Breakfasts are the most important meals on a caving meet and I find the increasing trend towards the continental sort very worrying. It puzzles me how foreign cavers, notably the French, succeed in maintaining a reasonable degree of speleological success on such a puny breakfast.
The traditional English breakfast of good, thick, salty porridge followed by a big fry up with oodles of beans, washed down with a few cups of sweet tea and finished off with toast and marmalade, is increasingly being replaced by rather wimpish bowls of muesli or even cornflakes and in extreme cases just a cup of coffee. This can only have a bad effect on the day's caving.
The German idea of beer, buns, and sausage is mildly appealing but probably not very safe. One possible procedure is to take food underground, but apart from the odd Mars bar in the helmet, this is inconvenient; besides which, most British caves tend to have a rather destructive effect on food. I would like to make my contribution to this problem by suggesting a few recipes for caving breakfasts with a bit of body.
Ingredients per prospective victim: half an onion, 3 eggs, 8oz sausage meat, half a tin of baked beans.
This breakfast is so called from comments of onlookers at its preparation. It tastes much nicer than it sounds (or looks) however and is one of the few ways known to science to get a man with a hangover to eat half a pound of sausage meat, 3 eggs and half a tin of beans. It provides a quick and cheap way of having a really gross breakfast.
Chop the onion and fry until soft, then add the sausage meat, chopping it into small pieces. Whilst this is cooking break the eggs into a pint mug and stir them until fairly homogeneous. When the sausage meat looks cooked bung the egg in.
At this stage, people with really bad hangovers should avert their eyes as the frying pan will now look as though someone has thrown up in it. (But don't despair - the final result is worth the effort). Keep stirring the mixture until it looks about ready to solidify, then pat it into a cake and leave it to congeal over a low flame.
Heat up the beans - which are absolutely vital since they act as a lubricant for the dry lumps of UGH!!! as they slide down the throat - and when the UGH!!! appears to be solid, cut it into sections and serve with the beans on top.
In the final solidification stage push sliced tomatoes and mushrooms into the surface of the UGH!!! - This adds a touch of subtlety.
Ingredients to serve 4: 2 cups rice, 2 pints chicken stock, l0 oz smoked cod or haddock, 4oz butter, 4oz mushrooms, 2 eggs, seasoning.
This was one of the great British breakfasts which made the empire what it is today. It really needs preparing before the weekend and just warming up in the morning. As well as being convenient this also improves the flavour.
Hard boil the eggs, cool quickly and chop them up. Boil the rice in the chicken stock until soft (about 15 mins). Pour boiling water onto the smoked fish and leave for 10 minutes, then skin and bone the fish. Chop the mushrooms and fry in the butter in a saucepan. Add the cooked rice, fish, hard boiled eggs, salt and pepper. Heat for five minutes, stirring, and leave to cool.
When reheating, add a little milk.
These are almost totally impractical as a caving breakfast as they require very careful preparation. However, I am so impressed by their disgustingness I feel they should be included. They are an American dish, and if you succeed in eating them and keeping them down your fellow cavers should be really impressed.
The basic concept is simple. Roll cottage cheese in thin pancakes, and eat with strawberry jam, with sour cream and maple syrup on top. The taste is unusual, sickly, but not totally unpleasant.
The Crawling Gourmet (Doug Florence)