...And that's how it was back then. A bowlful of pure caster sugar. Breakfast hasn't changed much since. Frosties. Ricicles. A thick layer of those sweet, sweet granules on mushy weetabix soaking up the cream of the warmed milk. Ready Break with a huge dollop of golden syrup. More syrup than pulverised oats. Globules of gruel spatted all over my school tunic. And years later - a little taller, hair mulleted, the novelty of breakfast time TV - I'd moved on, my tastes changed. Chocolate Ready Break or a runny egg with a sprinkle of salt and toasted soldiers, worrying about the ripened dome under my left nostril, watching Ulrika Jonsson predict another rainy day. By the first kiss I was enjoying the complexities of a mouthful of muesli, or cheating muesli as it was known; a pile of powdery Alpen. I can't for the life of me remember what I ate on the mornings of my O and A level results. Maybe a Belgium waffle soaked in real butter. Certainly not a Pop Tart. No, I can't recall having one of those.
My twenties were the toast years, and the odd bowl of Cornflakes. Always thick-cut marmalade, and the joys of apricot jam. All through the under-graduate years, and the long weekends spinning vinyl. The only breakfast possible in the subsequent haze of a night-long rave. Toast for all those hang overs. Toast on the morning I waved goodbye to my northern roots and headed south in a white transit van.
My thirties was a decade of revision and rediscovery. I returned to porridge. Proper oats this time, swapping the semi-skimmed for thin cartons of exotic rice milk. It was a revelation, and a moment of self-honesty. I'd never really enjoyed claggy cow juice. Always did what was expected of me. Drank it from a mini milk bottle during morning break time. Poured it begrudgingly over that first meal of the day. But secretly it tasted bleuh. Now I was all growed-up - individuating and the like - I could release myself from its milky yoke, could emancipate myself from the diary aisle. And then I experimented. Maybe it was the boredom of the admin jobs. Maybe it was the heady expansion from a part-time counselling course. But I went through a short phase of 7.00 am zen. A bowl of quinoa stewed in rice milk with a dash of cinnamon and quartered cashew nuts. Perseverance in every bite. It didn't taste great. I have a keen memory about that time of a business trip to Seattle, of mango oatmeal and a stack of buttermilk pancakes lathered in maple syrup. Or maybe that was a dream. Maybe it was only wish fulfilment.
And there were the special breakfasts. The eggs benedict the day before the wedding. The perfect fry-up the morning after. The dishes of sweet omali and mild curry on honeymoon. The bowls and bowls of Greek yogurt with chopped strawberries and pistachios and swirls of honey every day of the first tri-mester. The packets and packets of any cereal - Rice Crispies, Shredded Wheat, Cheerios - I could get my hands on throughout the third.
Now I sit and watch her make her own history in breakfast while I have a cup of camomile and wait until my stomach is ready. She gnaws her way through the mini-cereals. She tucks into a plate of hearty scrambled eggs. Her favourite is a bowl of nutella porridge. 'Mummy,' she says, 'can I have a teaspoon with just nutella on it too?' I always oblige. I watch as she turns the bowl around, picking away at the cooling porridge from its top and sides. 'Mummy, I've drawn a fish in it!' Those wonderfully comforting sounds of her unbridled satisfaction. A jolly good start to the day.
What do you have for breakfast?