It is supposed to be the most important meal of the day yet breakfast is rarely given the time or attention it deserves. During the week we're in such a rush to get on with the day. We're so busy nagging dawdling children to get their stuff together for school or trying to find some clean and ironed clothes for work that we grab whatever is quickest or easiest to prepare before flying out of the door. Inevitably some toast or cereal suffices.
On Saturday we could probably rustle up something a bit more special, but we haven't got the necessary ingredients in the fridge to pull together an English breakfast or even a bacon sandwich. Sunday it is then, the fridge full after the weekly shop. Except we're hungover from the night before and no one can be bothered to do anything except sleep. Oh, look. It's Monday morning again and another bowl of Shreddies.
For me, this cycle is broken a few times a year when we go on holiday. I'm not ashamed to say that it is not the break from work or time spent with family that I look forward to most about holidays, it is breakfast. I am obsessed with hotel breakfast buffets.
I generally have one aim when faced with a hotel breakfast buffet. Eat as much as I can so I don't need lunch. This is not greed, this is wise financial planning. In mid-range UK hotels this usually means I have everything EXCEPT cereals and toast. So that's a croissant and/or pain au chocolat, some fruit, maybe yoghurt and of course eggs, sausages, bacon, black pudding and the rest. Five star hotels may have a bit more variety to cater for international travellers -some cold meats and cheeses for our German friends for example. Well it would be rude not to try some of that. Others may have cake, yes cake, for breakfast! The greatest breakfast buffet I have ever faced was at the Beau Rivage Hotel in Lausanne. It had everything a man could wish for, including Champagne and smoked salmon which is truly the greatest way to start the day.
I have recently returned from a two week trip to India where breakfast was taken to another level. For not only was I eating to avoid having to stop for lunch, I was eating to try as many different things as I could. Before I left for India, my Dad warned me that after two weeks of Indian breakfast I would be sick of them and craving something else. Well sorry Dad, you were wrong. I think I could eat curry for breakfast every day.
Being in the tropics, we had the most incredible fresh fruit and juice every day. Pineapple, papaya, passionfruit and other fruit that doesn't start with a p, such as watermelon.
At the Royal Mist home stay in Munnar, we had delicious Puri Bhaji (deep fried bread with potato curry) and some gigantic passion fruit.
At the Taj hotel in Kumarakkom I tried some Southern India specialities such as dosas and puttu which is a steamed rice cake.
However the best breakfast of all was at the Taj hotel in Kovalam. It vies with the Beau Rivage for the title of greatest breakfast selection on the planet.
I'm now back in Britain. Yesterday I had toast and marmalade for breakfast. Today I had Shreddies. All I really want right now is a dosa.