I'VE just finished reading a newspaper supplement about the best places to eat breakfast in Britain. I love these kinds of supplements. Their concentrated mixture of enthusiasm, lists and facts get straight into the bloodstream, like a shot of undiluted Ribena at a teetotaller's hogmanay. I'm also a fan of breakfast.

I go between extremes when it comes to enjoying the most important meal of the day. At home I eat a simple bowl of porridge or maybe muesli with a pot of tea, sometimes nothing at all. But when I'm anywhere near a hotel breakfast, I have everything I'm offered. I can't bear missing out on one, despite the fact that they are always only served between 6am and 8am or some other stupidly early hour: especially annoying if you've been up late, or - like most people staying in a hotel - just want a lie in.

I'll always get up, even if I feel like I'm still asleep. Maybe it's the Calvinist within, but I can't let the chance of a free breakfast go by.

I like it most when there's a buffet (with an omelette chef if we're getting fancy). On these occasions I'll linger over a three-course breakfast, complete with breakfast pudding - usually some sort of pastry smothered in Nutella or jam. If they have a good selection of newspapers on offer then I am in breakfast heaven. It's been worth getting up for.

Then there's brunch: a great idea, although its awful name almost puts me off ever going for it. I'd rather wait the extra hour until it turns into lunch. People in America seem to have no such qualms. "Let's do brunch": a phrase that always gets me turning the steering wheel in the opposite direction of whoever said it.

Eating breakfast food throughout the day is a good idea, though. Believing it's breakfast time in the afternoon makes you think that there's still much to make of the day, even if it's approaching early evening. This is why I have a sneaking suspicion that brunch was created by and for people with hangovers as justification for sleeping until 2pm. They convince themselves that the meal is still slightly connected to the morning, because it starts with a "b" and you can get toast with it.

I still remember a tasty brunch of spicy huevos rancheros eaten with a cold beer on a boiling hot Texan afternoon, in a restaurant in Austin where the air was heavy with a smell of hangovers. Or strolling out of my hotel on a chilly October afternoon, into the Grey Cat Café in Reykjavik in Iceland, and enjoying apple waffles and a cup of incredibly strong gritty coffee followed by a game of Scrabble. Those two meals demonstrated a positive side to brunching.

A recent study showed that eating well can improve your memory, and since our minds are more awake and aware in the morning (in theory), surely a healthy breakfast is doubling our chances of an enriched brain? I like this idea. Not that I'm averse to a traditional Scottish fry-up: in fact if you are reading this just as you are about to tuck into a plateful of bacon, sausage, black pudding, eggs, potato scones and beans - good for you. That's the closest Scotland's got to soul food, apart from maybe broth and bannocks. I'm a fan of sampling local dishes when I'm abroad, but eating rice for my breakfast when I was in Japan made me suddenly feel like I was a very long way from home.

It's the subtle, simple things about your country or town, things like what you have for breakfast, that end up being the things that remind you of home, and subsequently fill you with comfort. And sometimes, nothing seems as comforting as a potato scone. How about that for a supplement spin-off?