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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Breakfast of Champions

This morning I stopped to get coffee.

I suppose I need to expound on that at bit.

This morning on my way to work, I stopped at the Quick Mart on base to get a cup of coffee (for those of you just joining us, I’m currently working for the US Air Force on Elmendorf Air Force Base, I’ll be there for about another year, then I’m going back to being retired). Now, these days I usually drink decaf, but this morning I had a dozen meetings and I was very tired – I felt like I needed to be heavily caffeinated, preferable intravenously if at all possible. I had damned near fallen asleep while waiting to get on base – the lines were extra long today (You can always tell when the military is manning the gates and not the lean mean donut eating machine rent-a-cops, the military actually checks IDs and looks in your car – this takes longer, hence the line. The rent-a-cops mostly shoot the shit with each other and dream about being real police). Just inside the back gate, there’s a small mini mart type store, the coffee there is fairly decent – so I stopped to get a cup of something called “Columbian Energy Blend.” Which, when I type it, sounds like something that would get you five years in a spiffy orange jumpsuit.

I took the cup up to the register.

In line ahead of me were an Airman, a Marine, and a Soldier.

I realized that I was looking dead into the face of a joke:

The Wingwiper had a poppy seed bagel and a bottle of cranberry juice.

The Jarhead had a bag of beef jerky and a soda.

The Squid (me) had a large black cup of thick bitter coffee.

And the GI had two chili cheese dogs, with onion, and a large energy drink.

“Breakfast of Champions,” I said

The Airman ignored me.

The Marine nodded curtly, gave me the once over, and said,“Morning, Sir.”

The Soldier grinned, and said “We’ve got an eight mile run this morning, I need the carbs. I’m hungover as fuck.”


An eight mile run on a hangover with a stomach full of chili cheese dog?

Damn, I miss those days.


What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten for breakfast?

32 comments:

  1. That's a tough question, not because I have a hard time picking the weird food but because I can't figure out how to define "breakfast."

    I used to work the graveyard shift, so breakfast time for me would have been around dinnertime for most people. But I've never been much of a fan of eating soon after waking up (unless donuts are involved), so I'll say that the weirdest thing I ate at breakfast time would have been a cheeseburger (obviously wasn't during one of my vegetarian phases), fries and a large Pepsi. Many raised eyebrows around me, but "dinner" at 7:30am seemed pretty normal to me at the time.

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  2. *shudder* I'll just sit quietly over here with my granola and yogurt and cider.

    I do occasionally have dinner leftovers for breakfast - I have to eat in the morning, and sometimes there isn't anything breakfasty that sounds good. Pretzels and cheese is an awesome breakfast, but not that unusual.

    Hm. I'm a very adventurous eater, but apparently not before morning coffee.

    And thanks Kelly - now I want donuts.

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  3. Hard boiled egg and a Coke? I think I did that for a while when I was in high school. Hey, it was protein & caffiene, what more did I need?

    Worked the graveyard shift at K-Mart my senior year in college in the '90's. Made for a very strange eating schedule, so anything was fair game. I was taking night classes when the store switched our hours and couldn't change my track without screwing up my graduation date. I'd go to classes until 10 or 11:00pm, go straight to the store, do reading for homework during the breaks & dinner, work until 8-ish in the morning, go home, crash until 1, get up, go to my part time courier job, go to school. Lather, rinse, repeat.

    So I'd pretty much eat anything anytime, breakfast was frequently while I was making deliveries, anything fast food I could handle while driving. Arby's, McDonalds, whatever.

    If I didn't have to work an afternoon I'd meet friends for their lunch, my breakfast, at our favorite sports bar. My regular order was a cheesy quesadilla with onions & mushrooms and a Jack & Coke. Damn. Now I want to go to Taco Mac...and it's not even 9 in the morning yet!

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  4. I so rarely eat breakfast, I can't remember....

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  5. I love Marines, the Smart Man is a soldier, and I'm a sailor.

    And, oh - macaroni salad. For days on end.

    Now I eat a much more normal breakfast, to go with my much more normal drama-fee life. I do not miss those days.

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  6. Janiece, I don't miss doing it, I miss being able to do it.

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  7. I guess I really don't find anything weird as breakfast food. I'll eat leftover anything for breakfast and feel good about it.

    My wife thinks it's odd and this is the dish that she found oddest for breakfast.

    I was deployed to Okinawa from 1st Radio Battalion and our prep area for the real deployment (To East Timor on LHA-3 Belleau Wood) was at Camp Hansen. Outside of Camp Hansen was Kinville, which we called Sinville. One of the street vendors there served something called "Taco Rice". That is an apt description for the dish. It's meat flavored with taco seasoning on a bed of rice, covered with cheese.

    Good food when you're stumbling back to base from the bar...and the leftovers were a delicious breakfast.

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  8. Ah yes, East Timor. Just loads of fun.

    I never had taco rice, but it does sound like something I would eat for breakfast.

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  9. Nick from the O.C.October 21, 2009 at 6:14 AM

    Breakfast is definitely my favorite meal of the day, but is also the meal that I skip the most. My typical breakfast is a poptart or SpecialK bar eaten at my desk, which hardly qualifies as breakfast in my mind.

    Anyway, if I have time for breakfast, I always make it a good one. Consequently, I can't remember actually eating anything weird for breakfast.

    Why does that make me feel like less of a man?

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  10. Hey, I like pop tarts. They give me screaming heartburn though - most processed food does nowadays.

    I was going to mention MRE breakfast, but that's not really weird, just nasty. Gak. I don't care if I ever see another MRE or a T-Rat as long as I live. Seriously, I have nightmares about those fucking things.

    Blood sausage anybody? I lived in Spain for a while, and England. Blood sausage is a breakfast staple there.

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  11. Used to eat whatever was left-over the dinner at my parents. Usually involved potato salad, sour cabbage, and herring.

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  12. We go out for dim sum breakfast probably once a month or so. In LA, a breakfast of juk, pork char siu, coconut mounds, jin dui, har gow, and fried lotus sesame balls would sound perfectly normal, but I imagine that it might not be so common in other cities in North America, except maybe San Francisco.

    We had that for breakfast this last Sunday. Yum Yum. My son, his #1 trombone buddy, the girl who has been friends with my son since they were 15 months old, her boyfriend, her mother, who is my oldest friend (except for my dear husband), and her father made up the group.

    My dear husband does not go out for dim sum because, in his mind, there is no breakfast food in the world worth getting up at 8 am on a Sunday to procure.

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  13. Ohhh, I like herring for breakfast. I pass on the sour cabbage though.

    Dim sum? Not so much. Dinner sure, but not for breakfast.

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  14. While in Japan I stopped at a small stand and got a sticky doe ball. It had a sugary sweet glaze over steamed doe (weird enough, just getting started). It looked like a three napkin treat and I was stoked for the sugar rush. There was a little old Japanese lady who smiled nicely and kind of snickered when I gave her my yen. I walked away with my warm sticky goodness in hand and readied myself for a big ol bite. I took that bite and found the surprise inside. Raw fish. Don't know what kind but it was wrapped in sea weed film and was pretty much not what I was expecting. Heck I thought I asked for the jelly doughnut. GAAAAAWWWWW Thwpt! It landed with a thump in the nearest waste can and I used the napkins to wipe off my tongue.

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  15. Well, part of our family's New Year's Eve midnight or celebratory breakfast is pickled herring & eggnog w/lotta nog...

    Morning breakfast is Polish sausage w/horseradish, and poppy seed bread. Is also usually served on Christmas morning. Daddy used to make the Polish sausage from his mother's recipe.

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  16. Asian breakfasts are good- there's a Vietnamese rice noodle diwh that I ate about every day when I was there- the name is blanking on me. I guess this morning's cereal isn't enough for brain food and the iced tea hasn't kicked in yet.

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  17. Yeah, I miss the days when I could down a whole large 5 item pizza and 5 beers and still function.

    Chicken-ala-King and cheese spread schlurped out the corner of the bag while on the morning run - not hung over - warmed only by thigh heat in a cargo pocket - had to swallow between lines of cadence.

    Stuffed, roasted squash with a spiced tomato sauce on the night shift while in Greenland.

    Cold Jaegerschnitzel eaten one-handed while driving my M1.

    Gotta be the top 3, but I'm not sure which is the weirdest.

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  18. Nick from the O.C.October 21, 2009 at 8:19 AM

    Jim, your comment about "processed food" reminded me of an Alaska story. In the mid-nineties, my employer had an operation in Anchorage supporting the Army Corps. of Engineers. We did a lot of local hiring and we brought some of those folks down to our corporate HQ in Pasadena, CA for training.

    One night we all went out for a steak dinner. In the middle of dinner this big guy from Alaska (which may be a redundant description) stopped mid-bite and looked at the meat. We asked him what was wrong.

    "Nothing," he said. "It's just that this is the first piece of meat I've ever eaten, that I didn't know who killed it."

    Also, now that I think about it, I did have breakfast in England a couple of times. Not weird, actually -- but bad.

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  19. I didn't think I ever had a weird breakfast until Lauren mentioned dim sum. There's a Taiwanese dumpling place where I go for breakfast once a month. For some reason, I go heavy on the pork. Juicy pork dumplings and pork fried rice. Yummy. Then we'll stop at the nearby bakery for a sweet pork bun, which I refer to as "dessert pork." Now that I think about it, that's probably weird.

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  20. I only objected to 2 of the MRE meals and I think I only had one of the "breakfast" MRE's and it's one of my favorites...Corned beef hash. Yum. I heard about a bacon and egg MRE but never had one. Eggs with a shelf life of 10 years just sound like a bad plan.

    The rest of the MRE's I had ranged from "not bad" to "tasty".

    The 2 I objected to were the 5 fingers of death and the pot roast. They were both awful. Doubly so if you had to eat them cold. The pot roast came out with cold fat congealed around the shoe leather like meat...blech.

    My favorite was the beef stew...but only when properly prepared. You had to trade or wait for some jalapano cheese (pronounced JAh Lah Pah No since they didn't put the accent mark on it) mix that and the crumbled up MRE cracker in to the hot stew and add some of the Tabasco sauce.

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  21. 1st weirdest: Whoppers and Jolt.

    2nd weirdest: Grape Nuts.

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  22. Grape nuts are delicious. Grape nuts with brown sugar and hot milk are even more delicious.

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  23. Grape Nuts? I didn't realize they still made those. Although if I think about it, I'd bet there is a box on my parents cereal shelf! That or Concentrate.

    I heard even Fruit Loops are good for you now, they've added fiber to all that sugar!!

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  24. Don't know that I've eaten anything particularly weird for breakfast, although eating dinner leftovers are not unusual. The second time I went to college this often meant warm beer and cold pizza for breakfast.

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  25. Grape Nuts are not delicious. They're comparable to aquarium gravel (the brown boring kind, not the exciting blue kind).

    And if they steep too long in milk, they become muddy and soggy, like a breakfast of warm silt.

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  26. Dried shredded squid, washed down with some kind of Japanese soft drink that I could not identify, but which tasted like the stuff they give you at the hospital to prep for a barium enema, in the cockpit, on the way from Atsugi to Iwakuni.

    Next would be cold schwarma, out of Bahrain on the way to Fuj.

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  27. I like cold shawarma.

    In fact, I'd like to have one right now.

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  28. Hmm. "Weird" is in the eye of the beholder, methinks. ;)

    Normal breakfasts:
    1. slushy rice with roe shong (a type of dried shredded meat), chili bamboo strips, something that translates in English on the can to "wheat gluten", various types of pickles.

    2. Sao bing, yo tiow, do jiang. Sort of a baked sesame flatbread, deep-fried donutlike pastry sticks except savory rather than sweet, soymilk soup (comes in sweet or savory). I believe this is a typical Cantonese breakfast but could be wrong.

    (and on that note, dim sum is traditionally a lunch thing, also Cantonese.)

    3. In Taiwan, they have all sorts of stuffed buns and pastries and cake things in the morning bakeries. Some sweet, some savory. I liked the curry turnover things best. (I miss Taiwan bakeries. T.T)

    Having said that, breakfast most of the time when I was in grade school was a single egg. I liked mine sunny side up, and the whites had better be completely cooked while the yolk was complete runny or I'd whine. My sister, meanwhile, liked her yolk to be completely cooked. On weekends we often had cereal, if we weren't doing the slushy rice thing. If we weren't awake during breakfast time, lunch was usually last night's dinner, stirfried with last night's rice.

    Later on when I went to a boarding high school, I ate ridiculous amounts of pizza. Got so sick of it that I avoided pizza for a decade afterwards.

    These days: I'm never awake in the morning and therefore eat lunch, dinner, and supper. ;) It's a hodgepodge of cuisines with nothing particularly typical. Like, today I had a coffee yogurt and a bowl of spinach tofu soup. I might make spaghetti later.

    On a sidenote, the whole clash of cultures thing passed through my mind when a devout Muslim propositioned me earlier this year. Considering that (authentic) Chinese cuisine is basically all pork-based, it occurred to me that this might be a major problem if we were to get together (I wasn't interested and declined). ;)

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  29. I guess I don't really consider anything weird for breakfast. Good stuff is good any time...weird stuff doesn't get any weirder at any particular time of day (or when you first get up...whenever that is...if that's how you're calculating breakfast time.)

    Last Saturday, I had some leftover calamari for the first meal of the day, shortly after I woke up.

    :D

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  30. Do they still make Concentrate? That was a great cereal additive.

    Been known to make a bachelor breakfast of leftover macaroni and cheese, ketchup and a Coke -- and eating straight out of the pot is fine for breakfast.

    Lot of odd things to eat on the run when I was in college and delivering Chicago Tribunes in the middle of the night. Local 7-11 brought in some locally made sandwiches. One really nice turkey sub was called The Gobbler -- it had lettuce and just enough Italian dressing for taste without making a mess.

    Yum.

    Dr. Phil

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  31. I confess when I was delivering the Atlanta paper when I lived in NW Georgia, my midroute stop of choice for early breakfast was Krystal. Where we'd have a few Krystals and coffee. Only place in our small town that was open at that time in the morning. They catered to the local Police & Fire depts, so it was safe at 3 AM. And they had a clean rest room - which is always a plus!

    For the uninitiated, a Krystal is a tiny square hamburger (cheese optional) with grilled onions, a squirt of mustard & ketchup on a little square bun. Maybe 3 bites if you were being dainty, and why you could eat several and not feel too guilty. Similar to White Castle. And onion rings if they had the oil up to temp.

    Damn. Now I want a Krystal. This morning's oatmeal did nothing for me!

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  32. Breakfast is whatever is in the fridge when I stumble out of bed to put on the coffee.

    Awful kimchee was probably the worst thing (thanks dad-in-law for polluting my fridge with that crap).

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