I make breakfast Christmas morning. I own Christmas breakfast. My Christmas breakfast has become legendary in the family and among friends lucky enough to have eaten it.
“These eggs taste like hospital eggs,” Sue said Christmas morning.
What do you mean hospital eggs? Are you suggesting they are the sort of eggs that might promote healing or are you saying that they are off-white and bland? If they are bland, I have succeeded because I made them that way on purpose. I am inviting diners to put their imprint on the eggs by adding spices of their own choosing.
It’s what songwriters do when they are deliberately ambiguous with a lyric. You can take it one way or you can take it another.
“Dad, you forgot the bacon, too,” Thomas said.
I had. Christmas breakfast consisted of hospital eggs and the spirit of bacon in the Christmas past. That’s not Christmas. That’s what Charlie Bucket ate for breakfast before Willy Wonka gave him the chocolate factory.
I was off my game because we took Christmas on the road for the first time in 38 years. Christmas is a home thing. A fire in the fireplace thing. A big memorable Christmas breakfast thing.
However, life changes. The kids aren’t kids anymore and some of the kids have their own kids and want their own Christmases. Imagine the gall. For those who didn’t — Herbie and Thomas — we headed north close to where they were working and rented a house in Dillon Beach.
North with the Christmas wreath, the red Christmas napkins, the Spode — plates, saucers and mugs — the beef bourguignon made ahead of time, the wine, the olive oil and the Josh Groban and Michael Bublé Christmas CDs.
Dillon Beach is near Point Reyes and Bodega and Tomales Bay, which means it’s close to Northern California heaven. Redwoods, oysters, handcrafted goat cheese made from goats who have their own studio apartments and more Patagonia than you can shake a handsome stick at.
I noticed the abundance of Patagonia gear when we stopped at the Palace Market in Point Reyes Station. Everybody was wearing Patagonia — jackets, pants, shorts, hats. It was curious and reminded me of the movie “The Birds,” which was made in Bodega Bay, not far from this profusion of Patagonia.
I like Patagonia and I like birds too until they go nuts on you and suddenly you’re in birdland. I wanted to say to the Patagonia wearing-throngs, “I have a used Patagonia down jacket. I’m just not wearing it today.”
In an effort to show that I belonged, I fell into line at the Bovine Bakery. I was prepared to go gluten-free if that what’s it took (“I don’t have my Patagonia but I’d like to show my solidarity by ordering gluten free”) but bought the peanut butter blondie instead, which was displayed on the rack directly below the glutenous offerings and gave it a sort of gluten-free contact high.
We’d been to Dillon Beach almost 30 years ago when it was sleepy, unfancy and cheap. Now, it’s still sleepy — there is only one cafe in town — but underneath unfancy lurks expensive. A shed in Northern California will run you more than a house in Haggin Oaks, which means it's a good time to rent.
A good time to feel rich for a few days, a good time to walk on the beach and a good time to take Christmas on the road.
Scrabble, football games on TV and falling back in the rhythm of being a family again by reintroducing old family jokes: “Since you are up, would you mind getting me a glass of water/wine/beer.”
A good time for the legendary Christmas breakfast that included a new component: “water coffee,” dubbed by Herbie because you could see through it. I forgot the coffee grinder so we ground the coffee beans in a food processor with a dull blade.
The grind was rough. What’s wrong with rough? We’re from Bakersfield, rough grind and rugged people country.
Hospital eggs and water coffee. It was one of our best Christmases. Things taste better together.