I had an early lesson this morning – early for me, anyway. One of my students asked if we could reschedule for 0830, for our two-hour tutorial. In recompense, she would bring me breakfast. She had a deal.
I anticipated a pain au chocolat from Costa or something similar, and there would have been nothing wrong with that. But what I got was far nicer: two varieties of steamed dumplings, one pork and the other shrimp, prepared fresh at home and served with a spicy soy sauce. And coffee.
They were delicious, and also restorative. My jet lag is in its last fitful but vicious state, and this morning I was having difficulty establish a centre of gravity; but the dumpings provided substantial ballast.
A working breakfast is a curious idea, since breakfast is where you usually start to clear your head for the day, and by implication at a working breakfast you must start work without having done so. And a language-lesson breakfast is a different challenge, since both student and teacher have their mouths full, and not much can get done for several minutes. But as I have said before, there is always merit to introducing something real to a language classroom, which is by definition an artificial environment.
So we talked about dumplings (not a traditional breakfast food in China, as it happens – an error, I think, since they have about them something of the pork sausage); we talked about cooking techniques (frying versus deep-frying versus stir-frying). And we talked about breakfast in general. And above all else, it got both teacher and student in fighting trim.