Apr 19, 2009

the day of two breakfasts and baked good reciprocity

the best laid plans of mice and men gang aft agley.* or so says robert burns.

  1. wednesday last week, the rumour mill is set afire with talk of a sunday morning blueberry pancake breakfast featuring fresh maple syrup at the clover food lab. expectations at an unreasonably high level, a small cadre plans an expedition.
  2. thursday, rucker emails from the big apple. she's in town for a signet shindig over the weekend. i suggest pancakes with fresh maple syrup on sunday morning. she counters with the signet's southern breakfast featuring creamed mushrooms, cheese grits, and allan benton's country ham (last seen at hungry mother), cooked under the supervision of matt lee. committed to pancakes and fresh syrup, i am foiled. the disappointment is crushing until i remember: fresh maple syrup!
  3. friday, word arrives from a trusted source that pancakes will be postponed on account of anticipated bad weather. the disappointment is crushing until i remember: ham brunch is now a go! does it matter that i am not a member of the signet?
  4. saturday, at the first backyard barbecue of the season, conversation turns to weekend breakfast and the S&S deli vs danny's diner. clearly, only empirical data will permit us to distinguish the superior candidate.
this is how it comes to pass that one eats two breakfasts on a bright and cloudless sunday in cambridge. my alarm failed to go off this morning at the appointed hour but the sun coming through the window woke me in plenty of time to make it to danny's diner at 8.30am. the eponymous danny has passed beyond the veil but his diner continues to put out magnificent, inexpensive breakfast: their corned beef hash is great and goes well with banana nut pancakes. tony's denver omelet and chocolate chip pancakes were also satisfying in ways that only diner omelets can be.

shortly later, i was in the signet, interloping with a mimosa and a plate loaded with grits from the old mill of guilford, creamed mushrooms, and thin-sliced country ham from allan benton. this ham bore no resemblance to the junk in bad sandwiches: it was dry-cured, salty, with fine-textured fibre, and dense, complex flavour. i bet almost anything that ham bone would make staggering soup.

then, to clear out the perishables in anticipation of a week away in sweden, i made an orange ginger olive-oil cake. not long after it went into the oven, i got an email asking if i would like some freshly-baked apple walnut olive-oil cake. does a dog have fleas? we arranged a ride-by exchange of baked goods on mass ave. with the benefit of a side-by-side tasting, i got the better end of the deal.

* this was significantly more apropos when i began writing this. now, not so much.

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