Some of the best breakfasts I have had have been in Germany. Morning after morning, I would get up in different hotels, wash, shave, go down to the dining room, pick up an international Herald Tribune, and face a table laden with break fast food.
There would be fruit juices and fruits, several types of breads, including the German black breads, youghurts (flavoured and plain), creams, cheeses, jams, porridge, pasteurised milk, tea, coffee, eggs, and of course, German sausages.
I remember having breakfast in Bonn, the dining room overlooking the Rhine, grey in the winter mornings, the trees along its banks leafless, gnarled barren branches clawing the skies. All over Europe you see these leafless trees in the winter, rows of them with claws striking out, like a row of old witches. Winter scenes are not always soft white and like X'mas cards, they can be stark.
The same breakfast was repeated in Heidelberg in an ancient wooden hotel with creaking doors, dark corners and ancient furniture, an atmosphere much admired by American tourists, I admired it also. All of Heidelberg is like an illustration from a book of fairy-tales, the river tumbling through the town, the narrow paved streets, the wine bars, the castle looking down on the town.
In America, breakfasts were much more streamlined. It is a city where you become aware that fast food is functional, not a luxury for rich people's children as in Bombay and Delhi.
In Washington, near Lafayette Park, there was an Italian fast food, where every morning I would pour out my strong roasted American coffee from a cistern into a tall paper cup, pick sweet doughnuts with crystallised sugar, order eggs, easy over (I have still not understand what easy over exactly means), from a large bottle on the table, sprinkle a lot of garlic powder on the eggs.
In other cities it was even faster at the chain of MacDonalds and other fast-foods. I would stand in one of the queues, give my orders when my turn came, and before I had time to take out the unfamiliar American money, my tray would be loaded and my bill (check) tapped out on the calculator.
The English are known for their proper breakfasts. Unfortunately, that must be in country homes, where I have never been invited. My breakfasts at various restaurants, invariably run by non-English, were mainly fried eggs, bacon, beans in tomato sauce.
In France, the breakfasts have been more frugal. The hotels would send up to the room, coffee with a lot of muilk in it, croissant, a pad of butter and jam. And the hotelkeeper will tell you the world. Which, I am afraid, is one more myth about French cuisine.
Back in Bombay, my breakfasts are hardly worth writing about. But that may be because I always have my breakfasts at home, not in a hotel.