An Ode to Breakfast

And now for something completely different…I thought it time for something more light-hearted. The vast majority of my posts are about the social and cultural history of early modern Britain, however this is a Shakespearean post about breakfast. This is something I scribbled down a while back on a particularly indecisive morning. I had, for a time, considered starting a Shakespearean food soliloquy blog, but alas, that hasn’t happened…which is probably for the best. Finally, Manchester Festival is wrapping up this weekend, and I wasn’t one of the lucky few to snag tickets to see Kenneth Branagh in the Scottish Play, so to compensate I’ll post a spoof about the Prince of Denmark. Enjoy.

French toast or not French toast: that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the kitchen to suffer
The whisk and fry pan of delicious breakfast,
Or to take frozen waffles and put them in the toaster,
And by toasting them end hunger? French toast: To eat;
No more; and by to eat to say we end
The hunger and the thousand hour fast
With said delicious breakfast, ’tis a consumption
Devoutly to be wish’d. French toast, to eat;
To eat: perchance a sugar rush: aye, there’s the rub;
For in that delicious breakfast what sugar is there?
When we have ingested such maple syrup and icing sugar
Must give us pause: there’s the respect
That makes calamity of so tasty a meal;
For who would bear the low-cal syrup and reduced fat margarine,
The dieter’s wrong, the proud man’s rice cakes,
The pangs of unsatisfied hunger, the meals delay,
The impatience of low blood sugar and the spurns
That eager gorging of the unhealthy takes,
When he himself might his fat girth make
With a large breakfast? Who would Aunt Jemima bear
To grunt and sweat under a massive waist line,
But that the dread of clothes with elastic waistbands
The unattractive clothing from whose closet
No thin person wears, puzzles the will
And makes us rather bear those hunger pangs we have
Than fly to obesity that we fear much of?
Thus tasty breakfast does make fat-asses of us all;
And thus the craving for thy French toast
Is sicklied o’er with the sober second thought,
And breakfasts of great food and enjoyment
With this regard their hankering turn awry,
And lose the name of action.

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