Breakfast at Trauma Farm

Breakfast in this “Rebel History of Rural Life” must surely deliver a little more terror than flavour with one’s morning oats. Trauma Farm is Brian Brett’s memoir and natural history of his family’s small mixed farm on Salt Spring Island, British Columbia. There aren’t so much recipes as descriptions of robust, farm-sourced meals. “Bitter salad” for lunch: shallots, Tosca or frisée, misuna and radicchio with raked salt, pepper and vinaigrette. Pig on a spit for dinner (for 150 people). But you have come here for the breakfast and this one is going to be served late. Only after a few hours of labour can one really enjoy the morning meal, advises Brett. Given the contents of his simple Western-style breakfast – homemade bacon, homemade whole wheat or rye bread (still warm) with butter and handmade jams (particularly marmalade), spiced Yukon Gold potatoes and tomatoes and soft boiled eggs – I too would advise you to milk some cows and release some chickens beforehand lest ye over stuff yourselves.

bacon, tomatoes, bread, eggs, potatoes

raw ingredients



simple Western-style breakfast

Toast and Jam



Brett, Brian. Trauma Farm: A Rebel History of Rural Life. Vancouver: Greystone Books, 2009. Print.

Photos and Text by Alexia Moyer


Pain au Chocolat

All breads are not created equal.

How can one compare a slice of industrially produced bread to pain au chocolat, and the breakfast-related insights that arise?

For Ontario poet Bruce Meyer, the mysterious layers of pain au chocolat elevate breakfast in ways similar to the egg-inspired writings of Gwendolyn MacEwen, Margaret Atwood, and Susan Musgrave.  The synopsis of Meyer’s A Book of Bread entices readers with “the language of loaves” and the “banquet that is our lives, loves, joys, and fears.” The poems explore the diverse forms, contexts, and meanings of bread, from Eve’s Bread Pudding in the poem “Toronto Women’s Cookbook, 1873” to “Lammas Bannock” and “Focaccia.”

For breakfast, there is “Pain au Chocolat”— a chocolate croissant, a cup of coffee for dipping, and a lover’s good-morning kiss. In this poem, the speaker disparages living in a time of miracles compared to living in a time of wonderment informed by love.

Despite the “melee” of the world, “Pain au Chocolat” offers a vision of hope. Loss is an inextricable part of life,  yet love offers a sense of transcendence. This abiding sentiment is reflected in an unexpected place— inside the pain au chocolat, where “the hunger of an oven’s heat” melds but does not destroy the chocolate, just as the croissant layers detach, but still rise together (122-123).

Meyer, Bruce. “Pain au Chocolat.” A Book of Bread: Poems. Holstein: Exile Editions, 2011. 122-123.

Text and Photo Credits: Shelley Boyd