What's for Breakfast? Potatoes and Rest

The final Second Breakfast newsletter of 2023! Phew!

Happy Monday! What’s for breakfast?

This is the last Second Breakfast newsletter of 2023. I’m taking the rest of the year off, returning in early January renewed and rested.

Hahaha. We tell ourselves that the holidays are time to relax, but that rarely happens. This time of year, almost more than any other, we lean into being over-scheduled, over-committed, over-extended, whether we’re baking or decorating or caroling or shopping or traveling or attempting to squeeze every unfinished task into the last few days of December.

Earlier in the fall, I had the foresight to book myself a massage for this past week — booked so long ago that I’d forgotten I’d done so until I got the phone/text/email reminders. I rearranged my week so that I could carve out an afternoon for this indulgence. And then, about an hour before my appointment, I got the call that my massage therapist was sick and would have to cancel. I could reschedule, of course. But she’s booked up for the next few months, and I dunno, mid-March doesn’t really feel like a time to unwind quite like the-week-before-Solstice does.

I’d planned, in this final installment of Second Breakfast for the year, of saying a little something about all the various rest and recovery products that are marketed to us (particularly to athletes): air compression boots, ice baths, massage guns, foam rollers, CBD powders and oils and salves and pills, and so on. There’s not really a ton of research to back up a lot of these things — even massage, to be honest. But if it makes you feel good, by all means, go for it.

That said, after writing my last two essays for you (on food, on fitness) and thinking about the ideology of fitness/wellness culture and of tech culture writ large, I just want to posit this instead: we need to challenge notions of rest and recovery that are primed to simply make us more productive. “Body battery” metrics be damned. Just rest. We need to resist the “grind culture” that pushes us to push our bodies into such states of exhaustion (and that convinces us that what we need to fix this state is a product and not, say, a radical reorganization of society so it’s not predicated on exploitation, trauma, and burnout. Rest is Resistance, as Tricia Hersey says1.

One final potato recipe for the month, which only relates to any of the rambling above insofar as this involves little effort and leftovers: you just take some leftover mashed potatoes and smash them and re-heat them in your waffle iron.

Stock photo, whose caption reads “Cast waffle iron left on a rusty stove in abandoned house.” There’s a story here, for sure...

Leftover Mashed Potato Waffles

Servings: 8 waffles


  • 2 1/2 cups leftover mashed potatoes
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 tbsp scallions chopped
  • 1 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • salt, to taste


Preheat the waffle iron and grease it with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, then add in the mashed potatoes, scallions, and cheese. Mix to combine. Fold these dry ingredients — flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt — into the potato mixture until everything is well combined.

Scoop 1/2 cup or smaller (depending on the size of your waffle iron) of the batter into the prepared waffle iron. Use a spoon to even out the batter so your waffle isn’t too thick. Close the lid and let the waffle bake until golden brown. Repeat.

Garnish the waffles with sour cream, bacon, and/or smoked salmon if you like.

Thank you for reading and supporting my work. It makes me feel so good to know that I can still think and learn and write despite, well, everything.

Have a very happy new year. Talk to you in January.

  1. Affiliate link via Bookshop.org. Book sales support Marcus Books, the country’s longest-running Black-owned independent bookstore, located in Oakland, California.