The Breakfast-for-Dinner Diaries

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I had a midnight breakfast once, at the student union when I was in college. It was great because I was with Kevin, this guy I was completely in love with. Even though he was gay. We didn’t know anyone there, but the place was packed with freshmen because the food was free. The eggs were gross and powdered. The sausage was warmed-over. I didn’t know what Kevin thought of me or my weird plan to hang out. He never talked much. He was so nervous. It felt like a conspiracy, or a joke.

So here we are: getting breakfast at midnight. Neither of us is hungry. Kevin will never like me the way I want him to. There he is, pushing eggs around his plate, laughing at them. They look like they’re made of plastic. —Margaret Reges


Most New York diners serve breakfast all day. If they don’t, I don’t eat there. I used to say that my favorite food was a really good steak or pesto pasta with chicken and sun-dried tomatoes, but no, it’s scrambled eggs. It always has been. That’s not the real reason I eat breakfast for dinner at diners, though. New York diners have these ridiculous 12-page, 18-inch-tall menus filled with grilled swordfish, lobster, strip steak, and all this other expensive bullshit that no one in their right mind would buy at a diner: It’s a diner. Eggs and potatoes and toast and coffee: $6. It’s just a bonus that this is also the best meal on the menu.

Also, I keep a box of Cheerios and a half-gallon of milk in my kitchen at all times. I am a 26-year-old male living alone. That is one hell of a healthy dinner in my book. —Karl Sturk


Once my neighbors had a “backwards day” where they had lasagna for breakfast and pancakes for dinner. They wore their clothes backwards and tried to talk backwards, too. I would have killed one of my sisters to be able to go over there and eat pancakes for dinner, but my parents always thought the neighbors were crazy. Later, I would find that they were right. —Sarah Sala


Breakfast in my family was a weekend ritual. My parents were never big mealtime talkers, so though we all had to be at the table at once, we all did our own thing: They had two copies of the Times crossword that they did side-by-side; I usually had a book; and my sisters would talk to each other or do homework. I loved that separate-yet-together time—the warmth of being surrounded by people I love.

Two years ago, my youngest sister got on a big breakfast-for-dinner kick. She’d come home from school every day and make herself an egg, cheese, and English muffin sandwich in the oven.

Now I’m on the same kick. I’ve been missing her a lot, and it reminds me of her and the rest of the family. Breakfast, more than other meals, reminds me of home and warmth and togetherness and support. —Jill Dembowski


I wasn’t seeing much of my good friend Dayna, but one gentle evening she happened by, and she, my boyfriend, and I cooked a feast of toast, bacon, sausage, eggs, pancakes, orange juice, and milk. The sky was just thinking about sundown and there was a late-summer breeze blowing through the screen door. We ate, we laughed, we lingered at the table, and just as we were finally clearing, I heard a car door slam in our driveway.

My mother and aunt were outside examining my begonias. On their way home to another town, they had thought to stop by. We left the doors open, talking and laughing and enjoying the air. With the summer warmth and the good energy of our unexpected meeting and the sun going red at the horizon, I found myself imagining we had eaten breakfast not for dinner, but in the morning—all our happiness and ease was beginning a new day. —Rebecca Virginia Lee Adams

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