Five years ago, I took a business trip from New York over to Amsterdam down to Madrid, back up to London, down again to Paris, over to Karachi, and back home via Abu Dhabi, Tokyo, and Los Angeles. I arrived in Tokyo as puffy as mid-career Alec Baldwin, irritable and ready to throw my cell phone at someone. I launched into a day of meetings with Japanese publishers: miso soup for breakfast, OK! Chicken sushi for lunch, right on. Snacks and whiskey—yes, please.
If you’re prone to hitting the snooze button one too many times in the morning, one of the last things on your mind when you roll out of bed is eating something wholesome. That’s where breakfast hacks can come in handy. Between brushing your teeth and making sure your socks match, getting ready can be a mad dash even without worrying about food. But skipping breakfast, or your morning coffee, can be a surefire way to make yourself grumpy.
I could tell something was up by the way the other guests at the table were whispering, laughing a little, gesturing towards their plates. I was at my Irish cousin Aisling’s wedding in Killarney when we were served the packages of innocuous-looking filo dough. Wrapped up before me, in the misleading garb of baklava and spanikopita, was black pudding, a sausage made from oatmeal and blood.
Last month, when a spur-of-the-moment business trip to Israel fell into my lap, I tried to bone up on the country fast. Basic tenets of Judaism? Check. Bars that are open on the Sabbath? Check. I even parsed the Palestinian situation and was prepared to divert any uneasy conversations about a two-state solution into a lighthearted forum on who had the best hummus in Jerusalem. I was as prepared as any guy who’d spent a long plane ride thumbing through Lonely Planet could be.