What's for breakfast?
Thu, 6 June, 2019
I’m with Winnie the Pooh, totally. When I wake up in the morning, the first thing I think about is ‘What’s for breakfast?’ When I realise it’s Saturday (porridge) or Sunday (egg on toast, then cake) I perk up instantly. You might say I’d perk up anyway seeing as it’s the weekend – and you might be mostly right – but what’s for breakfast should be just as important as the rest of the day ahead.
And yet it’s the most contentious of meals; with the trending views on whether to have it and what to have for it see-sawing constantly. Breakfast like a king or break the fast at lunch? Fuel up to keep going or boost your brainpower by keeping stomach empty? The meal you don’t go out for with a date (unless as a serious innuendo) and the one not included in the concept of fine dining.
What people all over the world have for breakfast is a fascinating study. A croissant and black coffee; pancakes; full English (Irish, Scottish, Welsh); cold cuts (Germany), chocolate (Italy), sandwiches (Scandinavia), sloppy rice pudding (China) or miso soup (Japan). In spite of that wide array, most people everywhere boringly reach for a box of cereal and slop milk into a bowl. Except the ‘on the go’ species clutching the awful plastic sippy cups of coffee who are determined to go for the healthy pot of porridge from Pret and end up scoffing a pastry and a flapjack.
That is the next interesting thing: not many people have the same thing over and over again for lunch, let alone for dinner. Why do we put up with samey breakfasts all year round? Perhaps because it is the biggest effort to prepare it freshly on the day between looking for the PE kit, frantically ironing a shirt and trying to locate the work phone; all the while clutching a mascara wand. No wonder we grab an easy solution. But there are so many things that can be prepped the night before that lack of time is a lame excuse.
I have an ambivalent attitude to brekkie: I go through phases. Years ago I never used to eat anything; I wasn’t hungry until lunchtime. Then I’d have a piece of apple every morning for a time, or I’d succumb to the bulletproof trend or another. Now sometimes it’s just a scrambled egg sans bread, especially when I’m trying to lose weight. Sometimes it will be a pastry or a piece of cake, granola or overnight oats – or just a banana and a handful of blueberries. One of my favourites is also a no-recipe: a bowl of thick, fat silky yoghurt, Greek or strained at home, with generous drizzles of some fragrant honey.
I’m not going to advise anybody on what and whether they should eat in the morning. Full fry-up? Go for it, as long as it’s not every day (builders exempted). Cereal and milk? But go for something better than Frosties or similar sugar-laden stuff. A piece of toast? Make it wholemeal or sourdough. And if you feel like paying a bit more attention to the first meal of the day, I have plenty to choose from.