The world offers a great many possibilities for breakfast between, as Tony Hancock once put it, a quick lick around a damp cup, and the Full English, and I have spent a lifetime sampling them.
Ideally they should all include bacon but other nations think differently.
In Catalonia, in place of the typical Spanish hot chocolate and sugary churros, I was given a slice of bread, a clove of garlic and a cut tomato. You rubbed the bread with the garlic and crushed on the tomato. It was bruschetta-lite.
I spent the rest of the morning trying hard not to breathe over anyone.
There was a lot of garlic and chilli in the Mexican breakfast of huevos rancheros I scoffed in Texas, fried eggs with a tomato-chilli salsa and refried beans.
Boy, did they keep reminding me I’d eaten them throughout the day.
Later, as I burped my way around the Alamo, I realised the Mexicans had won again.
In a Dallas hotel I was shown through to the air conditioned breakfast room by a bell hop dressed like a cast member from The Chocolate Soldier – gaudy uniform and epaulettes like pelmets - and sat down with excitement to hominy grits.
I’d always wanted to try this Southern speciality of ground corn but the mush in my dish looked and tasted like lumpy wallpaper paste: a crashing disappointment.
In Norway there was pickled and smoked fish any way you could think of (and some you wouldn’t) and I loved every mouthful, although I regret passing on the whale meat.
On a coffee plantation in Kerala, India, the owners greeted me with cornflakes, toast and Hartley’s jam. “Is this what you eat, then?” I asked, baffled.
“No but we thought you did,” they said. The next morning I shared their breakfast of cold curry and curried eggs and yearned for toast.
In a tent in the Jordanian desert breakfast was flat bread dipped in olive oil and sprinkled with za’atar, a mix of sesame, thyme and salt, with olives and hard boiled eggs to follow. No chance of bacon there.
A Sheffield hotel once trumpeted its new veggie breakfast and I was sent to try it. The centrepiece was a rusk-like confection made with beans and what seemed like compressed sawdust and husks. I knew exactly where it was inside me for hours.
But we can’t always pig it. I’ve enjoyed kippers eaten within sniffing distance from where they were smoked in Seahouses, Northumberland; warm croissants with fig jam in France; sticky pastries with coffee in Vienna and delicious yoghurt and fruit on a Greek island and I’m always partial to a good Continental breakfast abroad with meat and cheese.
Nearer home, bed and breakfasting down the west coast of Ireland, every landlady insisted on serving me the Full Irish.
This was identical to the Full English except the black pudding was replaced by white pudding although sometimes I got both.
Such is my love of bacon, eggs and fried slice that we once booked a holiday so we could say we’d had a great fry up in Great Fryup, a Yorkshire dale near Whitby.
I’m always on the lookout for something new.
Made by Jonty, a smashing little gastro-café (there is no other word) on Sharrowvale Road, Hunter’s Bar, Sheffield, has an enterprising all-day breakfast menu.
As well as the Full English and vegetarian fry-up (with Linda McCartney sausages) it has that eggy Holy Trinity – Eggs Benedict, Florentine and Royale – plus a few unusual items.
So it might be the Green Egg Omelette, with avocado and mozzarella, other times the Breakfast Burrito, with bacon, eggs, cheese, hash browns, salsa and guacamole.
Both are pretty big in San Diego which is where chef-patron Jonty Cork picked up the idea.
I call it a gastro-café because it’s a cut above your average beans on toast or bacon butty sort of place although you can order those as well. And boiled egg and soldiers.
While the breakfasts last all day there are also posher dishes such as chickpea, courgette and cauliflower salad, tuna and goat’s cheese melt or steak and chips with watercress and beer battered onion rings.
I order the breakfast burrito (£7.50) because I want to remember the Alamo and, sure enough, the salsa has a bit of a kick but not enough for me so I squirt on some Flying Goose brand Sriracha Thai hot chilli sauce (see, it’s posh).
The burrito is a flour tortilla filled with bacon in strips, scrambled egg, hash browns in snips, grated cheddar with that salsa and a good, grainy guacamole on the side.
It has been cut in half and served artfully on the plate.
This all tastes as good as it sounds and I can see that if I were a Californian this would be my Full American.
My wife has a daintier breakfast of Eggs Royale (£6), two perfectly poached eggs on a split muffin with smoked salmon and hollandaise sauce, and waiter Ollie sweet talks her into having some hash browns (£1) on the side. With a fruit juice (£1.20) and two Americanos (£2 each) our breakfast costs £19.70 and sets us up for the day.
So much better than a bowl of cornflakes.
Made by Jonty, 363 Sharrow Vale Rd, Sheffield, South Yorkshire S11 8ZG. Tel: 07803 082 48807803 082 488. Open Mon-Fri 8am-5pm, Sat 9am-5pm. Credit cards. Vegetarian dishes. Children’s meals. Street parking.