20 February 2009

A Better Breakfast

I've long been disappointed with the traditional breakfast foods, except for eggs, which I eat by the dozen (we buy five dozen at a time). I have a friend who used to challenge tradition and cook himself a full spaghetti breakfast. For good health and weight maintenance, breakfast should by all rights be our largest, richest, and most indulgent meal of the day. It's the Cary Grant Diet: Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper.

It's the lack of breakfast variety that most disappoints, and this week Mark Bittman of the NY Times took that on. His article was less interesting to me for the recipes it offers than for its challenge to American breakfast culture. I am inspired. We'll see what happens. An excerpt:

    [I]t could be that I’ve traveled enough to learn the joys of jook, the Chinese rice porridge also known as congee, which is among my favorite ways to start the day even when seasoned with nothing more than scallions, soy and chopped peanuts; of the kipper, baked beans, broiled mushrooms, tomatoes and other staples of the traditional English breakfast; of cucumbers, feta and olives, which I ate daily in Turkey; of ful medames, the lemon-kissed fava concoction of Egypt and elsewhere in the Middle East; and, one glorious day about 10 years ago, of kao tom, the Thai version of jook, loaded with sausage, eggs and nam pla. Everything is fair game at breakfast — and long has been, of course — but to most Americans it doesn’t seem appropriate to start making what amounts to dinner at seven in the morning. It’s one thing to eat leftover pizza, pasta, roast chicken, soup, whatever; it’s entirely another to start cooking them while your tea or coffee is still brewing.

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