What is the perfect breakfast? Most will probably answer this question by saying that their breakfast, the one from their culture or nationality is their favorite. But what happens when people think that their breakfast is superior than other people’s? Is it offensive? Is it being shallow? Is it arrogant? Where am I going with this? So let me begin by saying that I love breakfast. If asked what’s my favorite meal of the day, I’d say breakfast without hesitation. To me breakfast doesn’t have to be fancy or elaborate. Don’t get me wrong, I do love some elaborate breakfast but sometimes the most simple breakfast can be incredibly comforting. Depending on what you will be doing during the day, breakfast has to obviously also be nutritious and provide fuel.
My fondest memories of my time with my grandmother are directly co-related to breakfast while living with her in Tehran. Every morning Maman Fakhri made a typical Persian breakfast: hot tea served with Lavash bread from the bakery up the street, Feta cheese, and some type of jam. We ate breakfast together at the kitchen table while playing a silly game. My grandma used to spread open a few pages of the daily paper and pick a word from the pages. I had to find the word and point it out to her. That was our game, every morning; that was our moment, our bonding time.
What made me think about the concept of breakfast in depth is a recent blurb that I rad. Let me share with you an article that I read in the new issue of Food and Wine magazine that I received. With the upcoming Olympic games in Sochi, articles about athletes are seen in magazines more frequently. In said article the American skier Lindsey Vonn is interviewed and below are the two portions that just rubbed me the wrong way:
European Athletes vs. American: The weirdest thing for Europeans is an American-style breakfast. For them, breakfast is a piece of bread with meat and cheese.
Perfect Breakfast: Scrambled eggs and toast, or pancakes or oatmeal—something hot and substantial. Not one slice of bread.
I will agree with the first statement that Europeans find American breakfasts to be overwhelming. Let’s be honest making eggs, bacon, buttered toast, waffles, and pancakes are not only labor intensive but are also heavy. And oatmeal? It’s an acquired taste for those who have not grown up with it, or some type of porridge. I know it was for me.
I find that breakfast is a subjective taste. I have been fortunate to travel and have breakfast in various countries. What I have been fascinated by is that different cultures have different traditions. Sure some parts of Europe do serve bread, cheese and cold cuts for breakfast. But there are also parts of the world, like in Vietnam, where breakfast is a steaming bowl of Pho, or the Chinese do Dim Sum, or in other parts of Asia a bowl of rice with meat and vegetables. Other parts of the world start their day with some type of porridge.
While living in Italy my breakfasts were very different than what I was used to eating in Iran. Italians drink coffee or Caffè d’Orzo, barley coffee, in the morning with some type of sweet pastry or cookies.
One of the most unexpected breakfasts that we have ever had was the traditional Bavarian breakfast when we visited Munich a few years ago. The combination of boiled Weisswurst, freshly baked and warm pretzel, and sweet mustard all of which is washed down with a glass of Weissbier was amazing! This was such a departure as far as breakfasts that we are used, but so delicious and filling even on a cold day! I can’t go back to Munich for a variety of reasons but their breakfast is definitely one reason!
We had the amazing spread above at the Schilthorn in Switzerland. This was a delicious breakfast at the panoramic revolving restaurant. I was perfectly happy and content with the bread, cheese, and meat breakfast!
I share plenty of my breakfast combinations on my Instagram account, so feel free to follow…
So the message that I am trying to convey here is that, is it really fair to say that one nationality’s, or culture’s, breakfast is better than the other? Whether you are an athlete or not, you will generally stick to the meal that you have grown up eating. So is arrogant? Can it be offensive?
What do you eat for breakfast? What is your favorite breakfast? What’s your ideal breakfast?