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March 17, 2012

A Good Start to the Day

Going out for Breakfast is one of life's indulgences for me.
And this week on a particularly drear morning weatherwise, I indulged. I drew Bryony away from her birthday presents,

 and along with her aunty - Ingrid - we drove to Oxford to celebrate her 18th birthday with brunch at Seagars.  Sublime.

Porridge is my mainstay, a habit instilled in early childhood

and eaten from these Pyrex glass bowls, which I use as earthquake gauges in the Skudder House: none have jiggled off their narrow shelf in the past year or so.  I have always thought they were decorated with ivy until today... As I prepared this photo for posting it dawned on me that the motif is more like white bryony than any other vine I can think of. Remarkable to realise that bryony was part of my identity before I knew it existed.

Childhood breakfasts were cooked on our coal range - which we fired with wood.
Porridge in all its manifestations may be what I was raised on but there were certainly cooked breakfasts on the weekend, which included porridge!  And being cooked by a Yorkshireman, there was always black pudding to go with bacon and our own farmhouse eggs, as well as wild mushrooms in season.  My mother's particular contribution was the fried bread. "Dip" she called it: and dipped it was, in the cooking fats. These were almost always saved from the roasting of meat and were tasty with jelly and "goodness," or cooked blood. My children gag at the mention of these things but I loved them. And although I also loved brains and sweetbreads, which were occasionally part of a cooked breakfast, they don't appeal to me now.

The range is a Shacklock 501, especially designed for New Zealand conditions: NZ coal burnt too hot for the imported English models!
Elwin (in the photo above), cleaned and refreshed the range in the first few weeks of our buying the Skudder House from my mother in 2010 - an act of claiming, and an act of transference from the family I grew up with, to the family I made for myself. It was also - not knowing that he only had a few months left to live - his way of showing me his commitment to realising my dreams.

Elwin cooked a full breakfast on the range in honour of my 50th birthday for Ashley friends as we began opening up a house that had been an enigma to neighbours for over twenty years.

So breakfasts don't just set us up for the day, they can also symbolise new beginings: for instance the first Christmas that the table is no longer set for four...

or like the wedding breakfast - bring people together at times of celebration ...

and gathering together

...or because we missed celebrating together on Christmas Day!

My mother, my sister, our children and I breakfasted, and indeed dallied, in the Secret Garden for a whole day in January to make up for being apart in December.

And on occasions like these I always take the opportunity to mismatch as much of my tableware as possible!

Some of my favourite things that appear on today's breakfast tables include:
Pyrex oven-to-table bowls
Stonehenge Midwinter Woodland dinner plates
Crown Crystal amber highball glasses.
Portmeirion, The Botanic Garden pie dish and meat platter
Casa Domani Chantilly jugs
Mikasa Intaglio coffee cups
Masons Ironstone saucers


libby said...

My goodness I am hungry now! and I spotted the portmeirion, and you know that portrait picture of you is beautiful.

Jeneane said...

Oh Libby, what a lovely thing to say. I shall be checking your photos of home now for your Portmeirion :-) I'm sure you must have some.

Chris said...

Me too Libby, I'm starving!

Off to the Caf! :-)

Lady Mondegreen's Secret Garden said...

Aha Chris, don't forget to find every opportunity to make a celebratory meal off your own fat of the land :-)

Cro Magnon said...

Gosh; so much there to bring back memories. Breakfast has always been my favourite meal of the day (and usually eaten alone, hours before anyone else is up).

Bacon, eggs, black pudding, fried toms, mushrooms, and toast, all swathed in Lea and Perrin's sauce. Wonderful.

And then, when I'm feeling less gluttonous, there's that wonderful Gentleman's Relish on hot buttered toast. Divine!

Jeneane said...

Thanks for visiting Cro Magnon and sharing the delights of a good breakfast even if you normally do it alone. What a co-incidence you blogging about breakfast too :-)

John Gray said...

the normality of this blog entry is wonderful!!!!
ps I will re send another spoon!!!!
now we have a post office I need an excuse!
send me your address again x

Jeneane said...

Yes, gentle John Gray, I thought maybe it was time for a bit of normality not to mention fooood! :-) Address to come.

Dyk Jewell said...

Greetings from Vietnam. We are also eating well here and enjoying the warmth & culture. Happy birthday to Bryony and best wishes to you all.

Jeneane said...

Well Dyk, I imagine you breakfasting on mangos and pineapple - a far cry from that full cooked breakfast on that cool damp morning on your patio. Hope the waft of bacon cooking in your kitchen hasn't made you homesick. Have a great time :-)

John Alex said...

it is very informative blog.thank you so much.
Casa Domani

Lady Mondegreen's Secret Garden said...

Thanks for visiting John Alex

John Alex said...

great blog.I should bookmark it.
Casa Domani

Lady Mondegreen's Secret Garden said...

Thank you again John Alex: It's a pity that the Casa Domani creamware, which often makes an appearance at our breakfast table, hasn't stood the test of time like most of my older china. It is only eight years old but terribly crazed inside, with the accompanying staining that goes with cheap thin glazes. A pity because the ware was a special request birthday present at the time.