Thursday, September 24, 2009

Dear What is Breakfast Committee,

Does a large Caramel High Rise from Caribou Coffee and a Cinnamon Scone count as breakfast? Might I add, the Carmel High Rise has caramel drizzle that then sinks to the bottom adding this intensely delicious sediment layer that must be consistently sifted for maximum enjoyment. So some work is involved in this breakfast endeavor. I also walked 4 blocks from the train stop to get to said breakfast. Does any exercise prior to consumption help with your impending judgment?

Faithfully Unhealthy in the Morning,
Anonymous (Jason)

Jessy: A cinnamon scone, though not possessing any of the nutritional value that a Breakfast should ideally possess, is still a traditional breakfast food. Also, a coffee (if that is indeed a coffee that Anonymous is describing - it could just be caramel and milk, which is kind of gross) could be considered a traditional breakfast accompaniment, although not a traditional stand-alone food by any means. So the question that now arises is, are traditional breakfast foods still Breakfast after they have been bastardized by an overuse of frostings, caramels, and possibly even some whipped cream? Is a breakfast without any nutritional value still Breakfast? Also, perhaps the weight of the decision should remain on the scone, given that coffee is a chameleon drink that can be comfortable in many different types of meals and situations. Although I am personally inclined to take away some Breakfast Points for the lovingly-described sugary sediment in the bottom of the cup, which seems to suggest more Dessert of Breakfast than Breakfast, I don't want to overstep my role as a Committee Member. At the moment, I'm leaning towards A Nutritionally Defunct Facsimile of Breakfast.

Also, on an unrelated side note: four blocks is not very far.

Stacie: Five years ago I would have said, "Of course it's breakfast, you're eating it in the morning." In the present I say, "Wow, that's a lot of sugar in your coffee. But the scone has cinnamon." In the future, I'd say, "Do you know what breakfast means?" And to the future me I'd present that breakfast is literally "breaking the fast." So of course this and really all things that you consume after a long period of time not eating something is breakfast. This, however, is a very sugary breakfast.

Final vote: I don't know what breakfast is anymore and you should next time just eat a cup of sugar for breakfast. Or an apple.

Jessy: Okay, having further checked out the Caramel High Rise (Copyright Caribou Coffee), I have determined that this drink does involve espresso, but also appears to contain a much higher quantity of whipped cream than is traditionally present with Breakfast. It does, however, contain a fifth of the average human's recommended daily calories, which, combined with the typical caloric count of a scone from this same location, equals at least 40% of the daily recommended intake. So it's possible that this is not only breakfast, but also lunch.

With that in mind,
The Committee's Final Decision Is:

Stacie Is Fired.

(Oh, and yeah, That's Breakfast.)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Dear What Is Breakfast Committee:

I went to a restaurant called "Chicken and Waffles." For dinner I ate one deliciously crunchy chicken breast with one amazingly huge waffle with butter and syrup on the side (all on the same plate). Not really knowing what to do with this, my husband and I cut the chicken, cut the buttered waffle and dipped it in the syrup all at once! It was quite yummy but confusing. They do serve this same meal during breakfast. But is this REALLY breakfast?

- Also Confused in Chicago

Jessy: Wow. Chicago must be a confusing place to eat breakfast. It's a good thing we sent one of the Co-chairs there; otherwise, the whole city might have to go Breakfastless. (Oh, the horror!) Come to think of it, maybe the real reason why she is so busy has nothing to do with a PhD program? My co-ch
airy suspicions are aroused.

What was I talking about? Breakfast. Right. Well, basically, we're encountering the classic "wacky combination" problem. Although some fried foods are Breakfast, and some meat products are Breakfast, fried chicken is Not Even A Little Bit Breakfast. But a waffle is Always Breakfast (and sometimes lunch and sometimes dinner - but, as we've discussed before, there's a reason I wasn't nominated for those committees). But you ate them together! What a dilemma.

Although, really, I know in my heart what my vote must be:
Chicken and Waffles Are Possibly Yummy But Not Breakfast, That Is Crazy.

(Footnote: I mean, what if I made scrambled eggs and topped them with a fruit roll-up? Or granola topped with a pork chop? Would you consider that Breakfast? Y'know what, don't answer that.)

...Now, for this particular query, I felt the need to call on a Guest Committee Member who has significant cultural and geographical ties to a region whose eating habits are shrouded in mystery for me. The obvious answer was Julie, a young lady who offers not only the advantage of long-term residence in the greater Chicago area, but also the qualities of being awesome and being affianced to my brother, Jordan. I'll put the rest of the introduction into her more than capable hands:

Julie: Well, I’m not in a PhD program, I do bring some Chicago-area expertise to the table. (Whether that table is a Breakfast Table remains to be determined.) Plus, I haven’t skipped breakfast since I was in 7th grade. (I had thick bangs and wasn’t eating breakfast. I’m not proud of either, but I’ve moved on.)

This is quite the dilemma and, in most regions, I’d agree that this would be a “wacky combination” problem. Here in ol’ Chicago(land), however, I’d say that it’s ultimately an issue of gang wars. Or corrupt politics. And maybe a little nepotism.

Here’s what we know: Waffles are Certainly Breakfast and fried chicken is Undeniably Lunch/Dinner. So, the question comes down to this: Are waffles more breakfast-y than fried chicken is lunch/dinner-ish? The answer is: Yes. Fried chicken has split its allegiance between Lunch and Dinner, so it no longer has the power to pull waffles down from the Office of Breakfast. Think Bull Moose Party, but with Waffles instead of Woodrow Wilson.

Vote: Waffles and Fried Chicken are Absolutely Breakfast, But It’s a Delicate Balance and Waffles Better Watch Its Back.

The Committee Has Reached Something of a Split Decision:

Waffles are Breakfast. Chicken is Not Breakfast. Chicken and Waffles Together are Somewhere Between Not Breakfast and Absolutely Breakfast, But Are Definitely A More Politically-Charged Meal Than Expected.

Well, I guess not even the What Is Breakfast Committee has all the answers, kids. It must be a fallen world after all.