Monday, March 21, 2016

What Is Breakfast Anyway?

Beloved Friends of Breakfast:

Co-Chair Jessy here, with some final words on the topic of Breakfast.

Perhaps you may have noticed the X-Files-length gap in Committee decisions, prior to the most recent post. This is due to many factors, such as Co-Chair Chanelle having a child and my waning interest in telling other people what to eat. (Which, oddly enough, seemed to coincide with me becoming a vegan.)

The fact is, the world changes and we must change with it. And a few days ago, when I was walking to work and wishing that I could have Thai food for Breakfast, I had to face the fact that I am not the same woman who once fired a Guest Committee Member for saying that a scone qualified as Breakfast. I can no longer guide you in the same high standards of Breakfast. And do I even need to?

It can be intimidating to try and answer big questions like "What is Breakfast?" and "What will I have for Breakfast?" for yourself, sure. But I believe in you, Breakfasters. And I hope that Chanelle and I and our many generous Guest Committee Members have given you some guidelines that will hopefully help you make educated Breakfast guesses. 

And in the end, that's all any of us can really do.

Thanks for listening.

May all of your Breakfasts be Breakfasts,
Co-Chair Jessy

Monday, March 14, 2016

Cheese, Buzzfeed, and Breakfast: PART 2 OF 2

I know that the Breakfast Community has been waiting on the edge of their nooks this week as they wait for the exciting conclusion to the Buzzfeed Breakfast two-part query. 

To recap, the question was:

Are Mac-Cakes Breakfast? Is Breakfast Mac Breakfast? Or must I choose sides between Buzzfeed and Breakfast?

And the determination thus far has been:

Mac-cakes are Not Breakfast. Buzzfeed is Not a Newspaper. 

But is Breakfast Mac (pictured below in Buzzfeed's photo by Sara Remington) Breakfast? That remains to be seen. 

To the polls! Or rather, let's go back to Guest Committee Member Dis, who was once, long ago, on the verge of weighing in on Part 2...

2.     "Breakfast" Mac and Cheese

Let's review what this even is: crispy bacon mac and cheese, with some eggs on top. Ah, you say! Look at the exemption above! This is a clear case of Breakfast! (Co-chair note: This refers to Part 1 of the determination, in which Dis optimistically suggests that any leftovers topped with eggs become Breakfast.)

Not so fast, my concerned friend. The exemption clearly only applies to leftovers, not freshly prepared dishes. So, let's take a full look at this thing. It consists of standard crispy mac and cheese, with bacon added. Now, in another time and place, before bacon began appearing, well, everywhere, the addition of the crispy Breakfast meat may have gained this dish qualification to the hallowed realm of Breakfast. But things have changed. No longer is the inclusion of bacon enough to make this Breakfast.

And really, nothing else about this says "Breakfast!" or even "Breakfast?" This hearty, artery-clogging goodness is really just lunch or dinner masquerading as morning food. For further proof, look to the recommendations for beer and wine pairings with the food. Now, I'm all for a good breakfast drink, and will happily refer to you the Committee's earlier treatise on Bloody Marys and their proper place at the Breakfast table (but not as Breakfast!). I fully support the Breakfast Beer. But, if you're drinking a glass of Rose with the meal, it's just not Breakfast. 

So, confusingly, Mac 'N' Cheese for Breakfast is Not Actually Breakfast

Sadly, it does appear as though you need to choose sides between Buzzfeed and Breakfast. Good thing the choice is clear. 

May all your Breakfasts be sunny-side up,
Guest Committee Member Dis

Guest Committee Member Dis makes some good points here, Concerned Buzzfeeder. Although I remain skeptical of his claim that an egg topping of leftovers has the magical ability to transform leftover dinner into Breakfast, we agree that the power of bacon has been diluted due to overexposure. (For other examples, see fixed gear bicycles and Scarlett Johannson.)

Even more damning is the fact that Mac 'N' Cheese for Breakfast inevitably involves a noodle product. There are no noodles in Breakfasttown.

As a side note, it's best to be skeptical when you see a menu item that contains the words Breakfast, Lunch, or Dinner in its title. This is either a troubling redundancy, or it can indicate the sort of "whimsical" establishment that cannot be trusted to properly categorize its food. Just think: If I had a laundry-themed restaurant and made up a menu item that was called Breakfast Socks and it was socks with an egg on top, would that be Breakfast? No! Also that restaurant would probably not be in business for very long.

So, yeah, no, Breakfast Mac is a Breakfast Imposter.

The Committee has determined:

Breakfast Mac 'N' Cheese Is Not Breakfast. 

So, Buzzfeed is 0 for 2 on Breakfast.

I also must thank you for your hard work and your relative patience with this determination, Guest Committee Member Dis.

And lastly, my dear Breakfast Devotees, it is with a medium-weight heart that I must tell you that this is the final decision and the penultimate entry of the What Is Breakfast Committee. It feels good to end the determinations the way we started back in 2008: by saying no.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Cheese, Buzzfeed, and Breakfast: PART 1 OF 2

The Committee is pleased as breakfast punch to introduce our new Guest Committee Member, Dis, a west-coast Breakfast Advocate who will be assisting us with this important, two-part query:

Dear Committee: 

A recent Buzzfeed article* offered several alt-mac-'n'-cheese recipes, including Mac 'N' Cheese Pancakes and something called Breakfast Mac.  

Are Mac-Cakes Breakfast? Is Breakfast Mac Breakfast? Or must I choose sides between Buzzfeed and Breakfast?

Concerned Buzzfeed Breakfaster

Dear Concerned Buzzfeed Breakfaster,

First off, thank you for your inquiry. Without concerned (potential) Breakfasters like you, we would not be here to serve the community in the best way we know howthrough defining the Breakfast choices of others. 

You have posed a query concerning two parts: mac and cheese pancakes, and "making mac and cheese for Breakfast." But, let us not forget the title of this article: "3 Extra-Crispy Ways to Eat Mac 'N' Cheese." The intent of this article is to convince its readers to somehow eat macaroni and cheese in some godless manner, by deviating from the standard blue box and making it extra crispy. The Kraft dinosaur from the blue box would be disappointed in you. 

If I were less lazy, that would be photoshopped to be a thumbs down. 

Needless to say, these dishes begin in an already tenuous position for making their case to be Breakfast. Let's address the two questions in turn, shall we, Concerned? (Co-chair note: The second part of this answer must be withheld till next week's query, due to time constraints. Stay tuned!)

1.   Mac 'N' Cheese Pancakes

First things first: the article defines this dish as pancakes, but describes macaroni and cheese, breaded, then fried. Since it attempts to define itself as a pancake, it raises a question we may take for granted: What truly is a pancake? Let's keep it simpletake it away, Merriam Webster. 
"a thin, flat, round cake that is made by cooking batter on both sides in a frying pan or on a hot surface (called a griddle)."
Fair enough, dictionary. So, do these creations even qualify as pancakes? No, no they do not. There is no batter, only crispy macaroni and cheese. So, despite trying to be shoehorned in to the Great Breakfast Pancake Compromise of 1997, wherein the powers that be treated over eggs, toast, meats, and thin round cakes made by cooking batter on both sides, and determined that even absurd pancakes that are truly just an excuse to eat cupcakes for Breakfast would be counted, the macaroni and cheese "pancake" is Not Breakfast.

But, you say, what about a situation where you have leftover macaroni and cheese pancakes, you re-heat them, and you throw some eggs on top to make it Breakfast? Under the 2013 ruling by Guest Judge Dis, where it was posited that any leftover item with eggs on top shall be considered Breakfast,** it would qualify. However, the recipe itself states: "Eat the pancakes as soon as they are ready for maximum crispiness and cheesy gooeyness." So, dear friend, again, Not Breakfast, as it has disqualified itself from Dis Leftover Exemption. 

Dear CBR,

First of all, never fear: Guest Committee Member Dis didn't fall asleep there. Part 2 of his determination will be brought to you next week, when he addresses the claims of Breakfast Mac!

Secondly, Buzzfeed: Okay, Buzzfeed straightup is not a reliable source of anything. You need to accept that if you're going to make it as a human being. I ran a quick search on the phrase "a recent Buzzfeed article" and two of the top results were "9 Totally Bizarre and Wonderful Fashion Pizzas" and "The 17 Stages of Rainbow Loom Obsession." This is not a place where information goes. This is a place where--

Alright, I just looked at the fashion pizzas and I must admit that I have never before seen that level of precision in cheese placement. Still, worthwhile pizza news coverage aside, Buzzfeed doesn't have the integrity of a place like the What Is Breakfast Committee, which has sworn to protect the name of Breakfast, or die trying. (I'm not sure if our Guest Committee Members are all aware of the severity of the Committee's oath, so this is probably a good time to let them know what they've signed up for.) 

Which is why you can believe me when I say that, for all of the reasons that Guest Committee Member Dis has already mentioned, and because squishing dinner into the shape of a Breakfast food only makes it an impostor, no, Mac-Cakes are Not Breakfast.

The Committee promises you:

Mac-Cakes are Not Breakfast.

And Buzzfeed is not a newspaper.

*At the time of this query.
**According to our minutes and Co-chair Jessy's feelings on the topic, this is not an official What Is Breakfast Committee Determination.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Can Breakfast and Burgers peacefully co-exist?

Dearest Breakfast Committee:

Just read about this in the Chicago Tribune's "Memorable breakfast sandwiches" article, and I'm so confused!
Honey Cafe's breakfast burger 
Love burgers so much you can't wait until breakfast is over and lunch to start? Glen Ellyn's Honey Cafe will scratch that itch. What qualifies this as breakfast is the fried egg and maple syrup-mayo, but the rest is bona fide, all-American hamburger, six ounces of grilled Dietzler Farm beef and applewood-smoked bacon on a Labriola brioche bun. A choice of fries or salad accompanies — for your own good, go with the salad. $12.95, 499 Main St., Glen Ellyn, 630-469-0000,

Please send help,
Just Read About This

Dear Just Read About This,

I understand your perplexed feelings. I, for one, am all in favor of Breakfast burgers, Breakfast pizzas, and pretty much anything else that involves piling fried eggs and bacon on top of other delicious foods.

In fact, I recently had an amazing Breakfast burger, and I highly recommend it, but there are several differences I see here…

Let’s break it down:

1. Bun
The Breakfast burger I had was served on an English Muffin, which is clearly a Breakfast item. Honey’s, however, is served on brioche. Unless converted to French Toast, brioche has no loyalty to the Breakfast table. FAIL.

2. Presence of eggs
Your Breakfast burger in question does, in fact, come topped with a fried egg. PASS.

3. Presence of bacon
Double check. PASS.

4. Spread
Maple syrup mayo, eh? This does contain maple syrup. However, it also contains mayo. Which makes it terrible, and only half Breakfast. DRAW.

5. Sides
My Breakfast burger was served with Breakfast-friendly home fries. Your choices of sides in this case are very lunch-y french fries or a salad, when any self-respecting breakfaster knows: the options should clearly be skillet potatoes or fruit. FAIL.

As you can see, according to my checklist, this is a toss-up. The onus of tiebreaker falls on the customer in this case, with one final item on the list: beverage. If you order an OJ and coffee, I will let this slide as Breakfast. If you order a Coke, just get out.

VERDICT: Maybe Breakfast, if you try. But probably not. Because trying should not be required in Breakfast-eating.

Your Brother in Breakfast,
Guest Committee Member Chad

Just Read About This:

Burgers and Breakfast are sworn enemies. This feud dates back to the Prohibition era, when all things delicious were illegal and the Breakfast and Burger families both depended on illicit sales of their goods to survive. Pa Burger came up with the bright idea to marry his daughter, Bitty Burger, into the Breakfast clan, in hopes that it would save his dying empire. But Father Breakfast knew that the Burger family was running low on quality, black market meat (and also that his son, Roger, did not really love Bitty Burger). So, fearing that the Burgers would eventually ruin the good name of Breakfast, Father Breakfast wisely did not allow the alliance to form.

So, no, it's Not Breakfast.

With condolences,
Co-chair Jessy

The Committee has decided:

A Honey's Cafe Breakfast Burger is Not Breakfast. 

Because Breakfast isn't about trying: It's about history.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Site-specific Breakfast

The What Is Breakfast Committee is joined this week by a new Guest Committee Member, Katie Markovich. Katie enjoys both sandwiches and Breakfast, but she is aware that a sandwich is often Not Breakfast. Having already tackled that imposing Breakfast question in her personal life, I'm sure she is prepared to respond to this complex query from our Boston-area friend below:

To The Committee, 

I had an instinct this should be brought to your attention immediately. 

The Friendly Toast, a nor'easterners favorite, has popped up another location close to me and there is conflicting evidence regarding whether it is in fact Breakfast! The menu is a thick jungle of Breakfast/other vines that seem to entangle the diner without end. Omelets and sweet potato fries with brown sugar & tabasco? Hansel & Gretel Waffles before or after mojito milkshakes? A review named it "one of best Breakfasts in America" in Esquire magazine, by Clive Owen who I believe is British (they serve Egg in the Hole, so you know). Should his celebrity affirmation be trusted, that it is indeed "Breakfast"?

Kindly advise, 
Entangled in Vines
North of Boston

Dear Tangled in Vines,

I would first like to thank you for your inquiry. This is important and I’m glad you had the courage to reach out to us. Every year, thousands of people go without answers to Breakfast questions. The change can begin with you.

You want to know if The Friendly Toast is, indeed, Breakfast. I can already see where you are having a difficult time. When you say “The Friendly Toast,” are you referring to the actual building? Are you referring to The Friendly Toast state of mind? Are you secretly thinking of one specific menu item, harboring the truth from me and from yourself, but then seeking my validation anyway? I don’t know, Tangled in Vines. I was hoping you would be more of a straight-shooter, but I’ve always liked a challenge.

Is The Friendly Toast—located at 1 Kendall Square, Cambridge, Massachusetts—Breakfast? No, it is not. Don’t be silly.

Is The Friendly Toast—as it exists in your head—Breakfast? Lest your brains be made of eggs and sausage, then, no, it is not. But! If you freely associate the joys of Breakfast with the feelings you get from going to The Friendly Toast, then I think you might be onto something. I think you’re a dreamer and I like that about you, TiV. I always have.

Is The Friendly Toast—the restaurant that boasts the one menu item you’re thinking of but not telling me—Breakfast? Maybe. I’m not a mind reader.

I decided to further investigate the food items you mentioned by name: omelets, sweet potato fries, Hansel and Gretel waffles, mojito milkshakes. I took to the Internet in search of possible clues, and I stumbled upon (Does anyone use Stumble Upon anymore? Please advise) a web page that appeared to have some kind of affiliation with The Friendly Toast. When I looked closer, I realized that I was able to click on words such as “Breakfast,” “Apps & Salads,” and “Sandwiches, Burritos, & More.” I then began to classify each of the aforementioned menu items in accordance to which header they belonged. I think you should check this out, TiV, it really cleared things up for me. There is even a header called “DRINKS" and, sure enough, that’s where I found that mojito milkshake.

In conclusion, follow the rules of The Friendly Toast. I know you’re at that age where you’re questioning everything and you want to know what it all means, but sometimes the truth is spelled out for you. If it’s listed under Breakfast, it’s Breakfast.

More troubling than your quandary, though, is your assertion that Clive Owen is a celebrity. I recommend writing to They can help you.

I hope this answer has been sufficient enough for you, Tangled in Vines. I know that Breakfast can get tricky, and it can be psychologically damaging to misread the decorum of traditionally “Breakfast-friendly” eateries. We’ve all been the first to order, we get the sandwich and hand-cut fries, and then are met with the shock of realizing everybody else got fancy French toast. “But it’s past noon!” you contest. The other ladies clink their champagne flutes and laugh, gulping back mimosas. “Breakfast is served until three,” the pretty one says. And that’s when it becomes clear: if the menu tells you it’s Breakfast, and that Breakfast is an option, it is time for Breakfast.

In closing, I want you to know that every time I typed “Friendly Toast,” I first typed “Friendly Ghost,” and giggled to myself.

Best of luck in your breakfast journey,
Guest Committee Member Katie

Dear Tangled:

Although the official position of the What Is Breakfast Committee is that there is actually a limit to how late in the day you can have Breakfast and still have it be considered Breakfast, and that there are cases in which menus cannot be trusted, Guest Committee Member Katie has done her research well: The sections of The Friendly Toast's menu that are labeled "Breakfast," "More Breakfast," and "Even More Breakfast," are all compromised of relatively uncontroversial Breakfast foods, such as "Huevos Rancheros" or "Granola." (It does include one omelet that has pecans and something called maple sour cream in it, but it's an omelet so there is not much the Committee can do other than personally refuse to eat it.)

You seem to be in good hands, at least under the eatery's current management.

Co-chair Jessy

The Committee has discovered:

The Friendly Toast Has Correctly Labeled Their Breakfast as Breakfast.

The Committee remains confused about the identity of Clive Owen.

Monday, October 28, 2013

After-Breakfast Dessert?

Dear WIBC, 

How about a bowl of Maple Brown Sugar Life, Fresca Black Cherry Soda, and two Whoopie Pies while reading People Magazine? What do you consider appropriate reading material for breakfast-time? What about the Cereal-to-Whoopie-Pie Ratio? What if the Whoopie Pies were made with Whole Grain flour? Could the Whoopie Pies be considered an after-breakfast dessert? (This was not MY breakfast. It was eaten by someone in whose dietary and intellectual habits I have a vested interest. Is that allowed?) 

-Blake's wife

Guest Committee Member David Death:

What is Breakfast? Before we ask what is breakfast, we must first answer "why is Breakfast?"

Why is Breakfast? Breakfast is to start the @&$!#!% day. Nay, to OWN THE @&$!#!% DAY. To destroy our enemies with speed and precision. We must ATTACK with stealth and cunning, we must be acute and FULL OF @&$!#!% APTITUDE. Because our ENEMIES ARE WAITING. 

So, What is Breakfast? What gives us the power and strength to obliterate the @#!$ out of the day? NUTRITION!  Vitamins and minerals. PROTEINS. MILK. MUSCLES. SLAM DUNKS.

What isn't Breakfast? What doesn't keep you TOUGH AS @#!$  Two cakes separated by HELL. HELL is  a place on earth, and it's made of that white sugary, strength-stealing, white shit in the middle of two gingerbread cakes delicately sprinkled with more sugary white shit. DELICATE IS NOT STRONG. Whoopie? More like Whimpy. THIS MUST NOT GET NEAR YOUR BREAKFAST. 

What are your enemies eating for Breakfast? Whoopie Pies? NO. They crush the biggest Whoopie Pies (1.062 lbs) with their brains while eating BANANAS and PROTEIN and some @&$!#!% JUICE. Did you eat a Whoopie Pie for breakfast? You are WEAK and you will be CRUSHED. You must be strong. Did a loved one eat a Whoopie Pie? THEY ARE WEAK. You are weak because those closest to you are WEAK. They cannot protect you. Some eggs-on-a-bagel-eating $%&!$@#!$!# will SNEAK INTO YOUR DAY and make it AWFUL, because he is your enemy and you are WEAK, but he is STRONG BECAUSE PROTEIN.  

Because this is the most important @&$!#!% meal of the day. 

Recommended reading: THE INGREDIENTS OF PROTEIN.

Co-chair Jessy:

The What Is Breakfast Committee would like to communicate the utmost respect for Vested Interests and Other Forms of Love, and is certainly very happy for you and yours. But, no, that's Not Breakfast, Blake.

The What Is Breakfast Committee is very loud and very certain:

Maple Brown Sugar Life Cereal, Fresca Black Cherry Soda, Two Whoopie Pies, and People Magazine Have Never Been Nor Shall They Ever Be Breakfast.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Second Breakfast Redux

Dear What is Breakfast Committee,

I wasn't that hungry this morning when my Cream of Wheat came to meet me at the breakfast table, so I took a few bites and ran.  Now it's 11:29 and what I did not really do at 7:30 is coming back to haunt me in the form of a raucous stomach chorus.  I am considering eating some peanut butter crackers with some water (it's all I have to drink at work) while listening to Peter, Paul and Mary.  Will this be Breakfast? 

Thanks and a hearty handshake!

Dear Breakfaster,

I am delighted to receive a question for which I can deliver such a confident verdict. I must refer you to Guest Committee Member Steve’s brilliant ruling on a second serving of toast and coffee occurring more than forty-five minutes after the initial serving of toast and coffee. In this landmark case, it was determined that, although toast and coffee is most certainly Breakfast, there is only “a forty-five minute window wherein you can consume Breakfast, no matter the activities undertaken between the first and second food engagements.”

According to this precedent, I must inform you that your meal is Not Breakfast. What you have is a special kind of Shitty Lunch known as Sad Desk Lunch, or SDL. SDL is an epidemic that began during the Great Recession when hard-working employees nationwide began to fear leaving their desks, opting instead to pretend to be diligently working through their lunch breaks, while actually focusing on a podcast or, as you mentioned, Peter, Paul and Mary. While lunch is technically outside my purview as a WIBC member, I encourage you to consider a more substantive noontime meal. It’s not as important as Breakfast, but it’s still pretty important.

May a turkey sandwich or a BLT find its way to you next lunch break,
Guest Committee Member Lesley

Dear Breakfaster,

Guest Committee Member Lesley (and, by association, Guest Committee Member Steve) makes an excellent point: This seems like too long a gap to be considered a mere Pause in Breakfast. However, I'd like to raise an additional argument for this being Not Breakfast: the possible Second Breakfast in question is peanut butter crackers, which do not qualify as First or Any Subsequent Breakfast. Because, crackers.

I heartily approve of you eating something at this point in the day, but I do not want you to suffer under the delusion that that thing is Breakfast.

Kind regards,
Co-chair Jessy

The What Is Breakfast Committee regrets to inform you (except not really because it is our only job):

Peanut Butter Crackers and Water Consumed Three Hours and Fifty-Nine Minutes After Original Breakfast are Not Breakfast.