So here’s my dirty little secret: For almost all of my 20s and part of my early 30s, I regularly skipped breakfast.
And by regularly I mean, almost all the time.
So there you have it. I don’t have a particularly good reason for being such a habitual offender beyond the most basic (and perhaps saddest), which is that I simply didn’t care enough to organize myself, to make time, to plan ahead and to prepare.
You see, they don’t call breakfast the most important meal of the day because they feel like it. It is the most important meal of the day. And any meal that’s the most important does require organization, time, planning and preparation.
My lack of all of the above led to the usual laundry list of ills associated with skipping meals: mid-morning hunger, low energy, snack attacks, weight gain and sluggishness.
In place of a fulfilling breafkast, I enjoyed a parade of mid-morning snacks purchased from the nearest coffee shop. These snacks involved coffee and some sort of sweet. I rationalized this terrible habit by telling myself that it was okay since I did manage to eat a lot of fruit and vegetables and I always had a decent dinner.
It is amazing to me that someone that prides herself on being a good cook and baker, someone that prides herself on her family’s culinary traditions and that someone that prides herself on having a responsible attitude towards food could possibly have been so stupid.
But I was.
I’m not exactly sure what initiated my breakfast awareness, but shortly after I turned 30, it began to sink in that breakfast was a necessity and that with a good breakfast I’d be arming myself to have a good day.
I am happy to say that now, in my mid-30s, I have breakfast almost every day. (I still have about a handful of days a year when time gets the best of me and I don’t eat anything. Never said I was perfect!)
From Monday to Friday, my breakfasts are simple, straightforward and delicious. I will eat everything from cereal with fruit, yogurt with granola, yogurt with fruit, hot cereal and toast with butter and jam. What I have really depends on how I’m feeling. There are, however, a few common denominators regardless of what I’m having:
I always have fruit in some form every morning. Whether it’s berries in my cereal or an apple after I’ve had a slice of toast, I eat fruit every morning.
I always have dairy in some form every morning. A glass of milk. A cup of yogurt. Whatever the case may be, dairy for breakfast is good.
I only eat things that I like for breakfast. No matter how “healthy” something is, if you don’t like it, trying to force yourself to eat it is usually not going to end successfully. Over the years, I have learned what foods I like to eat in the morning and those are the ones that I enjoy. I love toast with butter and jam. But rather than eat refined white bread, I enjoy a variety of wholesome breads made with grains, nuts and seeds. And yes I still put butter and jam on my bread because butter and jam are beautiful things and a life without them wouldn’t be much fun (for me).
What do I do on Saturday and Sunday, you ask? Like most people, I have more time for breakfast on Saturdays and Sundays, which means that I can be a bit more elaborate in my preparations. Also, as I believe that indulgence (in moderation) is good for the soul, Saturdays and Sundays are the days that I like to make pancakes, waffles, omelettes, breakfast pastries and french toast. I don’t have these all the time, mind you, but if I do have them it will be on the weekend.
Making time for breakfast on a daily basis has changed my life. For starters, the urge to fall asleep at 11:00 every morning has disappeared. I feel better. I don’t feel like I’m 110 years old. I’ve lost weight. I look better. I’m healthier.
So what prompted this confession? After all of the indulgences of the holidays, I found myself thinking about what I would be cooking and eating during the month of January and that of course led to much contemplation about what I would choose as my Flavour of the Month.
I found myself perusing The Overburdened Bookshelf and my eyes settled on a book called Morning Food: Breakfasts, Brunches & More for Savoring the Best Part of the Day by Margaret Fox and John Bear. Here’s a book that I’ve had for several years but never used.
I suddenly found myself imagining a month of delicious breakfasts so I knew I had to choose this book as the Flavour of the Month. For the first recipe that I tried, I chose one called Kaiserschmarren (The Empoeror’s Omelette). I’m not a huge omelette fan but I chose this one when I realized that it’s actually a cross between an omelette and a pancake that I enjoyed when I was in Austria in 2006.
During my trip, I had the chance to have dinner with Angelika of The Flying Apple and for our dessert, we tried a very traditional dish that was a pancake of sorts that’s then torn apart with forks and served with various accompaniments like stewed fruit. Angelika strongly recommended that I try it (even though I was stuffed) and I did and certainly didn’t regret it.
I was thrilled to have the opportunity to try this dish at home, but this time for breakfast.
If you’re a breakfast eater, I congratulate you. If you’re a breakfast skipper, I’m not going to lecture you. I know what it’s like and believe me, you have to come to accept breakfast on your own terms. But take it from this reformed Cream Puff, you’re missing the best meal of the day!
Here are some recipes for this dish (can be enjoyed for breakfast or for dessert) that you might like: