An Ode to Breakfast for Dinner

IHOP

What are some things you could easily do today to make your life happier? I don’t necessarily mean “better,” like paying off your student loans or getting a promotion or meeting the love of your life, but a small thing you have complete control over that will make you feel joy for a little while. There are a lot of different ways you could respond to this question, but for me, the most correct answer is obvious: Breakfast for Dinner.

It’s easy. It’s relatively inexpensive. It’s quick. You can scramble up some eggs or make a pancake. You can drink a cold beverage out of a mug. If you’ve got your pj’s on, you’re really committing to the theme. Growing up, breakfast for dinner was a treat that usually caught me by surprise.

If you’re like me, when you think about what you want to eat for dinner, you run through a standard list of “dinner” foods: grilled chicken, pasta, pizza if you’re lucky. Breakfast for dinner is the Secret Menu, waiting to be unlocked, and it is full of waffles and bacon.

Eating breakfast foods for dinner makes it feel like you’re doing something naughty – you’re rebelling against Big Dinner, declaring to the world that you will not be shackled by society’s definition of “supper.” But the stakes are low. There is no consequence to eating non-traditional foods for your evening meal.

This makes IHOP’s announcement that it will be “flipping” from the International House of Pancakes to the International House of Burgers all the more concerning. Per NPR, “the change seems to be part of a plan to capture business in the day and early evening, outside of IHOP’s traditional strength in the morning,” with IHOP assuming the food people most want to eat for lunch and dinner is burgers.

I am not here to come for burgers; I love burgers so much, I once took a one to the Senior prom. I am here, however, to dispute the notion that anyone would go to IHOP for dinner to eat dinner foods. I can’t wrap my head around the idea that IHOP thought it would be wise to pivot to burgers instead of leaning into their bread and butter (and syrup) – breakfast at any time of day. What the world needs now is Breakfast for Dinner, and IHOP has the resources to make that happen. Why not lean into the notion of eating your meals out of order?

It’s hard to feel like you don’t have control over your life. Not everyone wants to be the feather from Forrest Gump, floating along wherever the wind carries us. We are the captains of our destinies. But a bad day at work (usually) doesn’t mean you can up and quit. Sometimes we have to find other, smaller ways to feel like we have a say in our lives.

There is no easier, more purely joyful way to do this than to heat up the griddle, crack a few eggs and enjoy Breakfast for Dinner. And as soon as the restaurant formerly know as IHOP realizes this, it will truly shift from being just an international house to being and international home.

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