Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Post-apocalyptic breakfast

When doing book reviews, I always make note at the end with regards to the "realism" of the book.  I used to refer to it as grittiness, but realized that some novels that were otherwise pretty unbelievable, certainly could be called "gritty".

The general point is to take into account how much the novel actual worries about day-to-day survival or life patterns in a world that is greatly changed.

Well obviously, in a lot of post-apocalyptic settings, people are going to be starving.  But not in all, some folks are better prepared, and other stories take place long enough after the initial collapse, that there has been a bit of a recovery.

One item, I never gave much thought to was people's eating patterns.  For instance, will people eat breakfast?  I would have thought so, but apparently they didn't use to:

Ian Mortimer on Life in the Tudor Era
Five Books Interviews, 21 March 2013
Did people not have breakfast in Tudor times?
Before about 1600 people tended not to eat breakfast. It’s in the last decades of the 16th century that breakfast became habitual. In the Middle Ages you would eat breakfast if you were going on a long journey and therefore getting up early, or if you were a worker working in a field, on a harvest day, which might be a 16 or 18 hour long working day. But on the whole most people didn’t eat breakfast. They had dinner in the late morning and then supper in the mid-to late afternoon. Those were the two meals of the day. There were a few exceptions – aristocratic families who started having ceremonial breakfasts in the 16th century and if you were ill you might have breakfast as well.
But in the 16th century all the times started to get shifted around, because people increasingly worked for other people, rather than sorting out their own times of working during the day. Therefore they have to stay at work till much later, so they can’t have supper till much later, so they start eating lunch instead of dinner in the late morning and they have to have breakfast before they start. So there is a shift to a three meal pattern.
So presuming there has been a major break with today's lifestyle, it is very possible we won't be eating breakfast.


PioneerPreppy said...

My grandparents all pretty much got up and got some work done for a few hours before eating anything and if left to my own devices I do the same thing. Then again the thought of food makes me ill for about the first two hours or so after I wake up anyway.

Yet I remember back in the 60's as a small child during harvest time it was the same as all the men would work for a few hours then come back in to eat. So your observation/premise makes sense to me.

kymber said...

if jambaloney gets up before me, he heads out and starts doing chores and whatnot. but if we get up together, or i get up before him, i always insist that we have a little something for breakfast...some sauteed carrots, beans, peas and swiss chard or some yoghurt. but there are times when we get up and we are both hungry - that's when the eggs, potatoes, beans and bacon comes out.

i think that in a collapse situation, i think it will depend on how much food you have stored and how much work you have to do that day.

interesting post, Russell. your friend,

russell1200 said...

Pioneer: People also used to accept the practice of getting up for a few hours in the middle of the night before going back to sleep. They had a word for it (that I cannot recall), and the accepted practice seems to again have dead out in the middle ages before there was less time allotted to sleep in the winter.

Kymber: I am annoyed with you. I heard there was a battle going on somewhere (with a different PP than the one above) and I wasn't invited. I saw part of it at Steve's, but never saw the comments related to you. Some odd people out there. I sort of felt sorry for the Rat because he clearly has "issues" and is not the sort of person that needs to be in those situations.

If you were the person making the breakfast (based on the food photos) the practice would have started earlier.

James M Dakin said...

Don't the French still kinda practice no breakfast? Croissants and coffee is just to get them to a big meal later.

kymber said...

Russell - there was an idiotic battle and hopefully it is over now! the other PP, as our friend Matt so eloquently put it was just acting as Lottajoy/Dana's "little dog". i feel sorry for Rat, too, but he really went on the attack at some of my friends...but i understand and hurt that he has those issues. i tried to be his friend...i tried to be LJ and the other PP's friends.

Russell...there are some people out there on the interwebs who just want to be miserable..and they want everyone else to be miserable. i call them the walking dead.

keep up the great posts buddy. nobody posts about the stuff that you post about. nobody. which is why i always love to check in here.

your friend,

russell1200 said...

James: good point. I hadn't realized you were so up on French culture.

Kymber: Some people only want friendship on their terms. Others don't have a coherent mental structure - most of us go on the fritz from time to time, but with them, that is their permanent mode. And of course, those two traits can be combined.