The maestro cook holds court with his sous chef as they move like synchronized dancers in the small kitchen of the Home Made Cafe in Berkeley.
His theatre in the cafe contains a community filled with diverse and unpretentious minds. He looks at the song choices he has on the grill and smiles.
The audience feels like they are about to taste a grand symphony of culinary delights that he is continually composing.
He flips the home fries that are crisp on the outside, and delicate on the inside. I will soon feel the dancing edible notes in my stomach.
I imagine tasting the potatoes with a vegetable salsa that will attack each and every sense I have.
Everyone smiles as they see the conductor’s assistant peek out the side door and give one of the patron’s dogs a small piece of turkey and a full bowl of water.
The maestro begins to make an Egg Benjamin with salmon, eggs and then drips it with thick Hollandaise sauce.
He then pours the airy pancake batter on the grill and drops the fresh plump blueberries in them like staccatos.
I smell the warmth and see him heat up Log Cabin syrup to go on the side of the Blueberry pancakes.
Smelling the baking coffee cake that has scents of cinnamon, I wonder how many pieces of ripe pear he has put into the elusive Ginger-Pear Muffins.
The concert hall is packed, with people sharing tables waiting to taste his song choices. Now he has placed slices of cinnamon-swirl French toast on the griddle next to the bubbling pancakes.
My mind feels like I can take no more. I stand up and shout, “Bravo” and the concert has not even been served to me yet.
An interlude begins as he places thick slices of bacon next to home fries and he turns them almost magically with his conductor’s baton until they are golden brown.
The chorus begins with the voices of elbow to elbow strangers, waitresses and cooks with lots of tattoos. The patrons in the communal booths join in and suddenly it almost becomes the Mormon Tabernacle Choir of coffee shops.
The spinach, mushroom and feta cheese omelet I ordered is set down in front of me. I too am drowning in choruses of tart and sweet as I place dollops of homemade raspberry jam on the side of my plate.
I see my companion enjoying mounds of sour cream on his home fries as he bites down into his Huevos Rancheros. The conductor has now taken him on a journey to the south and he is hearing echoes of a mariachi band with a side of black beans.
Pecan waffle mixture is now oozing out of a waffle maker while chicken apple sausages now partake in the chorus. Fresh fruit bowls are being made with precision to join the last act.
As I continue to eat I now have arrived in musical heaven. His food opera has finally taken me over and has possessed me forever.
His patrons clap for an encore while he bows. People stand next to the coffee pot where the audience pours endless amounts in their cups.
The theatre where he has composed these delights is actually a 4×6 galley with maybe 5 burners on a stove and a hotplate.
It is hard to not to appreciate and fawn over the Maestro’s endless edible songs that he has created.
He has simply called his symphony “The American Breakfast”.
Text and Images- Linda Seccaspina 2010
I wrote another Breakfast post way back in May on another establishment. I love Breakfast!