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Breakfast taboos


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One of the biggest breakfast taboos I know of is the common exhortation that "You *must* have breakfast! It is a healthy start to the day! Your system will not do well without it!".

Sort of a backwards taboo in that it is not telling one to avoid anything but rather insisting that the thing itself must not be avoided. A insistent common folk prescription, perhaps one might call it.

Yet I've heard from more than one gastroenterologist that some people can not and should not eat breakfast. Their systems just simply do not like to wake up and take in food for at least several hours. And that indeed, people with systems like this will do poorly if they *are* made to eat breakfast, either by parents or by the fact that everywhere it seems everyone is insisting upon it.

:smile:

The only thing I like for breakfast is coffee. Nothing is taboo at my table at breakfast. I'll roast a goat for you if you want. But I will have coffee and no more, thank you. Really. I insist. :wink:

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I often breakfasted with my grandparents when I was small, and they ate the full, old-style farm breakfast - and needed it, because my grandfather and uncle had put in 3 hours of hard work before breakfast. No fancy cereal, and not a lot of sweetness - porridge with salt, bacon/egg or a fried flounder, and toast to fill any empty corners.

The only thing I don't want for breakfast is something really dry and stodgy. Like a bagel, for example! :raz:

I guess it's all habit though, because my boys are happy to have their starch as porridge or pancakes or toast, or Chinese congee with pickles, or rice/ with fish/miso soup, but they absolutely draw the line at scones for breakfast. :shock:

Sandwiches for breakfast - OK if they're lightly toasted, because they go better with hot tea that way (I think).

My family's favorite breakfast is the buffet at the YWCA Fort Canning Park in Singapore - the buffet table laden with the makings of western, Chinese and Indian breakfasts suited them very well.

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I remember Little House on the Prairie episodes when Pa had steak and eggs for breakfast, so "light" fare hasn't always been the tradition in the US, has it?  Or was that kind of breakfast restricted to the hardworking folks on farms?

Well, during the era in which "Little House on the Prairie" was set (the late 19th century), a large proportion of the US population lived--and worked hard--on farms. And my understanding is that breakfast was indeed a heavy-duty thing for lots of rural folk back then--that is, if they had the wherewithal to afford that kind and amount of food.

I think that the "steak and egg" breakfast morphed into the "bacon or sausage and egg" breakfast that is quite common today, and not all that very different in terms of caloric content of type of food. Two or three eggs, three to six ounces of some sort of meat, two portions of some sort of bread-stuff with butter and preserves or jelly, a serving of fruit juice and a cup or two of coffee or tea with milk is what a modern-day common American idea consists of.

Not that everyone has the time for this before going to work, but this seems to be an ideal that many strive towards as being part of the "good life".

................................................

In the rural past where this breakfast existed (as you say, if there was the wherewithal to afford it) though, it was not generally eaten immediately upon rising. Before eating, there would be the chores to do at daybreak. An hour or two or maybe three of checking fences, feeding and watering livestock, and assuring that the garden was still there and that it would and could be eaten sometime rather than maybe having to eat the aggrevating marauding bunnies that ate it. So in this way, breakfast itself was a different animal, not something eaten "before" the day started but rather into a day well started with physical labor, which would demand that sort of food and induce a good hunger. :smile:

Well you know. Wielding a blow-dryer and getting these clothes on can be very hard work in the morning. Especially these high-heeled shoes. An egg per shoe might be needed to revive me, to prepare me for the day. A strip of bacon for each eye mascara'd. Buttered jellied biscuits will serve to make up for all that fussing with my hair.

And without coffee, of course, I could not even see to do any of this.

Ah. Justification can be fun. :raz:

(Ha, ha! helenjp and I were going on about farmwork at almost the exact same time! The spirit of dank hay and cow patties must be in the air. :biggrin: )

Edited by Carrot Top (log)
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I don't find any foods per se verboten for breakfast, but I do tend to lean toward the simple and easily prepared/carried given time constraints. Protein is a must or I'm starving in 2 hours. Sandwiches are perfect - portable, protein, easy to prepare (the three P's). Peanut butter rocks. So does turkey and chicken. I buy the Trader Joe's chicken sausages (chicken jalapeno or roasted garlic chicken are great on a piece of bread with cheese in the morning). Smoked salmon and cream cheese sandwiches on whole wheat pitas are probably the closest from a traditional breakfast perspective.

There are typically no sweets in my breakfast - not so much because they're verboten, but because they're a waste of calories in the morning, and won't keep me going until noon.

There are typically no hot liquids in my breakfast either. No soup, only a hot cereal with nuts and dried fruit on the occasional weekend. People often raise eyebrows at my Diet Coke at 6:30 AM - but that's my caffeine. You have yours with coffee, I have mine with Diet Coke, which I find more refreshing in the morning given the cold and bubbles. I can't handle coffee before noon - coffee to me is a sweet treat, usually with sugar and milk and something foofy like caramel syrup.

I can mix in "classic" American breakfast ingredients in my typical breakfast - a little yogurt on the side if I'm really hungry, or an egg sandwich (or eggs mixed with turkey and veggies, carried on a piece of toast). I may prepare a "classic" American breakfast with breakfast sausage or biscuits or waffles or omelettes on a Sunday - but that to me is more like brunch and takes the place of both breakfast and lunch.

Cold pizza is the exception to the simple/bland rule - it doesn't matter what kind of pizza it is (spicy Thai shrimp pizza, bbq chicken, pepperoni, veggie supreme, whatever) - it's got the three P's, so it works.

I guess, reflecting back on what I've typed, that I do have a lot of breakfast rules.

...wine can of their wits the wise beguile, make the sage frolic, and the serious smile. --Alexander Pope

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I had mentioned before that I once made sourdough blueberry pancakes, with fresh-picked berries, using a mixture of spelt and AP flour, cooked in applewood bacon fat and served with real maple.

Last weekend I was at a small airport cafe and ordered their blueberry pancakes. Yes, the berries were at least real, not the little artificially colored flecks, but they obviously used a really cheap mix, and the meal left me feeling bloated and ill the rest of the day.

So I might add my own taboo of too much sugar/processed flour at breakfast.

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All your responses are really interesting. Thanks, Mizducky, for the reference to Feeding America. I'd forgotten about that wonderful site (now I've bookmarked it). The paragraph you linked to surprises me quite a bit.

I never watched the Little House television series, but I read the books religiously as a a child and to my children. Laura's family was mostly too poor for Pa to be eating steak and eggs, but the descriptions of Almanzo's bountiful breakfasts--yes, after hours of hard farm labor--formed my romantic image of breakfast.

So--is our contemporary high-carb, high-dairy idea of breakfast due to the wiles of the modern food industry? If so, they've been remarkably successful. I think we share a very strong understanding of what breakfast is in the U.S., whether or not we actually eat that way. And it's interesting to me that it seems to be stronger than our ideas about the other meals and snacks of the day.

That said, I'm ready to head to Malaysia for some roti canai. Yunnermeier et al.--are there foods that a Malaysian would say are just not breakfast food?

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I say to each his own.

As a long time night owl, and now someone who works the graveyard shift, my hours are not typical of most. I am usually up in the evenings between 7:30 and 8:00 pm. and have to be at work by 10:00.

I do most of my cooking ahead of time,and I find that I for the most part like to have a more savory meal to start my work day than cereal, or the traditional bacon and eggs.

By the time I get home from work in the mornings ( and the time does vary form day to day) I like to have my "dinner" and the convenience of a ready made meal keeps me from waking the rest of the household up @ 6am with the smells of curry, pasta, etc.........

Now having said that, eggs (and bacon) are probably one of my favorite foods. I just don't believe that they should be reserved to just certain hours of the day.

growing up, breakfast for "dinner" was always considered a treat and breakfast at my grandmothers house always consisted of eggs and bacon usually biscuits and sometimes the roast and gravy left over from the night before along with a plate of fresh sliced tomatoes, when in season. :wub:

And this old porch is like a steaming greasy plate of enchiladas,With lots of cheese and onions and a guacamole salad ...This Old Porch...Lyle Lovett

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Breakfast at my Missouri grandmother's house was the full meal deal--always a big platter of fried eggs, always her home cured country ham and thick sliced bacon. Add a big glass pitcher of real milk from the Jerseys and Holsteins, an enamel pot of coffee, preserves and jellies and jams. Other options might include pork chops, pie, or a pile of sugar cookies.

Grandpa sometimes had "straw and hay" along with his eggs and such--a pile of All-Bran, with a shredded wheat biscuit crumbled on top.

Me--definitely a savory breakfast, not sweet. Leftovers from dinner are perfectly fine, or eggs and toast. In general, anything I would eat for breakfast I would eat for lunch or dinner, and vice versa.

If I come into work and tell my coworker that I had pizza or a grilled cheese sandwich for breakfast, he practically gags. Breakfast to him is breakfast food--cereal, eggs, pancakes. Anything else is just. . . .wrong.

Edited by sparrowgrass (log)
sparrowgrass
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my favorite breakfast growing up was flounder with boiled potato and succotash. usually at about 10am after doing chores.

course now my favorite things for breakfast are leftovers....

though many times i have a bowl of cereal with fruit if i'm hungry when i get home from work at night.

i'm weird - i admit it.

Nothing is better than frying in lard.

Nothing.  Do not quote me on this.

 

Linda Ellerbee

Take Big Bites

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my favorite breakfast growing up was flounder with boiled potato and succotash.  usually at about 10am after doing chores. 

course now my favorite things for breakfast are leftovers....

though many times i have a bowl of cereal with fruit if i'm hungry when i get home from work at night.

i'm weird - i admit it.

Not weird at all.

I am just up and getting ready for another nights work and have just had my breakfast. It consisted of 2 ears of corn roasted on the grill,also grilled asparagus,a small baked potato and 4oz. of grilled eye of sirloin.

I am doing weight watchers, and have to keep my food balanced with lean meat ,veg etc.... As much as I love cold cereal and other breakfast foods, I find I lose too many of my daily points on cereal and milk, and it just doesn't keep me going through my work day.

And this old porch is like a steaming greasy plate of enchiladas,With lots of cheese and onions and a guacamole salad ...This Old Porch...Lyle Lovett

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my favorite breakfast growing up was flounder with boiled potato and succotash.  usually at about 10am after doing chores. 

course now my favorite things for breakfast are leftovers....

though many times i have a bowl of cereal with fruit if i'm hungry when i get home from work at night.

i'm weird - i admit it.

Not weird at all.

I am just up and getting ready for another nights work and have just had my breakfast. It consisted of 2 ears of corn roasted on the grill,also grilled asparagus,a small baked potato and 4oz. of grilled eye of sirloin.

I am doing weight watchers, and have to keep my food balanced with lean meat ,veg etc.... As much as I love cold cereal and other breakfast foods, I find I lose too many of my daily points on cereal and milk, and it just doesn't keep me going through my work day.

Precisely why I have never liked cereal. I am hungry two hours later. I'll take a savory breakfast any day. This morning it was mole eggs in corn tortillas with cheese, sour cream and salsa verde. I am a big fan of having Thai curry for breakfast, as well as Laab.

Toast and bagels are acceptable, but I find that I am a much happier person if I make the effort to have something that "wakes up my mouth". Spicy preferred.

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So--is our contemporary high-carb, high-dairy idea of breakfast due to the wiles of the modern food industry? If so, they've been remarkably successful. I think we share a very strong understanding of what breakfast is in the U.S., whether or not we actually eat that way. And it's interesting to me that it seems to be stronger than our ideas about the other meals and snacks of the day.

Probably due to Mr. Kellogg... and to the USDA. I dunno. My grandparents owned a farm for a while, and my father told me the "farmers' breakfast" he & the farm-hands ate was steak & eggs, and maybe some fried potatoes, AFTER they were done with their morning chores.

Growing up, my usual breakfast was orange juice, and Rice Krispies with milk, though I recall going through a phase when I insisted on grilled cheese sandwiches. My parents had juice, toast, and coffee.

Constitutionally, I'm usually not terribly hungry at breakfast, and eat whatever I feel like that day. Sometimes it's coffee and a naked slice of bread, other days it might be dry cereal with fruit and milk. Still other times, I've eaten leftover anything -- from cold pizza, to fried chicken, to curry. And every so often I'll get a craving for a bowl of udon garnished with shrimp and cilantro. Of course, if I had my druthers, breakfast would be brunch at a dim sum place.

SuzySushi

"She sells shiso by the seashore."

My eGullet Foodblog: A Tropical Christmas in the Suburbs

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My breakfast is pretty much based on whim, and what's on hand. I don't have a whole lot of hard-and-fast rules about it. In fact, I can veer anywhere from no breakfast at all to "fully ballasted" and it doesn't really faze me either way.

One thing I very definitely don't have in the morning is breakfast cereal. It was on hand for the kids, but on the very rare occasions I had a bowl it would be at night, when I felt the need for something light. That's because on the one hand I find most breakfast cereals (even the "virtuous" ones, like Cheerios) to be disgustingly sweet; while on the other hand eating cereal at 7 leaves me ravenous at 8...hungrier than I'd be if I had eaten no breakfast at all.

I like fruit at breafast time, though it has to be part of a larger plate. Fruit alone also has the effect of making me hungrier.

I try to scale my breakfast to the demands of the day. If I know I'm looking at 16 hours of kitchen mayhem, I'll try to load up with eggs and fried potatoes and toast and bacon or sausage or ham. Most mornings, though, tea and toast (my homemade bread, so it's not as Spartan as it sounds) is more than adequate.

Coffee addict though I've been for many years, I find I can't drink it in the morning any more (gives me the gut rot). Coffee is lunch time onwards. Tea is up until dinnertime, as coffee will not keep me awake but tea will. Go figure.

Pie for breakfast is an honourable tradition at my house. I figured that it was healthier (and probably had less sugar) than commercial cereals, so I never had a problem giving it to my kids if it was there. I like porridge when the weather is cold, but it could be jook and chili sauce instead of oatmeal or Red River. Depends on my mood.

Leftovers rock. Over the last year, I've come more and more to appreciate rice for breakfast, especially cooked up with lots of good leftovers (to my ex and kids, the fridge was a black hole...if I didn't use the leftovers, they'd stay there until they could leave under their own power).

Cold pizza? You bet. Steak and eggs, or chops and eggs? Absolutely. Eggs Benny? Special occasions. Pancakes or waffles? Every weekend without fail...a family tradition (I taught my daughter to make them before I moved away). We'd occasionally have waffles and ice cream for a light dinner during the heat of the summer. My kids loved that.

On the subject of workingman's breakfast, I have to tell you that the biggest breakfasts I've ever eaten were when I was gillnetting with my father and uncle in Newfoundland, back in the late 70's. Unlike the farmers, fishermen were obliged to load up as soon as they were dressed (no bringing the boat in after a few hours to eat...). A solid fisherman's breakfast in northern Newfoundland would consist of one or two plates of baked beans, six to ten fishcakes, three or four slices of bread with jam and/or molasses, and a half-pot of hot, sweet, milky tea. If there was any leftover cold fish, meat, or potatoes from a prior meal, that would find its way to the plate as well.

Considering that there'd be a gruelling 16-20 hour day to follow, and only a packed cold lunch (sandwiches, etc) along the way, it was important to fuel up properly. I do have to concede that it was a lot to take on first thing in the morning, but I was so ravenous all the time that I didn't really feel bloated.

“Who loves a garden, loves a greenhouse too.” - William Cowper, The Task, Book Three

 

"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning

 

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The only taboo foods/drinks at our breakfast table are margarine and instant coffee. My MIL has learned to bring her own and I turn a blind eye to it. :wink:

I never ate breakfast until I was pregnant/diabetic and now, though I am neither (thank god for that) I have to eat something with protein or I feel out of sorts.

Mr. FB eats the same thing just about every day (coffee, cereal with skim milk, whatever fruit is nearby). My sons eat whatever they're hungry for: Today it was sushi rice and soy sauce. Yesterday, leftover pizza. Tomorrow may be leftover steak and green beans from dinner.

Edited by FabulousFoodBabe (log)
"Oh, tuna. Tuna, tuna, tuna." -Andy Bernard, The Office
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During the summer months I love to wake up with a glass of hot, sweet tea and a few summer rolls served with nước chấm or a peanut sauce. I like the same rolls during the winter months but add a mug of hot broth. Sets me up perfectly for the day.:wub:

Shelley: Would you like some pie?

Gordon: MASSIVE, MASSIVE QUANTITIES AND A GLASS OF WATER, SWEETHEART. MY SOCKS ARE ON FIRE.

Twin Peaks

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When in Coral Gables a couple of months ago I found myself in a little Spanish Tapas, Deli restaurant called Xixon before noon and was eating stuffed baby squid in blank ink for breakfast and sopping the juice up with a nice crusty baguette.

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When growing up, breakfast consisted of typical American style breakfast foods like cold cereals & milk, eggs, farina.

These days, I still eat typical "breakfast foods" like eggs. But really, anything is fair game, depending on my mood.

Today, I had fried chicken and blueberry waffles for breakfast.

The other day, I had a turkey & cheese sandwich for breakfast.

A few weeks ago, I was on a salmon croquette & grits kick.

It really depends on my mood.

One thing though...I must have a protein included in my breakfast. A high-carb breakfast leaves me ravenous by 10, 10:30 a.m. and that's not cool. That's why I rarely eat cold cereal for breakfast anymore. It's just not substantial enough.

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At the Farmers Market this morning around 9 a.m. I specifically went to get some pita chips and cilantro jalapeno hummous from a particular vendor. He was pushing $4 each tub but 3 for $10 so he wanted to give me tastes, but then said "of course mademoiselle I know it is early perhaps the garlic and other flavors are too much this early morning"- I wanted to giggle and tell him to read this thread! Whatever tastes good is what I eat first thing aka breakfast- breaking the fast.

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I just love spicy food for breakfast (as noted here) and am quite frankly, very disappointed when all of the Thai food I cook the night before disappears that night. I'm learning to make extra, and hide some of it in places in the fridge the family won't look.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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I just love spicy food for breakfast (as noted here) and am quite frankly, very disappointed when all of the Thai food I cook the night before disappears that night.  I'm learning to make extra, and hide some of it in places in the fridge the family won't look.

:laugh::laugh::laugh:

Susan, I’m with you on the spicy breakfast (no surprise, I expect). Yesterday’s breakfast was leftover Sichuan water-boiled beef (link), in which your prik kii nu featured prominently (thanks again, by the way).

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Breakfast in the Philippines is usually a savory affair. The ever present garlic fried rice (sinangag) is paired with an egg, usually fried sunny-side up (itlog) and then a savory component - tocino (sweetened pork), longganisa (Filipino sausage), ham, hotdog, different kinds of dried fish, etc.... Here's a summary of Filipino breakfast nicknames...

Tapsilog - Beef Tapa + sinangag + itlog

Tocilog - Tocino + sinangag + itlog

Longsilog - Longganisa + sinangag + itlog

Cornsilog - Corned Beef + sinangag + itlog

Hotsilog - Fried Hotdog + sinangag + itlog

Bansilog - Fried Bangus (milkfish) + sinangag + itlog

Tuyosilog - Tuyo (dried stinky fish) + sinangag + itlog

And the list goes on.... Of course the ever present sinangag/fried rice is always there.

There are also sweet versions of the Filipino breakfast with the pan de sal (bread of salt) buns topped with coco jam or sweetened condensed milk. My grandparents love this kind of breakfast. There is also champorado, chocolate oatmeal porridge dizzled with condensed milk (and sometimes eaten with tuyo - the stinky dried fish).

Me? I prefer the savory brekkies like Longsilog or Cornsilog. It lasts longer in the tummy and just tastes better in the morning...

Doddie aka Domestic Goddess

"Nobody loves pork more than a Filipino"

eGFoodblog: Adobo and Fried Chicken in Korea

The dark side... my own blog: A Box of Jalapenos

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I believe in cake for breakfast. But I'll settle for tart, pie, bar-type things including brownies and cookies, in that order.

Waking up in time for breakfast does not make me happy, so I need cake to ensure that no one does something that turns me into a murderous maniac.

Seriously, I do eat cake for breakfast quite regularly. I don't usually have a savory breakfast unless I'm out the door early enough to pick something up on the way to school, and then it's usually something with bread.

I do not do rice for breakfast, unless it's coconut rice (nasi lemak!) or glutinous rice or porridge.

May

Totally More-ish: The New and Improved Foodblog

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if the food is good I don't care what meal I'm eating it. Actually my favorite breakfasts (aside from biscuits and gravy) have been things like leftover Korean food and leftover Indian food. Americans tend to be far too serious about the whole 'these foods are just for breakfast!' mindset.

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This brings back a particularly clear childhood memory from the first grade. (That says something about how much it affected my 6 year old psyche; I don't remember too many distinct moments from that age, just a lot of general ones about my school, home, friends, etc.) Anyway, we were learning about the 4 food groups in class and we were suppose to look through magazines, cut out pictures of foods, and paste them onto paper plates to create a balanced meal. The only requirement was that each meal had to contain something from each food group. My family is Chinese and at that point in my life we ate Chinese food almost exclusively, as my parents had only been in the US for a few years. Breakfasts consisted of rice porridge with various stuff: stir-fried veggies, tofu, eggs, meats, seafood, pickles, whatever. So in my mind there weren't really foods that were okay/not okay for certain meals. The teacher was fine with my plates for lunch and dinner, but she told me my breakfast plate was WRONG. I even heard her commenting to someone that she couldn't believe I had put shrimp on my breakfast plate, who had ever heard of that?! Not only did I feel really stupid and embarrassed, but I also was confused. I really had no idea what I did wrong.

I look back on that episode and I actually feel rather incensed. I would hope these days the teacher would be required to go through cultural awareness training or something.

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