Breakfast Special: Conference Finals Preview and Breakfast Recipes

The conference finals start Sunday in the NBA, with the Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers tipping off a seven-game series as the Basketball Gods intended, even if the drama we anticipated before the season went up in a puff of injuries and placate-the-King trades midway through the season.

So we don’t get Kyrie Irving playing against his former team, nor do we get Isaiah Thomas playing against his. Nor do we get the frontcourt matchup for the ages we’d hoped to see from Gordon Hayward and LeBron James.

Nope. Instead, we get Gordon Who and Kyrie Who, aka Jayson Tatum and Terry Rozier, two guys who have been thrust into a role far greater than their experience—and in Rozier’s case, greater than any skill or potential he’d yet shown.

But they, and Jaylen Brown, and Average Al Horford, who was supposed to be the Chris Bosh character in this Big Three fandango, have Boston not just in the conference finals but there after leaving no doubt in the world that they deserve to be here after smacking the Sixers around like a piñata in five games, a series that would’ve been a sweep but for Tony Brothers and Scott Foster, who shouldn’t be allowed to ref games between eight-year-olds at the YMCA.

The Cavs will win this series in six games, but it will be a thrill ride every step of the way.

Hey Look, Scrambled Eggs!

With the way the French make scrambled eggs, I’ll pass in favor of the omelette du fromage, thanks.

I am American—Boston born, Reno educated, Seattle proud—and I don’t normally go in much for jingoism or “American exceptionalism.”

But there is one place I go full frontal patriot, and that’s in saying that an American greasy spoon diner makes the best damn scrambled eggs—and everything else you can eat for breakfast—in the entire world.

You could say that hipsters ruined bacon, and I suppose I just did, but there’s a reason stateside you-are-what-you-eat pigs hog out on the stuff. But we’ll get to meats in a bit.

We begin this video tour of the kitchen (what, you want highlights? There ain’t no games!) with Jamie Oliver showing off three scrambled egg styles…and saving the best for last. English, French, and American, learn the difference and how to cook them:

Pancakes to Remind Kyrie Irving of Earth

A pancake is, fundamentally, a flat muffin.

No, really. Think about it. Dry ingredient meets wet ingredient, chemistry happens, and if you overmix it, you have bread, not delicious cake-like consistency.

Not for nothing is this cooking method known as “the muffin method” by the professionals.

Now I’m going to link to a demonstration of how to make pancakes, and alert viewers will notice a couple of heresies here.

For one thing, I do not believe in the purported power of buttermilk. I’m from New England. To my Yankee sensibilities, buttermilk pancakes have a sourness to them that tastes like the milk went off before it was poured into the recipe.

Which, considering that buttermilk is made possible by acid (all your homemade buttermilk recipes on YouTube show the use of white vinegar), isn’t all that far off the mark.

The point is that I’m a believer in straight-up whole milk in with the eggs and the butter. It’s a milder flavor, but milder is what you want when you’re pouring a home mortgage’s worth of real maple syrup (or about forty cents’ worth of “maple-flavored” high fructose corn syrup because you’re on a writer’s income and that’s what cheap store-brand syrup costs) on top of it.

Buttermilk and maple syrup don’t like each other. They get along for the sake of the children. But they don’t like each other.

They’re basically the Shaquille O’Neal and Charles Barkley of breakfast.

Anyway, here’s how to make pancakes:

The Perfect Bacon Experience

Go ahead and ask five people the best way to cook bacon.

You’ll get five different answers.

And if you ask true bacon enthusiasts, you might get multiple answers and a “depends on what you use it for” from them.

Like me, for example.

On my breakfast plate, I like my bacon a bit chewy. Yes, there’s some crispy in there—I’m not advocating a bacon that’s limper than Michael Kidd-Gilchrist‘s jump shot. But I want some chew to contrast and provide a…well, how shall I say it, meaty…quality to it.

On a burger? That bacon’s gotta have crunch. No place for chewy because the meatiness is already covered by the beef. The bacon’s all about texture contrast, saltiness, and that distictly bacony goodness that makes a bacon cheeseburger such food of the gods.

But then again, perfectly crisp bacon at breakfast is the norm…and it’s easy to do:

Breakfast Curry

Stephen Curry‘s return powered the Warriors past the Pelicans in the second round, and any questions as to who the true heart and soul of Dub Nation truly is were resolved this season.

Kevin Durant is the mercenary. Draymond Green is the spark plug. Klay Thompson is the one-note song and role player.

Curry…he is the star. The star among stars.

Meanwhile, James Harden has such a nasty habit of disappearing in games, especially in the playoffs, that when he’s not being bailed out by the referees and given 15 free throw attempts, he’ll put up one of those stinker “12 points on 4-of-18 shooting” nights and turn the ball over six times.

That’s the Achilles heel of the Rockets. They have a great coach in Mike D’Antoni. They have a Hall of Fame lock in Chris Paul. They have an offense that’s designed and built to be the apex of what analytics can produce.

But at the end of the day, Golden State has two legit superstars, just like the Rockets, but they also have Green and Thompson, and that’s a decisive advantage.

They also move the ball well, often assisting on over 70 percent of their shots, and they have another gear they’ve shown during these playoffs; what’s more, the Warriors’ five-out style renders Clint Capela effectively useless to the Rockets, creating a huge matchup problem as the Warriors go small and run Capela, who can’t defend the perimeter, clean off the floor.

This matchup will be Dubs in six. They’ll win one in Houston then close out at home.

And to finish off this roundup of breakfast food, let’s leave the American diner table behind for a bit of breakfast curry:

Highlights resume Monday. Enjoy the downtime if you can, stay tuned, and thanks for reading!