For those of you that know me, I am a bit obsessed with breakfast. I love the idea that it’s a meal that is considerably different than other meals, and I love the idea that the idea of what breakfast is differs from country to country and yet has similar elements, like eggs and pastries. I love cereal, and when I was younger, I used to beg to eat it for lunch and dinner, and the best night in the house was the night that my dad would make French Toast at night. I felt like somehow I was bucking the system.
So, having realized that I can eat breakfast foods whenever I want because I’m an adult, I have now moved on to my new goal of sampling breakfast from as many other countries as I can. So far I’ve just had Pakistani breakfast, courtesy of Kumail, and it’s Halva Puri, a slightly sweet thick porridgey substance, eaten with puri, a small fried flat bread. It’s heavenly. They also eat Nihari, a very heavy meat stew. I can’t see how people stay awake after eating it, let alone use it to start their day.
Here are some of the breakfasts I must eat in my lifetime:
Colombia- changua, which is a milk, scallion, and cheese soup, and tamale tolimense, a tamale made with rice, dry legumes, beef, chicken and pork, egg, potato, and seasonings, covered with a maize dough, cooked while wrapped in a banana leaf
Iceland- pickled fish and pancakes
Egypt- ful medames, slow cooked fava beans with olive oil, lemon juice and garlic
Eastern Europe- various kinds of savory or sweet pastry, with cheese, meat or jam filling
Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam- fun sounding soups, like pho, banh cuon, hu tieu, banh bao, and banh mi
The Fujian province of China- rice porridge served with side dishes like pickled vegetables and century eggs, which are eggs preserved in rice and salt for several weeks until they look like this
Japan-rice, miso soup, grilled fish, raw egg, and a pickled vegetable. A lot of hotels in NYC serve Japanese breakfast in order to cater to Japanese businessmen.
Hungary- bread, bread rolls or crescent-shaped bread, toast, pastries with different fillings (sweet and salty as well), butter, jam or honey, eggs in different forms, salami, cold cuts, cheese, vienna sausage with mustard
European breakfasts all sound fantastic, but they’re all basically eggs, breads, sausages, jams, etc. Lovely, but kind of a snoozefest
Africa- katogo- a combination of green cooking bananas mixed either in a stew from beef or in sauce from vegetables like beans
Kinda beats the shit out of our Raisin Bran, huh? You would think so, but did you know that modern version of cereal was invented for use in a sanitarium? The first rudimentary cereal had been invented in the late 1800s, was given the creepy name of Granula, and was made of hardened wheat cakes that had to soak in water overnight so that they could be eaten, so it never went anywhere. But John Harvey Kellogg, who ran a sanitarium that focused on holistic methods of curing what ails ya, decided that grains were the key to good mental health, and invented them in 1897. His Kellogg’s Corn Flakes, along with his regiment of enemas and exercise, got popular. (I should say that Kellogg wasn’t a total genius, he also felt that nutrition would keep people from sexual feelings, which were evil, and he preached against sexually transmitted diseases and masturbation with equal vigor. He started a “war against passion”, advising parents to put cages around their children’s genitals if they were caught masturbating. So you know, yay! cereal, boo! war against passion.) But you can feel proud and American when you eat your Special K with Red Berries, knowing that our breakfast is not only feeding your body, but it’s fixing your mind and your sexual deviancy.
But if you want to get a real eyeful of a disgusting American breakfast product with no redeeming qualities, peep this:
Look, it’s a Twinkie, except with bagel and cream cheese! [takes out gun, shines it, shoots self in head]