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.

1 comment:

Mark Adair said...

Julie raises an important point: where exactly is the epicenter of the is-it-breakfast earthquake? Regional cuisines, culture, and culinary specialties greatly influence the breakfast-or-not interpretive equation. …you say tomato and I say tomato…hmm, that works better when someone says it…