What’s most fascinating is the way one person’s poison can be some else’s idea of heaven. It’s hard no to end up shouting at the television when someone dismisses all seafood and longs for tofu or couscous.
As you might guess from this column, my food-heaven list would fill a supermarket. Food hell is Brussel spouts and not much else and I’m even working on turning that around.
Like favourite films and music, favourite foods depend on lots of external factors. But when it comes to meals there is no doubt; for me breakfast reigns supreme.
When those regular surveys come out claiming lots of people skip breakfast I just smile and think, all the more for me. But beneath that there is a bewilderment as to why anyone would choose to miss the best meal of the day.
For a start, ignoring breakfast reflects a bold confidence there will be other good things to eat that day. Among us greedy humans, breakfast is a guarantee that, whatever else happens, the eating day is off to a good start.
Even the most organised are unlikely to get past porridge, cereal or toast on a weekday morn but weekends are when breakfast really comes into its own.
For me, Saturday is about pancakes or French toast while Sunday is big breakfast day. In the summer, a concession to the season might be scrambled eggs on toast but in the depths of winter it has to be bacon, eggs and more besides, served with lots of toast and strong coffee.
One of the joys of staying in a hotel is stretching the big breakfast into other days of the week. I can’t be bothered cleaning the grill pan on a Tuesday morning but luckily for me, the hotel breakfast chef can.
American hotels tend to be pretty good at the breakfast buffet with just the right mix of quality and quantity but star prize in my book goes to the Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky in Amsterdam. Served in the traditional grand dining room, it’s breakfast offering would have defeated Billy Bunter and all his classmates. I must be the only person to have left Amsterdam after an overdose of pastry.
But then, there’s no place like home. Especially when it comes to breakfast. We’re lucky to live in a country that does breakfast properly. Of course we are the home of porridge but Stornoway black pudding, butteries and heather honey all boost our credentials.
My first trip abroad as a child was to Spain and I can still remember eyeing the cheese and ham breakfast selection with suspicion. Never trust anyone who skips breakfast or chooses the continental selection. Follow that rule and you won’t go wrong.