Our first home-cooked breakfast of 2015 consisted of organic free-range eggs cooked in imported Irish butter, ham flown in from Oklahoma, and tater tots.

Yep. Tater tots. Or, rather, their non-national-brand store equivalent. I suppose I’m committing the ultimate in gastronomic faux pas, but… such is life. I didn’t feel like frying potatoes.

This is the fun of eating at our house… Meals are an amalgamation of foods that work together because we say they do. It’s a bit of no-rules cookery. Like spreading homemade blueberry peach jam and imported Sicilian blood orange marmalade on store-bought toasted wheat bread. It works. Well, in fact.

The star of the meal, of course, was the ham. And boy, did it taste good wrapped in toast and dipped in runny egg yolks. When all of those flavors and textures get together… well… it’s one of life’s ultimate joys. Simple things can bring the biggest smiles – and a belch, if you eat it too fast!

Breakfast really is one of my favorite meals – and it is probably the messiest meal to cook. For me, anyway… It takes lots of pans to do it up right, not to mention the accoutrements… It’s also one of the most difficult to cook – as a cook. My time at the Old Post Office in Carnelian Bay on Tahoe’s North Shore taught me that one. Cooks have one definition of what something like an over-easy egg is – but the general public has a totally different idea. And don’t even get me started on bacon… There are just so many variables and so many personal ideas of what they all should be.

I quit that job on Mother’s Day, 1976. After we closed. I stuck it out, although I really wanted to walk early in the day. I still remember it almost 39 years later. It was not pretty.

Almost 39 years later, I get to cook breakfast the way I want to – and to mix tater tots with organic eggs and imported-from-Oklahoma ham, if I want to.

It’s fun being a rebel.