Welcome to Extra Crispy. Through bloody marys, sweat, and beers, our editors, writers, designers, and developers have worked hard to create a place where food looks good and feels accessible. We’ll be exploring plenty of the stuff you’re counting on—like bacon, coffee, and booze—but we’ll also be turning over unexpected stones to hopefully get you thinking about breakfast outside the (cereal) box. With minimal puns. Mostly.
There was a point while trying to get Extra Crispy up and running during which I’d eaten nothing but breakfast food for three days. There’d been my regular I.V. of black coffee, sure; but then I’d also made a habit of cobbling together lunch from our office cereal bar; and, at night, I flung myself into the always-open arms of the breakfast burrito. It was an accident, not some pre-launch PR stunt; part occupational hazard, perhaps, but mostly part natural obsession. Because that’s exactly what breakfast fosters: obsession. Something about the word ignites a reaction that a sad desk salad will never inspire. Perhaps it’s due to a primordial hunger that consumes us after eight hours of starfishing across the mattress, or our lizard brains reacting to the sugar coma-inducing, taste bud-whipping staples endemic to the morning.
Yet there seems to be something more. On her interview day, Senior Food and Drink Editor Kat Kinsman walked in wearing a fried-egg necklace; for Culture Editor Margaret Eby’s first day she sported a skirt dotted with sunny sides. Neither went out and bought something new to impress—they just already loved breakfast that much. Which would explain (at least one of the reasons) why it’s faster to get a gun than a Cronut in New York, and why conversation about ’90s breakfast cereal is an icebreaker more reliable than the weather. (And bacon, for that matter.) There’s an emotional identity component ubiquitous in breakfast that other meals lack, like the lunch you forgot to eat because it’s 2:30 p.m. and your TPS report was due, and the overblown foie gras dinner you’ve seen too many iterations of. Breakfast is comfort. It’s family and friends. In many ways, it’s home.
Since I started work on Extra Crispy, I’ve been asked, “Really? A whole site about breakfast?” a lot. (And, strangely, over brunch more than once.) So have many of our staff members—and, sure, we all understand why people have wondered. But, in actuality, when our team at Time Inc. first conceived of Extra Crispy, a whole site about breakfast, we’ve never had an idea that’s emerged more fully baked than this one.
Breakfast and brunch are spaces flush with recipes and great cooking pieces, of course. (Related: My kingdom for the ability to poach an egg without Saran Wrap.) As we look deeper into this meal, though, what gets us out of bed is that we see so much more than merely an excuse to drink before noon. In fact, no meal seems more intimate than the first, and few things inform the way one carries oneself through the day than what one chooses to eat. It’s a meal both democratic and politicized, and either loved or reviled. Breakfast is a split-second decision or a celebrated event. It’s in the freezer section, or the fast-food drive-thru, or whipped up at home, or served at the chicest establishment in the city. As Bill Addison wrote on Eater in January, “Coast to coast, breakfast is being taken seriously like never before by restaurants of all kinds.”
And it’s been cool to watch not only our favorite places to eat, but also colleagues at other publications get as hyped about this meal as we’ve been. While our team has been incubating Extra Crispy for more than a year, we’ve seen Lucky Peach release their Breakfast Issue, Eater launch a Breakfast Week, and The New York Times make the case for breakfast, among others. Imagine our faces as we watched the world lose their collective minds about both a golden donut and a rainbow bagel in the span of a few weeks.
I hope this place leaves you happy, but mostly I hope it leaves you hungry. This extra-special staff has spent a ridiculous number of hours editing, shooting, coding, designing, cooking, and eating to make sure what you’re about to spend your time with is well worth it. When you’re done poking around, hang out with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest, and sign up for our newsletter, too; it’ll be like bottomless brunch without the hungover waiter who really needs a nap.
Now back to your regularly scheduled standing in line at SQIRL.
Editorial Director, Extra Crispy
Senior Strategist, Brand Development at Time Inc.