Traveling by cruise ship reminds me a lot of the experiences described by Thomas Mann in Magic Mountain. Of course, the pleasant accommodations aboard Holland America's Zaandam bear minimal resemblance to the sanatorium described by Mann, but the passengers on that ship and the patients in Mann's hospital share the experience of passing the days in expectation of eating.
One day, we discovered the Zaandam's menu listed five "international" breakfasts. They all sounded interesting, so Carolyn and I and another friend decided to have all five.
In the picture, starting at 12 o' clock, and moving clockwise, our breakfasts were:
* Swedish (hardboiled egg, lox and herring)
* Japanese (miso soup, tamago and rice)
* German (eggs over Black Forest ham on a muffin with hash browns)
* British (eggs, kippered herring, onions and hash browns)
* Irish (eggs, bangers, beans and hash browns)
Clearly eggs and hash browns are the common denominator, but of all the breakfasts we had, I liked Japanese the best. Soup for breakfast is not uncommon in Asia (in Vietnam, they have pho), and the tamago (the soft egg-based shapes you sometimes see on sushi plates) were a pleasant way to enjoy eggs (which seem inevitable everywhere).
Recently, I explained to my friend Juan Cabral that I was not a glutton, someone who "eats to capacity" at every meal. This breakfast would seem to belie my denial.
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