And we have a question to answer that comes up in my own life on a weekendly basis, so let's scurry to the inbox:
Good morning fair and reasoned breakfast jurists,
During a recent visit to Chicago, I enjoyed a Bloody Mary at the Bongo Room within customarily acceptable breakfast hours (say 6am to 11:30amish). Said Bloody Mary was surprisingly heavily garnished with a speared meaty cube of salami, equal amount of cheese, pepper, and olives. Assuming the mix included either tomato juice or V8, was this Breakfast?
I’m including a picture for your convenience (please also consider the slice of lemon and lime), though I hope you will not disparage me for taking a picture of my food.
Although I had hoped my inaugural post as a guest member of the What Is Breakfast Committee would occur under sunnier circumstances, it is with a heavy heart that I regretfully inform you your Bloody Mary is Not Breakfast.
Let us begin with the facts:
1. The Bloody Mary is delicious.
2. The Bloody Mary is a drink.
2. The Bloody Mary is a drink.
It is with only a modicum of trepidation that I assert the following: a drink is not a meal. Yes, in rare circumstances, a drink may act as a meal, much as the vice president becomes "acting president" if the real president has to undergo a colonoscopy. If you are not able to consume solid foods, and must thus have someone put a cheeseburger and fries into a blender, you are consuming liquids as a meal replacement. If you drink Slim-Fast as a meal replacement, well, you are doing just that. You are utilizing a "meal replacement." They wouldn’t call it a meal replacement if it were a meal. That’s not my opinion, that’s just how words work.
But I shouldn’t dwell on the abstract. The Bloody Mary depicted in your e-mail—and, on the picture, I should note: I appreciated it. Show, don’t tell, right?—is very, very well-appointed. I see cheese, salami, olive, citrus, and, for some reason, a jalapeno shaped like a cherry. Indeed, had you had a greater quantity of these meats, cheeses, and fruits, you might have found yourself with a breakfast on your hands. Unfortunately, all the food skewered on the rim of your glass is, at the end of the day, "garnish." Delicious though they may be, they are ultimately nothing more than decorative flourishes. What you have, sir, is a very fancy drink and no Breakfast.
Mr. Windle, thank you again for your correspondence, and I do hope that next time you’ll order some eggs—I don’t want you to drink on an empty stomach.
Guest Committee Member Jonathan
This is difficult for me because—as many friends, lovers, and bartenders in the greater Chicago, Fort Collins, DC, and Boston area know—I love a good Bloody Mary. Like, if my mother asked me (as she always does when I say I love an inanimate object), "Are you gonna marry it?" My answer would be a resounding, "Yes! Or I would, if our archaic judicial system would just catch up to my desires!" (Although, in the interest of full disclosure, I believe I also gave the same answer re: Tetris and those little tape bracelets you can wear to make gift wrapping easier, so.)
And this looks to be a glorious Bloody Mary indeed. Although the photo doesn't tell me about its internal spices, I can almost taste the olive, jalapeno, and the chunk of cheese, and I can almost smell the piece of meat-thing that I would quickly pass on to one of my dining companions.
But Guest Committee Member Jonathan is right: it's a drink. And the density of a Blood Mary is not thick enough to push it into more controversial Breakfast Smoothie? territory.
Sorry, Gary. A Blood Mary, on its own, is just a Bloody Mary.
Better luck next time,
The Committee reluctantly declares:
Even an Especially Well-dressed Bloody Mary is Not Breakfast.
(But we do hear that they pair exceptionally well with many egg dishes that are Breakfast. And hangovers.)