Hunter S. Thompson’s Decadent Daily Breakfast: The “Psychic Anchor” of His Frenetic Creative Life

Image  via Wiki­me­dia Com­mons

Is break­fast real­ly the most impor­tant meal of the day?

It cer­tain­ly seems so from all the care­ful­ly staged pho­tos of overnight oat­meal on Insta­gram.

The phys­i­cal and men­tal ben­e­fits are well doc­u­ment­ed. A nutri­tious meal in the morn­ing boosts blood glu­cose lev­els, improv­ing con­cen­tra­tion, boost­ing ener­gy lev­els and main­tain­ing healthy weight.

Sad­ly, many Amer­i­cans gob­ble their break­fasts on the fly. How many hun­dreds of film and tele­vi­sion scenes have you seen where­in the main char­ac­ters hur­tle through the kitchen snatch­ing bananas, gra­nola bars, and trav­el mugs on their way to the door?

The late gonzo jour­nal­ist Hunter S. Thomp­son would sure­ly not have approved, though he may have enjoyed the sense of supe­ri­or­i­ty these morn­ing scram­bles would have engen­dered.

This was a man who bragged that he could “cov­er a hope­less­ly scram­bled pres­i­den­tial cam­paign bet­ter than any six-man team of career polit­i­cal jour­nal­ists on The New York Times or The Wash­ing­ton Post and still eat a three-hour break­fast in the sun every morn­ing.”

Report­ing for Rolling Stone in “Fear and Loathing on the Cam­paign Trail 76,” he inti­mat­ed that he viewed break­fast with the “tra­di­tion­al­ized rev­er­ence that most peo­ple asso­ciate with Lunch and Din­ner.”

One won­ders who exact­ly he meant by “most peo­ple”?

Tex­ans? The Irish? Rabelais?

Regard­less of whether he had been to bed, or what he had got­ten up to the night before, he insist­ed upon a mas­sive repast—consumed al fres­co, and prefer­ably in the nude. The sun he enjoyed bask­ing in was usu­al­ly at its zenith by the time he sat down. The meal, which he called the “psy­chic anchor” of “a ter­mi­nal­ly jan­gled lifestyle, con­sist­ed of the fol­low­ing:

Four bloody Marys

Two grape­fruits

A pot of cof­fee

Ran­goon crêpes

A half-pound of either sausage, bacon, or corned beef-hash with diced chilies

A Span­ish omelette or eggs Bene­dict

A quart of milk

A chopped lemon for ran­dom sea­son­ing

Some­thing like a slice of Key lime pie

Two mar­gar­i­tas

And six lines of the best cocaine for dessert

Last sum­mer, a Dan­ish Vice reporter recre­at­ed Thompson’s break­fast of choice, invit­ing a poet friend (and “aspir­ing alco­holic”) to par­take along with him. It end­ed with him vom­it­ing, naked, into a shrub. His guest, who seems to be made of stur­dier stuff, praised the eggs bene­dict, the Bloody Marys, and dessert.

Thomp­son pre­ferred that his first meal of the day be con­sumed solo, in order to get a jump on the day’s work. In addi­tion to the edi­ble menu items, he required:

Two or three news­pa­pers

All mail and mes­sages

A tele­phone

A note­book for plan­ning the next twen­ty four hours

And at least one source of good music

Read “Fear and Loathing on the Cam­paign Trail 1976” here. The key break­fast quote reads as fol­lows:

I like to eat break­fast alone, and almost nev­er before noon; any­body with a ter­mi­nal­ly jan­gled lifestyle needs at least one psy­chic anchor every twen­ty four hours, and mine is break­fast. In Hong Kong, Dal­las, or at home—and regard­less of whether or not I have been to bed—breakfast is a per­son­al rit­u­al that can only be prop­er­ly observed alone, and in a spir­it of gen­uine excess. The food fac­tor should always be mas­sive: Four bloody Marys, two grape­fruits, a pot of cof­fee, Ran­goon crêpes, a half-pound of either sausage, bacon, or corned beef-hash with diced chilies, a Span­ish omelette or eggs Bene­dict, a quart of milk, a chopped lemon for ran­dom sea­son­ing, and some­thing like a slice of Key lime pie, two mar­gar­i­tas, and six lines of the best cocaine for dessert… Right, and there should also be two or three news­pa­pers, all mail and mes­sages, a tele­phone, a note­book for plan­ning the next twen­ty four hours, and at least one source of good music… All of which should be dealt with out­side, in the warmth of the hot sun, and prefer­ably stone naked.

And just in case, here is a recipe for Crab Ran­goon Crepes…

Relat­ed Con­tent:

How Hunter S. Thomp­son Gave Birth to Gonzo Jour­nal­ism: Short Film Revis­its Thompson’s Sem­i­nal 1970 Piece on the Ken­tucky Der­by

Hear the 10 Best Albums of the 1960s as Select­ed by Hunter S. Thomp­son

Read 11 Free Arti­cles by Hunter S. Thomp­son That Span His Gonzo Jour­nal­ist Career (1965–2005)

Ayun Hal­l­i­day is an author, illus­tra­tor, the­ater mak­er and Chief Pri­ma­tol­o­gist of the East Vil­lage Inky zine.  Fol­low her @AyunHalliday.

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Comments (5)
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  • Ed heynoski says:

    Fn awesome.woulda loved to try n sur­vive a week with him . Man was a psy­che­del­ic astronaut.ready to trav­el on a 4hit mind adjust­ment then take off for a 10hr con­struc­tion job in morn­ing .best of wish­es n expe­ri­ence the mind NEVER KNOW WHAT YOU’LL SEE N LEARN

  • Paul Tatara says:

    It would­n’t be like Hunter S. Thomp­son to write some­thing that isn’t com­plete­ly true.

  • todd chavey says:

    a time bomb.

  • John Loza says:

    Actu­al­ly, that quote is from Fear and Loathing on the Cam­paign Trail 1972, in the arti­cle about George McGov­ern win­ning the New York pri­ma­ry. FYI.

  • Cory Levi says:

    Don’t for­get Hunter had well over a decade of pri­mar­i­ly liv­ing in pover­ty. He spent years on a lean­er but prob­a­bly just as boozy diet. Seemed to sur­vive on near­ly noth­ing dur­ing the ear­ly years of his son’s life.

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