‘How d’ya like your eggs in the morning?’
This single sentence instantly triggers memories of the Tropicana advert – happy New Yorkers settle down to eggs sunny-side up and I can’t shake off the craving for crisp toasted bagels slathered in cream cheese. All I can say is Tropicana know how to sell themselves; if buying orange juice takes me one step closer to the American dream, I’ll take ten.
Breakfast is undoubtedly the best meal of the day. Discussing food is one of my favourite activities but when I met my friend Georgie and we agreed bedtime was a time machine to breakfast for which we both enthusiastically jump out of bed in the morning I knew this friendship was meant to be.
To some, breakfast may seem restrictive. The options are usually toast or cereal, easy to ignore so you choose another fifteen minutes in bed and run out the door with a coffee and maybe a cereal bar for the road.
These people are missing the point. Breakfast is to ‘break the fast‘ and must be respected and therefore enjoyed. I have never understood the excuse that eating early makes some feel sick – am I the only one who wakes up hungry? (Not counting you too, Georgie.) The phrase ‘eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper‘ is rarely adhered to these days what with large and heavy meals served after a day at work, eaten in the evening when we no longer need the energy. Instead, we need to consider eating a good and filling breakfast to supply us with the energy we require for the day.
So, how to encourage new breakfast-loving recruits?
Breakfast comes in so many different forms.
There’s the healthy: green ‘superfood’ smoothies pumped with kale, chia seeds and matcha which can be slurped through a straw or served extra thick in a bowl with your granola minus the milk, or there’s avocado on toast, overnight oats – the internet is packed with healthy options so you’ll never run out of ideas. This ‘clean eating’ fashion encourages breakfast, which I whole-heartedly support, however, its demand for organic, nut-based milks, perfectly ripe avocados each day, and the requirement to have chia seeds in your store cupboard I find rather elitist and somewhat unachievable.
There’s the hungover/lazy weekend: bacon butties drenched in butter, fried eggs, fried bread, fried sausages, fried mushrooms – a haven of fried. Put down that smoothie bowl, it’s the weekend. Although indulgent, this breakfast leaves a streak of grease in it’s wake thus cannot, and should not, suffice the everyday.
There’s the sweet treat: the leisurely mid-morning not-quite breakfast; pancakes, French toast, muffins, croissants, Danish pastries, Nutella, maple syrup – so moreish, and my immediate choice at a hotel’s morning buffet while on holiday, but, like the above, mainly acceptable as an occasional treat.
There’s the in-between: scrambled, baked or poached eggs, sautéed mushrooms, slow roasted jammy tomatoes, squidgy banana bread with raspberry jam, inky berry compote and fresh Greek yoghurt, salty smoked salmon bagels, soft crusty bread delicately toasted and dolloped with marmalade, muesli or granola topped with spiced stewed plums, or my new find, porridge with seeds and caramelised pears. Your imagination, and the internet, has no bounds!
My love for breakfast and the requirement of early mornings has always been a conflict. I’ve been known to blast a smoothie maker at rocket-launcher volume during unacceptable hours to decimate chunks of broccoli into my healthy smoothie, or cook mini homemade hash browns the night before to take on the train as a mid-morning snack. This Nigel Slater recipe for oat porridge with pears, seeds and chocolate, however, ticks my boxes. It’s filling with a crunch from the seeds (which can easily be substituted for dried fruit, granola or nuts), and the molten chocolate creates little lagoons amongst the creamy oats, seducing your sweet tooth.
With a sleepy Saturday approaching, use this as an opportunity to expand your breakfast repertoire. Eat and enjoy! Now, I need to get into my time machine, breakfast awaits…