What is the opposite of a hoarder? Thesaurus.com says it is a spender, waster or wastrel (what?). That can’t be right. Just because we don’t like too much stuff we’re spenders? Isn’t that how we got in trouble in the first place? I think that we need a word that says when we look around we want to see everything in its place. No decorative plates. No junk drawers. No piles of “stuff”. How about a clearer-outer? A giver-awayer? A maker-doer-withouter? Isn’t it unfair that we need two words and a hyphen to be the opposite of an accumulator? Does anyone else see the irony there?
Anyway, whatever it is, that is what I am. For instance, I operate a strict one-in-one-out policy in my closet (not for shoes, don’t be ridiculous), I donate kids clothes, pulp fiction and even cookware if I haven’t used it for a year. Cake pop molds? Outta here. Whole fish poaching pan? See you later. John Grisham novels? Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.
Here is where it falls down, though, and where I sympathize with those crazy people living under piles of newspapers and old cars (you know who you are): I can’t go to the grocery store without bringing home a half-pint container of large dark chocolate buttons for baking, a can of chipotle peppers and a pack of bacon. With those things I can conquer all. Dessert? No problem. Brownies, cookies, a cake maybe? Whatever you want. I’m on it with those chocolate pieces. A side dish? How about black beans? Chipotle peppers are my secret ingredient. And a main course? ANSWER: BACON. What was the question?
My bacon, ahem, obsession was vindicated one day in London, working out what time we needed to leave home the next morning in order to make it to Heathrow for a 5am flight. Now let me digress for a second: I don’t know if you have kids but if you do then you know leaving home at 5am is zero fun. You, the responsible adult (when did that happen?) have to wake up at 4am – and that is only if you don’t have to shower. You then have 30 minutes to get yourself ready and all bags zipped up and by the door before you unleash the madness that is children. At 4:30am you wake the kids up: Brush teeth and hair, put on the clothes that are neatly stacked in the bathroom waiting for them, make their beds as soon as they exit them. Backpacks are packed and by the door. No you can’t play on your ipad now. Yes you have to wear that sweater. No those shoes are NOT too small for you today because they fit perfectly yesterday.
And even if you are successful and they are all brushed, bathroomed, dressed and by the door in 15 minutes where they are instructed to sit near (but not touching) one another and wait while you do a final comb through of the house salvaging security blankets, shoes and your phone charger, you still have to feed them. And quickly.
So how about if, at 5:00am, you can shoot out of the door grabbing a small bag already packed with a perfectly balanced breakfast for the kids (and you) to enjoy in the car, train or taxi as you shoot across town thinking only this: Keys, phone, wallet, passport count’em: 1, 2, 3 children. Okay. Everything else we can deal with when we get there.
It was out of this necessity that the Breakfast BLT was born. Midnight before that early morning wake up found me trying to evenly divide a stale granola bar and box of sticky raisins for breakfast when the thought occurred: Of course I’d have bacon on hand (you read the intro, right?) I happened to have a head of lettuce, a few forgotten tomatoes and loaf of bread headed for the freezer when it dawned on me. A BLT represents vegetables (lettuce), fruit (tomato), grain (whole wheat bread), protein (tasty pig parts). If I threw in a few pieces of cheese or a small milk box I’d even get a fist bump from the First Lady. I just needed to figure out how to make it in advance but not leave us with cold soggy sandwiches, making our departure ambitious AND miserable.
I worked through it and the next morning, at 5:05am, while we were tucked in tight in the back seat of a London black cab barely talking speeding along the dark empty streets and eating our perfectly tasty BLTs the early wake up seemed less chaotic than we thought it would be and we could focus on more important things. Like whether we remembered to lock the front door.
- 1 lb (1/2 kilo) "Streaky Bacon" (or just "Bacon" as we call it in the US)
- 2 juicy medium to large tomatoes
- 1 head of lettuce
- 6 slices of whole wheat bread
- 4 disposable plastic sandwhich bags
- 6 paper towels
- The night before departure:
- 1. Cook bacon
- Turn oven onto 350° F / 167° C. Place bacon, separated into strips onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes or so (no need to let the oven preheat) to your desired level of crispiness. Remove, let drain on paper towels, cool, and place in the refrigerator on a plate covered with a papertowel.
- 2. Wash and dry lettuce, wrap loosely in paper towels or place in a ziploc bag left open overnight
- 3. Slice tomatoes, place on a plate covered with cling film in the refrigerator overnight.
- 4. Set out 6 folder paper towels and 4 ziploc bags with names written on them.
- The morning of departure:
- 1. Very lightly toast 6 slices of whole wheat bread and dress lightly with mayonnaise and mustard.
- 2. Microwave bacon for 30 seconds. Add to bread along with lettuce and tomatoes.
- 3. Cut each sandwich in half and wrap each half in a folded paper towel
- 4. Place in ziploc bag.
- 5. Frantically wake up the kids, usher everyone out of the house, get in a taxi and, very neatly, have your very tasty breakfast during the 45 minute journey to the airport. Clean the taxi when you get out.
- Voila! You're an international traveller!
- Don't overfill the kids sandwiches.
- Up to six-years-old a half of a sandwich is plenty for breakfast.