2018 Primetime Emmy
& James Beard Award Winner

Drinking Wine for Breakfast and Other British Traditions

Drinking Wine for Breakfast and Other British Traditions

Port in Canada

It is cold, the rain is coming almost horizontal and I am driving through the place where telephone poles go to die.

They are stacked like log cabins left and right. Towering, rotting, wooden monuments to the telecom age.

Clunking through six-inch deep pot holes I come to my final destination, a small semi-circle of horse trailers and riders assembled in a filled-in gravel quarry. The riders are dressed in bright scarlet and khaki, the posh Canadian and British accents mingling with the sounds of horses and hounds. It looks as though they have been plucked from the pages of an old British fairy tale.

I have tracked down one of they only traditional fox hunting clubs in all of Canada, and before I can even begin to make small talk, let alone ask questions, a cheerful middle-aged women thrusts a plastic cup into my hands, its thick, purplish contents sloshing side to side.

For a split second I am disgusted with the thought of even a sip of port. It’s barely even 9:30 am, and I have next to no food in my stomach. For me, breakfast is big, traditional, full of carbs and fruit, and most definitely solid. This liquid breakfast that so many can indulge in and that so many of us greeted with enthusiasm Saturday mornings in university is something that has never, ever, been my thing.

But as with all moments like this, you don’t want to come across as anything but willing to join in, so I accept and take a sip. The faces around me give satisfied nods. As one rider chimes in with a smile, “it’s tradition.”

Well tradition be damned, I think to myself. It is foul, like too-sweet grape concentrate. I put on a brave face and chat away, digging into the odd, old world of the Fox Hunt. But really, for breakfast, I should have gone with the Scotch.

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