Monday, May 18, 2015

What's on Your Plate?

I'm not a breakfast eater. I know, I know ... most important meal of the day ... blah, blah.

I drink coffee or tea in the morning, and then, sometimes I'll have a meal of some sort between 11:00 AM and 3:00 PM. Then, I have a big dinner with my family in the evening, usually between 6:00 PM and 9:00 PM. Yes, that's late for dinner, and yes, I'm pretty sure that's exactly why I have this extra girth around my middle. It's one of those things that we're aware of, but can't change ... right now.

Occasionally, like this morning, I'll have something for breakfast, but it's hardly ever conventional, like the food that's featured as being a typical American breakfast in this Buzzfeed video on what the world eats for breakfast. First, I'm not really a fan of pancakes, and second, that much bread and meat in one meal makes me feel bloated.

My most oft breakfast fare is eggs, paired with whatever seems easiest on that day. This morning I had two boiled eggs with butter and a cup of coffee. Sometimes I'll have scrambled eggs and grits (yes, I'm one of those mysterious people you hear about, but never meet, who actually knows what grits are ... and likes them ;)) or fried eggs and hash browns. Sometimes I'll add pickled or fermented vegetables (olives, sauerkraut, pickled beets) on the side, and if there are fresh tomatoes in the house, they'll be on the breakfast menu.

Sometimes I get really nutty and having something totally off-the-wall for breakfast. I like popcorn for breakfast. Soup (if there are leftovers) isn't unheard of as breakfast fare. I've even made a nice salad before. In fact, when Deus Ex Machina and I start our Second Annual Foraged Summer on Memorial Day weekend (where we eat only what we have foraged for one full day all summer long), a foraged greens salad is very likely to be our first meal ... and it will be breakfast, because Deus Ex Machina likes breakfast and never skips it.

Of the breakfasts featured in the video, the two that most closely match what I'd eat for that meal are from Mexico (I'd switch the flour tortillas for corn tortillas) and the UK (and I wouldn't have both sausage AND bacon, but one or the other or neither).

What struck me is how grain-centric the world's meals are. There was only one breakfast in which a grain was not included and that was the breakfast from the UK. Only two of the world's breakfasts do not include a wheat-bread: Japan where they eat rice and miso, and Vietnam, where they eat a rice-noodle porridge.

It was fun to see this idea of what the world eats. I've been working hard, at least in my family, to debunk the notion that certain foods must be eaten at certain times of day - or rather that certain times of day call for certain types of food (like the whole notion of breakfast for dinner, because breakfast is the first meal of the day - regardless of the menu, and actually even regardless of the hour, and pancakes eaten in the evening doesn't make it breakfast no matter how much homemade maple syrup we use).

I think it's important, for our future, especially if we're looking at resource depletion and a more local diet, to shift our cultural biases around food, because if we're going to eat what we can get where we live, what's on the menu is going to look a bit different. The sooner we start to accept that breakfast doesn't have to be bacon, but can be smoked rabbit**, for instance, the easier things will be for us when rabbit is what's available and pancakes aren't the fluffy, wheat-based breads we enjoy now, but rather a less sweet, more dense acorn flour pancake.

So, what about you? Do you *do* breakfast or are you more inclined to just enjoy food, regardless of the time of day?

**My friend and fellow Mainer, Steve, posted a link on my Facebook wall of an article from our local newspaper. It's about the increase in rabbit farmers here in Maine, which I thought was interesting.

Steve's comment was that I'm on the "cutting edge", because I've been raising rabbits for meat for a very long time, but also because I've been encouraging suburban homesteaders and those who are interested in self-sufficiency to consider rabbits as a potential source of protein. In fact, here is an interview from a few years ago about my rabbit-raising adventures. Enjoy!


  1. My family used to host foreign exchange students. I learned about having a fried egg over rice from one of our students. I love this combination and it makes great use of leftover rice. SJ in Vancouver BC

  2. Yeah, I am not a big breakfast person either. I am definitely a coffee or tea first thing in the morning kind of gal though! And then typically once my three littles have been fed, and then fed again, I tend to make a very large salad for myself around 10am which usually features beans and seeds and whatever veggies I can find. That tends to carry me through until almost dinner time. Probably not the healthiest way to eat, but at least what I am eating is healthy? If we go out to breakfast at our local diner, then I get scrambled eggs and hash. I am excited to follow along on your foraged meal series, I am in Maine and know there is such an abundance of food available, but I don't know much besides the dandelion greens and the fruits from PYO and then of course whatever I grow in my own garden :-)