What to eat, when

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This morning I was distraught to miss another fine cooking lesson at the Hyatt - the dessert one was loads of fun, and I really wish I could have attended this one with Chef Mauro, but at 8.30am it clashed with work commitments. I don't really need to know about Italian food as Maurizio is happy to be the Keeper of the Knowledge. But I was looking forward to the opportunity to legitimately eat pasta for breakfast.

Who decides what is eaten when? Why is it that a pain au chocolate is fine, but if I fancy a sticky toffee pudding in the morning it's not? Ditto meats. I'm English, and pork is an integral part of our classic national fry-up, but most of us would baulk at the thought of eating beef or chicken at breakfast. Have you ever seen hash browns on a dinner menu? They're potatoes aren't they? Chips are fine but not squared-off versions?

And why is it that enjoying a bowl of cereal any other time than morning is something we're exclusively allowed to do in our late teens and early twenties? And why does the same not apply to porridge? I'm at a loss as to why the species is not rising up and questioning these mandates.

Thank goodness someone had the sense to invent brunch, giving us a place for all those in-between foods that we must have been unconsciously wanting for breakfast, knowing that to indulge would mean risking the scorn of our peers. Like smoked salmon. And alcohol, come to think of it, in boozy brunches. How did that come about? You'd have to guess it's a Cava conspiracy, for the wineries to crowbar their unlimited bubbly into a mid-morning, yet socially-acceptable framework.

I have Maurizio to thank for opening my mind to the possibilities of breakfast. To the disgust of many and the secret envy of more, he lives the dream of every young boy, and has chocolate cake or chocolate biscuits dunked in chocolate milk for breakfast. He's a visionary. He wouldn't have scoffed if I came back from the Hyatt this morning full of lasagna.

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