Start the day right

How many times have you heard breakfast is the most important meal of the day?

Today, many of us are on the run early, and so breakfast is often more about the coffee than the food—perhaps a donut at Timmie’s? An Egg McMuffin?

If you’re eating in the car, then a bowl of Rice Krispies is out of the question, obviously. Such is the way of surviving in the world. We adapt. We change.

My Dad was a stickler about breakfast. He wouldn’t let my brother and I leave for school unless we had something for breakfast.

He didn’t care if we were late, that’s how important he thought it was. Sometimes it was no more than a piece of toast with peanut butter, but my dad would say it was the principle of the thing.

And it did sink in. To this day, only if there are serious extenuating circumstances do I miss breakfast.

I know there are people who don’t agree with me. Some folks just aren’t morning people; having something to eat early in the day ruins their mood.

I have also discovered that breakfast can be many different things besides that bowl of cereal or piece of toast with peanut butter.

In some countries, breakfast is a much more savoury meal. Did you know Spam is a breakfast staple in Hawaii and the Philippines? And steak and eggs for breakfast was a tradition that came from Australia?

Eggs are one element of the morning meal that exists on every continent. Eggs are one of nature’s complete foods: they contain every vitamin and mineral we need and are a dense source of protein.

In the Philippines, a “breakfast joy” combo is garlic fried rice, a fried egg, and either spam, chorizo or local fish with hot sauce.

Eggs are used in shakshouka in Northern Africa; if you like tomato sauce and eggs Benny, this could be your new favourite.

In Europe, soft or hard-boiled eggs are common, often with charcuterie and fresh bread.

In France, Spain and Italy, eggs in the morning are more likely to be part of a pastry recipe. Note, in France and Spain (and Cuba), dunking pastry in your coffee is a good thing. Don’t try it in Italy if you want to look cool.

In Asia, eggs might be stirred into broth or rice. The full English breakfast of fried eggs with sausage, beans, toast and tomatoes is perhaps the most filling breakfast of all. More what we know in Canada and the U.S. is breakfast cereal with milk or yogurt.

Breakfast cereal was started in North America through the natives who had learned how to process corn and make grits.

This hot cereal never became popular in the North, but oatmeal became a popular variation when both General Mills and the American Cereal Company (which later became Quaker Oats) started milling oats at their factories in Akron, Ohio, in the 1800s.

Ready-to-eat cereals didn’t catch on until the 1890s when John Harvey Kellogg featured Corn Flakes at his health sanitarium promoting a healthy lifestyle (he wanted his patients to eat a vegetarian diet and abstain from tobacco, alcohol, coffee and tea).

A few years later, a Mr. Post joined the fray with Grape Nuts and General Mills came out with Wheaties, targeted especially to children.

By the time television was invented, cereals had mascots and added sugar for more appeal, and were processed by using cereal guns to puff grains and extruders to make shapes. The healthy vitamins and minerals get fortified back into the cereal after the processing. (Can we call that an example of going full circle?)

If you are one of those people who just can’t stomach food in the morning, then perhaps you prefer a “mental meal?”

Lewis Carroll said, “Sometimes I’ve imagined as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”  

Meditation and its variations have become a more common practice in western cultures. The concept of quality time for yourself is said to help us de-stress and better prepare for a successful day when practised in the morning.

There are apps for that, of course, and morning yoga and positive affirmation posters you can hang in the bathroom.

Deepak Chopra encourages people to set their intentions for the day with a short morning meditation. (Nothing says you can’t do this and then have breakfast, too.)

The gist of all these routines to start the day is the same: get yourself going with a boost of positive energy, and you’ll have the best chance for a good day. Your focus is improved, your metabolism is geared up, and your attitude is dialed in.

It’s kind of like being shot out of a gun, like the cereal grains. Once you get going, you can hit your stride and be more relaxed for the day. Whatever it takes for you to get yourself going, it will offer a positive start, even if it has little or no nutritional value.

“When you wake up in the morning, Pooh," said Piglet at last, "what's the first thing you say to yourself?" "What's for breakfast?" said Pooh. "What do you say, Piglet?" "I say, I wonder what's going to happen exciting today?" said Piglet. Pooh nodded thoughtfully. "It's the same thing," he said.

A. A. Milne

Life is stressful and busy, but that doesn’t mean we can’t take control.

When you have the time, treat yourself — call some friends and go for brunch. Now that’s a meal for everyone: breakfast fare and lunch items are on the menu, drinks of all kinds, and the name of the game is to take it as leisurely as possible.

There is no such thing as a drive-thru brunch.

More Happy Gourmand articles

About the Author

Kristin Peturson-Laprise is a customer experience specialist by trade, which means she is someone passionate about people having a good time. 

Her company, Wow Service Mentor, helps businesses enhance their customer experience through hands-on training, service programs, and special event coordination.

Kristin enjoys her own experiences too, and that is what she writes about in this column. She and her husband Martin Laprise (also known as Chef Martin, of The Chef Instead) love to share their passion for food and entertaining.  

Kristin says:

"Wikipedia lists a gourmand as a person who takes great pleasure in food. I have taken the concept of gourmandise, or enjoying something to the fullest, in all parts of my life. I love to grow and cook food, and I loved wine enough to become a Sommelier. I call a meal a success when I can convey that 'sense of place' from where the food has come . . . the French call that terroir, but I just call it the full experience. It might mean tasting the flavours of my own garden, or transporting everyone at the table to a faraway place, reminiscent of travels or dreams we have had."


E-mail Kristin at:  [email protected]

Check out her website here:  www.wowservicementor.com


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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