What we eat is compatible with what we read and listen to, how we dress, where we move and go out, and recently – with what media we consume.

 Voja Zanetic

Breakfast food is the best food and the best breakfast is hotel breakfast.

Back in the day, when there was more time and more money, I used to pay ridiculous amounts for a luxury hotel breakfast in my city, only a  few kilometers from my own kitchen, refrigerator and stove. With the largest plate in my hand, I visited the buffet tables, filled with delights, several times. I’m now getting hungry writing this.

Most of all, I enjoyed my encounters with the chef who prepared scrambled eggs and poached eggs. It was almost a sort of duel. ‘Would you like me to add…’ – he’d ask, with the idea and hope that his offer would beat my greed. ‘Put it on, feel free. Oh, and add…’ – I’d say out of spite, aware that I would have to invoke the Mother’s ancient order from the depths of my subconscious. ‘You have to finish everything on your plate, nothing is getting thrown away!”

So what do I like to eat? Everything, just as long as I can choose. And as long as it’s bottomless.

* * * * *

A lesson hidden within the above lines is partly that food is also a status symbol, although it is basically a political issue. People need something to eat  – that’s politics. And when it comes to who eats what – that’s a question of status and class differences. Oh and: when we eat and what we don’t eat, that’s either a religion or a diet regime. In the meantime, food has become a kind of an additional cultural landmark and destination: what we eat is compatible with what we read and listen to, how we dress, where we move and go out, and recently – with what media we consume. Chefs have been transformed into pop stars here and there, nutritionists have mingled with life coaches, food and drink connoisseurs have formed a new elite within the uneducated new elite. Food has therefore become a genre of our media and social life.

And all that would have been fine if life – the ordinary, banal side of it – had not decided to fight back. I guess it got tired of the notion that food should be part of a lifestyle, if not the lifestyle itself. So it struck, with all his might.

* * * * *

In the shops within our closest vicinity, the price of a kilogram of beef has jumped to around 8.5 euros and it’s preparing to raise the ladder and achieve new records. On agricultural exchanges – there’s been an eruption of a price volcano. Soybeans are 75 percent more expensive than last year, corn 56 percent and some… Edible oil has already become a paradigm for absurd prices, and a joking individual on social media suggests that currency value should be tied to canned tuna pricing, because otherwise it no longer makes sense. The food we are talking about here is not only more expensive, but it also intersects with the most modern crisis that has honoured us with its presence – the breakdown of supply chains. Essentially, it can happen that we will only eat what we can pay for, provided that it reaches us at all. And when it comes to which (non-electric, it seems) energy source we will use to prepare it, that’s…

The conclusion from the initial story about hotel breakfast is thus becoming increasingly problematic: we won’t be able to choose – there will be shortages, and it will be expensive. And food, something we intake in our stomachs, will probably be a good reason to reconsider all our other ‘consumption’. What else do we put into our heads, our wallets, our society, the economy, the civilization we live in… and we have come to the conclusion that the question of ‘what we eat’ may soon have to be reformulated into ‘do we eat at all?’. And the very possibility of an answer to this question makes me hungry again.

I have to have that hotel breakfast again – as soon as possible, while they still serve it at all.

Scrambled eggs or poached?

I don’t mind.