ERROL CASTENS: Guys’ breakfast: Just the basics, ma’am



It was my turn to make breakfast for the weekly men’s Bible study at church. I asked my wife what ingredients we already had toward our favorite crockpot breakfast casserole recipe.

Sue came close to blasphemy, right then and there.

“Why don’t you make something different this time?” she suggested. “Don’t the guys get tired of eating the same old thing?”

Boy, do opposites ever attract.

Breakfast, within rarely spoken but well-understood parameters, gets only peripheral attention before Friday morning Bible study.

Caffeine is commanded, and meat is mandatory. Eggs are encouraged in any form but poached.

Permissible vegetables are peppers, potatoes, onions and hot sauce.

Fruit? Sometimes there’s grape jelly. Bananas showed up once and were afraid to come back.

It would never occur to us that repeats of the same dish every few weeks would be tiresome. Admittedly, several in the cooking rotation usually bring an overnight casserole, but pancakes, bacon or sausage, scrambled eggs, cathead biscuits and cheese grits are just as likely, along with the occasional bagful of breakfast burritos.

The few conversations about recipes center on how many jalapenos and fistfuls of shredded cheese went into something.

After enduring this explanation, Sue wondered aloud about how the food is presented for the men. She was aghast to find that nobody wraps napkins around silverware and ties them with a ribbon: Plastic forks are emptied into a basket, and a roll of paper towels stands on the counter. If the casserole proves crunchy, we’ll break out the plastic knives for those who don’t carry a Case, Gerber or Buck.

On Friday mornings, we guys gather in the hall and, after somebody prays over the souls present and the victuals proffered, we eat whatever is shoved across the counter from the kitchen.

We stand around in clumps, look each other in the eye, thump each other in the chest or pat each other on the back, as needed. In the spirit of not offending our weaker brother, we silence our sarcastic thoughts about the guys who simply must have hazelnut creamer.

We drink coffee, swap stories, solve the world’s problems and sometimes admit and commiserate about rough spots in our respective roads. When 6:30 (OK, 6:40) comes around, we break into smaller groups to pray and discuss the chapters we’ve read collectively that week.

Friday morning Bible study breakfast is not quite as rustic as deer camp and not nearly as cute as a ladies’ brunch. But between eggs and Ezekiel and coffee and Colossians, we keep coming back, week after month after year, to get fed.

Errol Castens is a Daily Journal reporter based in Oxford. Contact him at or (662) 816-1282.

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    Growing up in MS, I completely respect and relate to this sentiment. Sadly, this style of rigidity to food items tends to extend beyond the confines of a men’s Bible study breakfast. Grown men from around the world enjoy and relish all manner of culture bringing joy and enrichment to their and their family’s life. Open your mind.