wife did her standard routine when we arrive anywhere hotel-related by making sure no one else is within 200 yards of our room – quite a hard trick to pull, but pull it she does. And I could write many, many anecdotes about our time in Italy, mostly positive (beautiful place, lots of history, laid back people (that can be good and then it can be not so good)), but here we can focus on food, more specifically breakfast.

What I like to eat in hotels is Eggs Benedict – doughy muffins topped with lightly poached egg, smothered in foamy, rich hollandaise sauce.

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J. Paul Getty Inspired Burrito

Several years ago I found myself on a work-related trip in Torrance, CA. We had a day off, waiting for a plane back to London, so my boss decided we needed something to do. We went to the J. Paul Getty Museum and it was the most amazing place. I mean it’s got more European history in it than Europe has. Money walks, talks.

Anyway, despite the collection of Da Vinci artifacts (and so on) we saw, the thing that stuck in my mind was lunch (well of course it did, I’m a foodie right?).

A burrito. A burrito like nothing I’d seen before and like nothing I’ve seen since. It was the size of a loaf of bread, and had everything in it. So I of course had to (eventually) try and recreate it.

A burrito has meat, cheese and rice. Well the one I had back in LA did anyway.

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Deconstructing Breakfast

Over here, on this funny wind-swept island (which incidentally is close to half the size of California yet contains almost twice as many people) we know a thing or two about breakfast.

Now of course the British used to ‘Go to Work on an Egg’! but nowadays it’s more likely to be a bowl of muesli with maybe a bit of organic yoghurt. Perhaps one of those green smoothies (what’s in those?)

However there is still a hardcore of Englishmen and women who yearn for the good old days, when life was less complex, cholesterol hadn’t been invented yet and bacon still had an inch of fat and the rind on.

Yes this group still enjoys a good old-fashioned fry up. But its unpopular. Its full of fat. It’s bad.

So how do you get round this conundrum; on the one hand you want the salty greasiness to fuel your day, on the other you want the approval of your peers (or nutritionist).

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A standard English Cooked Breakfast

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British Empire Breakfast Solutions – Kedgeree

Way way back, when this Sceptred Isle had turned much of the World Map pink some jolly Colonialists in India discovered a dish called ‘Khichri’ which combined rice and lentils. They bought it back home to the Mother Country, adding butter, boiled eggs and curry powder to spice it up and called it Kedgeree. Traditionally served at breakfast time!

Some say this is all total rubbish and that it was actually thought up in Scotland and then transported out to India. Nevertheless Kedgeree is one of those old-school dishes that has survived the ages.

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