Merits of a Companionable Silence

Dish 68: Bacon Stack at Ants Pants Café, 22nd and South, http://www.antspantscafe.com/

I was sitting next to Alec Baldwin’s thinner version at Ants Pants Café the other day. We didn’t talk or anything, just amiable, companionable silence as he read his paper and I ate a massive bacon stack: four crispy slices of bacon on a thick, well-toasted, well-buttered slice of country white bread, green sprouties, succulent tomato, and the mother of all eggs, sunny side up.

Drooling is expected.

He paid no notice as I surreptitiously took a dozen pictures of the stack from different angles, set the camera down, and absently, joyously, ate. Salty. Juicy. Rich, as I read the Australian fun facts in the menu. [Not included: Mines, which account for 15% of GDP, occupy .02% of Australia’s land mass. Pubs occupy more.] Crunchy, as “All Shook Up” played distantly on the speakers. Hearty, as two tittering women sat down a table away, disrupting our Zen rock garden with its peaceful four-tined rakes and smiling, tattooed attendants.

The bacon stack floated weightlessly into my stomach like Cottonelle puppies frolicking, carefree, and I couldn’t suppress that contented glow of a young American gorging on Australian exports—Ugg boots, cheap shiraz, koalas, Baz Luhrman films, Ants Pants—call it what you will, but the radiance was undeniable; and as Mr. Baldwin and I stood in line to pay, exchanging pleasantries like old neighbors, to the envy of those still waiting to eat, the camaraderie of silently sharing a home cooked breakfast was tangible. It is the same whether Mom is cooking or Ants Pants is in the kitchen, the fraternity is there—Ants Pants may even accommodate those who desire Mickey Mouse pancakes. But I think they would draw the line when it comes to wearing your down comforter into the kitchen like a human burrito. Still, doesn’t mean I can’t try.

Author demonstrates proper execution of down comforter burrito. Notice the careful tuck and possessive grip on breakfast foods.

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