‘I’m admiring the shape of your skull’ Eating breakfast like Hunter S. Thompson is a terrible idea

Michael Hafford of Extra Crispy reported a couple of months ago that Hunter S. Thompson did not hold many things sacred, least of all his sobriety

breakfast-with-hunter-1-630x474But he was a real person. And he was a real person who loved breakfast. I, myself, am a boring-ass white boy who read Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas at age 14 and became enthralled with Thompson’s ability to file while seemingly actively snorting whatever powder was around. And I also love breakfast. So I’ve gotten obsessed with this quotation about Hunter S.Thompson’s breakfast (I also read the Vegas book when I was 14).

“I like to eat breakfast alone, and almost never before noon; anybody with a terminally jangled lifestyle needs at least one psychic anchor every twenty-four hours, and mine is breakfast. In Hong Kong, Dallas or at home—and regardless of whether or not I have been to bed—breakfast is a personal ritual that can only be properly observed alone, and in a spirit of genuine excess. The food factor should always be massive: four Bloody Marys, two grapefruits, a pot of coffee, Rangoon crepes, a half-pound of either sausage, bacon, or corned beef hash with diced chiles, a Spanish omelette or eggs Benedict, a quart of milk, a chopped lemon for random seasoning, and something like a slice of Key lime pie, two margaritas, and six lines of the best cocaine for dessert… Right, and there should also be two or three newspapers, all mail and messages, a telephone, a notebook for planning the next twenty-four hours and at least one source of good music… All of which should be dealt with outside, in the warmth of a hot sun, and preferably stone naked.”

(Binge watching season 2 of Narcos while I write, I’m continually impressed by the outrageous sweaters worn by cocaine kingpin Pablo Escobar.)

fear-loathinghunterI view Hunter S. Thompson the way I view all writers talking about their supposed routines: They’re just baiting someone stupid enough to try to recreate them into personal or mental ruin. And yet, the breakfast beckoned to me. How could it not? The sheer amount and variety is completely insane. The food alone is enough to stop one’s heart, let alone the drinking and the dessert cocaine.

So I decided to try to conquer it, this Mt. Olympus of breakfast. My attempt at the breakfast took nearly five hours, inspired a minor argument, and was consumed as close to naked as I could get with a photographer and several other assistants around. I couldn’t be alone for the breakfast—I had a photographer, several people helping with the cooking, and other people that just wanted to gawk—but I cherished my few alone moments and understood why he would have valued his alone time. At times I had to lay down. Once, I vomited. Other times, I wish I had. I think I learned something. Definitely I learned about the limits of my endurance.

Hafford goes into all the details of this 5-hour marathon.

Finishing the breakfast, or coming as close as I did, more or less confirmed my suspicions. This was not a mortal amount of food to eat. Hell, this was not a mortal amount of food to describe eating. I wouldn’t characterize myself as shocked that Hunter S. Thompson would eat (or say he ate) breakfast like this, but I would say I’d be surprised if he did this more than once in his life. This type of eating requires a hotel because it’s elaborate and you couldn’t really find that solitude or nudity anywhere else. Preparing the food took an hour just by itself. One could picture him, cigarette clamped in jaw, growling the order into the phone. One could also picture the person taking the order asking if he needed two place settings.

“Just one,” Thompson might say. “Are you insane?”

Well, yes.


Best Breakfast in Kansas

I’m a sucker for Sunday brunch, especially if a good Bloody Mary is involved. On more than one occasion we’ve thought of trying The Chef café in downtown Manhattan (Kansas). But each time we see the line stretching out the door and down the block, we decide to take our small child somewhere without a wait. Today “Downtown Manhattan, Inc.” shared on Facebook that The Chef was rated the best breakfast in Kansas by the Food Network. The story says The Chef makes its own chorizo for their frittatas, which appear to be amply cooked, but chorizo should be handled with care to avoid food safety risks (see http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/454431 for a lively discussion). While I’d vote for Doug’s cooking as the best breakfast in Kansas, the next time Sorenne wakes up at 5 a.m. on a Sunday, we just might be first in line.

Ontario man finds ants in his McDonald’s burritos?

The Toronto Sun reports that 28-year-old Tommy Lam and his girlfriend stopped by the McDonald’s at Markham Rd. and Denison St., north of Toronto, around 11 a.m. last week to order four pita-wrapped sausage and egg burritos to eat on their way to work.

Soon after, they sat down to eat at his business, Jewellery Box, just around the corner at Steeles Ave. E. and Middlefield Rd., Lam claims they spotted dozens of ants inside and outside their burritos.

Fortunately, the little critters weren’t crawling around. But that was of little consolation to Lam, who had already eaten the first of his two burritos.

Whether or not that first sandwich was also laced with dead ants, Lam is not sure.

When Lam returned to the store, Lam said the McDonald’s manager, “didn’t even offer an apology. … He offered to replace our burritos, that was it. I just said, ‘No thanks!’ and walked out.”

Lam said he later tried to contact McDonald’s head offices and his local public health department, but he wasn’t able to reach anyone over the long weekend.

Gratuitous food porn shot of the day – scrambled eggs with veggies and toast

Sorenne eating breakfast with dad, Oct. 9, 2009, 7:00 a.m.

Saute fresh rosemary, garlic, red pepper and garden-fresh tomato (the nighttime temperatures are cooler, but not quite freezing yet, when what’s left of the herbs and tomatoes will move inside). Add scrambled eggs, salt and pepper, cooking the salmonella out of the eggs. Serve with whole grain toast.

That’s toast. I like … toast.

A typical Michael Phelps breakfast

An increasingly pregnant Amy and I were strolling along Venice Beach this morning, marveling at the complete lack of a storm – Fay fizzled – and Amy said she was hungry for bacon and eggs and French toast. She had eaten an hour earlier.

This is normal in pregnancy.

uber-Olympian Michael Phelps isn’t pregnant, but consumes 8,000 to 10,000 calories a day.

Serious Eats reports that Phelps’ typical breakfast order from Pete’s Grille in Baltimore, Maryland, as is recounted in autobiography Beneath the Surface, is:

“Start with three sandwiches of fried eggs, cheese, lettuce, tomato, fried onions, and mayonnaise; add one omelet, a bowl of grits, and three slices of French toast with powdered sugar; then wash down with three chocolate chip pancakes.”

Maybe the U.S. track team should have been hanging out with Phelps. The N.Y. Times reported Saturday that several members of the United States track team became ill at the team’s pre-Olympic training center in Dalian, about 300 miles east of Beijing, and food poisoning was the likely cause.


Better breakfasts fight teen anxiety: study

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that adding a piece of fruit or a glass of milk to a teenager’s breakfast may help protect them from depression, anxiety and disobedience.

A study of more than 800 students has found that a complex breakfast is directly linked to better mental health irrespective of family income, the student’s weight or exercise routine.

Students who ate from more food groups for their morning meal scored higher on a child behaviour checklist, with an improvement in mood seen for every extra food type added.

Lead researcher Therese O’Sullivan, from the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research in Perth, said,

"It didn’t matter what they added, just that they added something different like a banana to their cereal to make that meal more complete with vitamins and minerals. From what we found, that makes a huge difference."

Don’t cry
Don’t raise your eye
It’s only teenage wasteland

And this is the best live version of Baba O’Riley.