Süggested Aüdio Jükebox ♬
 Beastie Boys “Egg Man”
 System of a Down “Chop Suey”
 Guy Marks “Loving You Has Made Me Bananas”
 Barry White “You’re The First, The Last, My Everything”
 Def Leppard “Pour Some Sugar On Me”
Top ‘o the mornin’ to ya. Please take a seat and I’ll rustle you up some breakfast, compliments of the house. How does a Full English sound? That’s fried mushrooms, fried tomatoes, fried eggs, fried toast, sausages, and baked beans. Tell you what, I’ll even throw a little bubble and squeak in for good measure. You just take your time waking up and I’ll take care of everything. One question – how do you like those eggs? It’s a no-brainer if you ask me. Flip ’em to reverse and they begin to resemble soot-smeared skin grafts whereas take my advice and they’re positively solar. There’s no choice to make in my mind; it’s sunny side up all the way. For the record, I may be the only Englishman who doesn’t jump for joy at the prospect of our flagship breakfast. They lost me at fried mushrooms you see. Anyone who knows me should already be aware of my illogical fear of fungus and I won’t tolerate a solitary domed cap on or in close proximity to my plate. Thus you can take your Full English Breakfast and poke it where the moon shines for all I care. A cup of tea will do me just fine.
I don’t even eat eggs you know. Ludicrous I know but they never really appealed to me, sunny side up or otherwise. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that I hear they’re in cahoots with mushrooms that takes the shine off. For whatever reason, it’s nil by mouth for me, and I can’t help but think I’m missing a trick there you know. As for tomatoes, well they’re absolutely fair game in puréed form but, unless they arrive as paste, they can fuck off too. I know right? Somehow inexplicably I have developed a distaste for many of the food groups that medical experts advise us to work into our five-a-day and I haven’t even scratched the surface yet believe me. Pretty much every vegetable is kryptonite to me and I also happen to be indifferent to all but a couple of fruit. Raspberries are deemed kosher as I get a kick out of the pips and you could force an apple into my maw should my life depend on it. But I won’t be happy. You see, the flavor soon subsides and you’re left with a mouthful of chalky residue and immense feeling of crushing disappointment.
If you haven’t already noticed, I am the very epitome of finicky. Experts have attempted to make sense of my condition and their research threw up but a solitary clue as to where this all stems from. It would appear that it started around the age of eight and a significant emotional trauma which did something to fry my circuitry. Until then I ate anything you placed in front of me (short of dog feces which I had a tendency to push around my plate because it smelled funny) and suddenly it was all change seemingly overnight. I became fussy in the extreme, lost my sense of culinary adventure, and flat refused to allow anything to pass my lips that hadn’t been provided a full background check in advance. My parents were puzzled in the extreme and feeding this particular baby bird became decidedly problematic. I was officially a food felon and there wasn’t a damn thing anyone could do about it.
Not that they didn’t try and often in a manner no less than underhand. Mashed potato was considered ritually pure and I started to find brussel sprouts cunningly concealed within its fluff in an attempt to stymie. Did this vile treachery work? Hell no, I’d wind up choking like one of Jeff Stryker’s co-stars as my throat had absolutely no intention of letting these green goblins pass. Still they persisted with their endeavors to pull the wool over my eyes and took advantage of the fact that roast potatoes were also regarded as up to snuff. It turns out that parsnips are little more than body doubles for scorched spuds when prepared correctly and, each time I lowered my guard, one or two would be dropped behind enemy lines and concealed cunningly in gravy. Once again, it all ended in tears, as there’s nothing less appealing to a table full of diners than one of their party engaging in a spot of impromptu gag reflex. Eventually they got the message but not before my illogical fear had intensified.
This continued until I was around twenty and, when the video store that I had worked part-time in since being arriving at the legal age of labor closed its shutters for the final time, I was left with no reliable source of income and needed to act fast. I was still in college education at the time so had no intention of discriminating as this would only be a means to an end for the few months until graduation. Thus I snapped up the very first job going and, lo-and-behold, it entailed single-handedly supervising the fresh produce department in a local supermarket. Now facing your demons is one thing but I had no recollection of signing any adoption papers and entered into my new role with no end of trepidation. The thing about vegetables is that, while they may appear inoffensive when displayed to their strengths, behind the scenes they’re a rancid bunch and I had unwittingly agreed to a back-stage pass to see them at their very worst.
Delving into crate after crate of Puerto Rican bananas was a perilous affair at best as oversized arachnids pay no mind whatsoever to immigration laws and think nothing of hitching a ride. But, just as I had expected, it was those jam-packed punnets of sweaty mushrooms that imparted the greatest quota of spontaneous revulsion as they were way past 24-hour antiperspirants and curiously resembled my very worst nightmare in such close quarters. Now I’m not afraid of a little elbow grease in the name of picking up that pay check but it wasn’t long before management took exception to the lack of mushrooms on display and the steadily swelling stockpile of neglected fungi in the stock room. I argued my case for mushroom-themed phobia and pleaded for a transfer to frozen goods but my application was swiftly declined and it was suggested instead that I “grow a pair”. And all this for little over minimum wage.
I weighed up my options and decided I would rather mug the elderly than put in another solitary shift at the supermarket. As if it wasn’t already demeaning enough having to wear a drab grey tunic, bow tie, and drain pipe trousers that barely made it past my calves, I was also expected to fraternize with my mortal enemy and it just wasn’t worth the trauma. Indeed, my already deep-rooted loathing for vegetables had now become all-out war and I swore to dedicate my entire future to bad-mouthing them. It wasn’t as though I had anything personal against aubergines, but I didn’t approve of the company they kept, so they were deemed wrong ‘uns too. Evidently I was never intended to be a herbivore and their loss became meat’s gain as I pledged my allegiance to a cause that seemed to make far more sense to me. Let’s not get it twisted, I’m more than happy not to view poultry before it has slipped off its negligee but, after sufficient preparation and seasoning by a well versed third-party, I’ll chow down until the cows come home, then devour them instead, as chicken is ever so faintly bland let’s be honest.
As for cheese, well anyone who knows me will be aware that nary a day passes when I don’t receive my fix of dairy. That said, it still has to be on my own terms. Extra mature cheddar is heavenly and I would snort that shit like Montana if I could slice it thinly enough. But anything with varicose veins can carry on festering for all I care as I refuse to nosh on anything with mould as its USP. I guess what I’m saying is that I’m the dude that detests jazz but happens to possess every last album by Miles Davis. It makes perfect sense to me as I still get that protein and piss of a thousand mice in the process as they have no idea how to access a refrigerator. Moreover, I hear that excessive cheese consumption prior to lights out can instigate all manner of outlandish nightmares and I’ll never turn my nose up at a good old-fashioned phantasm so how’s that for dual purpose? Hell, I’m even up for a dash of mozzarella even though it vaguely resembles donkey sperm. And I have pizza to thank for that one.
Get this, I was in my early twenties before I dared hit the hut, and still recall my very first chicken and pepperoni pizza. It was a bizarre experience as I pushed it around my plate with mild contempt, despite the fact that the flavor was somewhat moreish. However, the seed had been planted and, within no time, I ventured back for a rematch. This time the dread had all but subsided and I fast realized there had been nothing whatsoever to fear for all these years. Suddenly those vegetables started to perk up, likely anticipating some kind of truce, but I soon put them in their place by informing the chef that it was meat feast or bust and not a single red pepper was permitted to mingle. They may think they’re flying under the radar but I’ve got their number and a fully working cluster of taste buds to boot. Pick them off just before serving and I’ll know full well of the skullduggery and refuse point-blank to have a solitary slither of yo’ pizza. As for pineapple chunks, well that’s just fucking deranged. Don’t go misquoting me now; they ain’t all that sinister in the correct environment. But enemy lines are there for a reason dagnabbit and they have no place sneaking through the barricades.
Bread is a particular weakness of mine and I consume enough of this baker’s delight over an average seven-day period to construct an uncut loaf in my colon. In the UK we are particularly well catered for as bread tends to be a dense affair and second to none at clogging those arteries. The Europeans, on the other hand, prefer it riddled with potholes and it’s nigh-on impossible to butter something which consists of 80% ventilation. As for the toasted variety, bring it I say, but there are still certain stipulations that must be adhered to. Allow said toast to aerate for in excess of a maximum one minute before applying the butter and it’s back to the drawing board as far as I’m concerned. Unless I’m mistaken, butter works best when used as a spread, and this is unworkable without the correct body heat so to speak. I tell you it’s no picnic being a fully fledged finick and those opportunist ants must hate me for my no-show. So you can support and transport over 5,000 times your body mass, big sodding whoop. Since puberty came a knocking, I’ve relinquished 10,000 times my weight in ejaculate but you don’t see me oiling up my biceps and blowing kisses at the camera.
I feel that we’ve covered enough of the food groups for one day and don’t wish to provoke the dreaded acid reflux, so I think it’s high time we move onto the digestion. That said, there’s always space for afters right? I could be bulging like Donald Trump’s hate mail sack but still wouldn’t entertain saying no to a nice palate cleansing dessert for the road. It was once suggested that all 32 of my teeth are sweet and the fact that I now possess 31 speaks volumes for my love of all things confectionary. I may not have the appearance of Augustus Gloop but, make no mistake, I’m chubby on the inside and every bit as likely to end up shafted by Wonka. Chocolate can do no wrong, candy is dandy also, and I’m more than happy to risk it for a biscuit, so long as coconut doesn’t sneak into the ingredient list unannounced. Even here I have my limits and draw the line at banana splits as it’s hard to spot a tarantula in a whipped cream overcoat. But I’m pretty much a brazen harlot for anything else sugary and care not a jot for the repercussions of my gluttony.
Anyhoots, all this talk of cuisine has got me ravenous and I feel it is high time I raid the creamery and grab myself a nice hefty wedge of extra mature cheddar before they get ideas above their station and start injecting it with supposedly edible mildew. I’m certainly quirky when it comes to food and an absolute nightmare to feed unless you’re prepared to humor my multiple peculiarities. Vegetables are still no closer to breaking down my stubborn defenses and I’ll carry that grudge to the dumpster. They say the way to a man’s heart is through their stomach and it sure beats cracking those ribs unnecessarily. But just remember before you take it upon yourself to prepare me a meal, one wayward step and it’s straight to the sin bin with you dagnabbit. And don’t even think of coating mushrooms in praline as I can sniff those belligerent bastards out in a poker game fart cloud. Bon Appétit.