How to Make Breakfast If You Are a Space Alien

Things have gotten desperate enough around here that I applied for a tech writing job (though how I love saying I USED TO BE a technical writer–oy vey).

They asked me to take a brief (and very silly) writing test. I had 30 minutes to do it. The test is pasted below.


Please write a procedure documenting making breakfast.

The menu is up to you but must contain several items, one of which must be cooked (e.g.: bacon and eggs or a toasted bagel with a fresh grapefruit.)

Don’t forget a beverage.

Don’t forget necessary ingredients and tools.

Your target audience is a complete novice to breakfast. The reader does not know how to make breakfast, or why either. It helps me to think of the audience as an alien visiting Earth. They nourish themselves with a daily pill. Now, they want to take on human form and human customs.

You have 30 minutes. Good Luck!

Breakfast is a meal you should consume in the morning to provide yourself with the nourishment necessary for the first part of the day. In fact, it is often said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day because of its ability to influence your mood and energy level throughout the day. The following instructions will provide you with the steps necessary to make a healthy breakfast, including:

· Coffee

· Juice

· Eggs

· Toast


The first step to making breakfast is to begin making the coffee because it takes the longest. Coffee is a stimulant and helps your body and brain to perk up after a night’s sleep. You will need:

· Coffee beans

· Coffee grinder

· French press coffee maker

· Table spoon

· Water kettle

· Water (from the kitchen sink is fine, but you can also use bottled water)

· Stove

· Coffee mug

Use the following steps to make the coffee:

1. Fill the kettle about 3/4 full with water.

2. Turn on one of the burners on the stove using the instructions that came with the appliance (different models may vary). The flame should be medium to high.

3. Place the kettle on the burner.

4. Place 5–6 spoonfuls of coffee beans into the grinder and grind them until a rough powder is created (again, models may vary, so follow the instructions for your coffee grinder).
Remove the lid of the French press.

5. Transfer the ground beans into the French press.

6. When the water in the kettle is boiling, the kettle will make a whistling sound. When this happens, turn off the stove burner.

7. Pour water from the kettle into the French press (be careful; it is very hot) until the carafe is about 3/4 full.

8. Stir the mixture of water and grounds with the spoon.

9. Replace the top of the French press, and wait several minutes (in the meantime, you can begin making the other breakfast items)

10. Slowly press down on the handle of the French press until it resists.

11. Make sure the slots on the French press lid are parallel with the lip of the carafe.

12. Pour coffee in the coffee mug.

Eggs are a good source of protein, an important nutrient. You will need:

· Two chicken eggs

· 2 tablespoons of butter

· Frying pan

· Stove

· Spatula

· Plate

Use the following steps to prepare the eggs:

1. Turn on one of the burners on the stove using the instructions that came with the appliance (different models may vary). The flame should be low to medium.

2. Place the frying pan on the burner.

3. Place the butter in the frying pan. As it melts, use the spatula to spread it evenly around the pan.

4. Carefully crack each egg, letting the contents spill into the frying pan (be careful not to let any pieces of the shell fall into the pan).

5. Discard the shells.

6. When the white part of the eggs are solid, scoop them up with the spatula and place them on the plate.

7. Turn off the burner.


Toast is a good source of carbohydrates, an important nutrient. You will need:

· Two pieces of bread

· Toaster

Use the following steps to prepare the toast:

1. Make sure the toaster is plugged into an electrical socket.

2. Place each piece of bread into one of the slots on top of the toaster.

3. Press down the lever.

4. When the toast is ready, it will pop up. Carefully remove the slices of bread and place them on the plate next to your eggs.

Orange Juice

Orange juice is a good source of sugar and Vitamin C, important nutrients. You will need:

· Carton of juice

· Glass

Use the following steps to prepare the juice:

· Shake the juice carton

· Open the carton using the instructions on the side

· Fill the glass with juice.

Enjoy the breakfast. As you become more accustomed to making breakfast, you can try more complex variations on these simple instructions. For example, you can:

· Place the eggs between the two pieces of toast and eat both items as a unit (known as a “sandwich”)

· Spread butter, jelly, or honey on the toast to improve the flavor

· Put sugar or milk in the coffee to improve the flavor

· Cook the eggs for a shorter or longer amount of time


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