A breakfast menu

A breakfast menu
Once upon a time, not too long ago, but long enough to feel sentimental about, I cooked up to three meals a day for the girlfriend.

We lived off Anzac Parade, on Lenthall Street in Kensington. Just the two of us.

In the summer, she had a job at the Hyatt Regency which was then located on top of the hill at Kings Cross, where the famous Coke neon sign was. As she was the only one in the house with a job, I had the housekeeping duties. I shopped for groceries, thinking up dishes as I pushed the trolley down the supermarket aisles.

Breakfast: Tuna on English muffins with asparagus and swiss cheese.

6 English muffins
1 can tuna
1 can asparagus spears
1 doz slices, swiss (or nearest) cheese
black pepper

I’d wake up an hour before she did, at 6am, and quietly go to the kitchen to prepare the breakfast that would ensure she was in love with me the rest of the day.

The sun was already up and peering through the living room windows. It used to get so bright in the mornings that you’d get a sunburn if you didn’t cover yourself with the blanket properly. I’d sing softly to myself as I took the muffins out of the bag and put them on the chopping board where I cut them in horizontal halves. Two muffins. The other four went back into the bag, later to be devoured by myself in a less delicate fashion.

La donna è mobile
qual piuma al vento
muta d’accento
e di pensiero

Sempre un’amabile
leggiadro viso
in pianto e in riso
è menzognero

La donna è mobil
qual piuma al vento
muta d’accento
e di pensier

È sempre misero
chi a lei s’affida
chi le confida
mal cauto il core

Pur mai non sentesi
felice appieno
chi su quel seno
non liba amore

(Woman is changeable
Poor feather flying blind
Sweet words, then so unkind
Changing her little mind
She’s always amiable
Beauty to spellbind
Laughs, cries, she doesn’t mind
Lies when she’s so inclined

Woman is changeable
Feather that flies blind
Sweet words then unkind
Changing her mind

He’s always miserable

He that will trust in her.
He that confides in her
Gives up his heart to her
Yet he can never be
Free from his misery
‘Til he embraces her
Won’t know what love can be)

Opening a can of tuna takes some effort, especially when you don’t want to spill the oil onto the kitchen counter. A lot of kitchen towels are employed. It’s best you open the can till you’ve left 5′ of the 360′ hanging as a hinge. You then use a fork to pry it open, dig out the contents into a bowl. And this is where the art begins.

With the fork, I’d massage the tuna into a paste, not too fine, not too coarse, blending freshly ground black pepper at intervals.

By now, she would have woken and would be heading to the bathroom. I could then turn on either the tv or the radio. This day, I turned on the radio, because the cricket hadn’t started on the tv. Triple M 104.9FM. Coffee or tea? Tea, she says. I’d put the kettle on, take two mugs, two Lady Grey tea bags out and put them in the mugs.

Same deal with the can of asparagus. Drain the water and set the spears on a plate, and cut them to size so they can fit on top of the muffins without drooping over the sides too much.

Placing the four muffin halves on the board, I’d spoon the tuna evenly on them, then place the muffins into the toaster oven, already pre-heated for a minute. It takes a minute for it to be slightly toasted. I’d take out the halves and arrange the asparagus spears on top of the tuna, and place one slice of cheese on top of each tuna muffin. Back into the oven they went. This time, I had to watch as the cheese melted, wrapped itself over the asparagus and tuna, browned slightly and drooped over the sides and not a moment longer.

With tongs, the tuna, asparagus and swiss cheese open muffins were ready to be served, two halves on each plate, with a slice of tomato on the side for good measure.

Juice? Orange, please. Tea was ready by then too.

We’d sit, eat, and I didn’t have to wait for her to tell me she enjoyed the breakfast. You are making me fat, she’d say. Then don’t eat, I’d say. We don’t say much else. I’d ask her what time she finished that day and whether she’d like dinner.


OK. I’ll go to Coles again later.

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