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All About Breakfast

September 25, 2015

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Most cultures have a history of partaking in some kind of meal at the start of the day, or "breaking" their "fast". In ancient Egypt, peasants consumed beer, bread, and onions before heading to work, and in ancient Rome people often ate bread and leftover meat from the night before. In Medieval Europe, breakfast was not typically consumed, because the tradition was instead to eat a large midday meal. By the mid-16th century, though, breakfast was becoming more common in England and the rest of Europe, and the modern breakfast was born! 

Ancient Romans may have eaten a bread like this for breakfast.Ancient Romans may have eaten a bread like this for breakfast.Courtesy of Carole Raddato

Breakfast Cereal

  • Porridge has long traditionally been eaten in northern Europe and Russia, where it was often made with barley.
  • Hot breakfast cereal is still commonly consumed around the world, in the form of oatmeal and grits. Nowadays, there's no doubt that cold breakfast cereals dominate in North America.
  • Cold breakfast cereals appeared on the scene in the early 20th century, but truly became popular after World War II when companies started advertising campaigns focusing on children.
  • Cereals were made sweeter to appeal to children, and mascots were introduced to make breakfast fun.
  • Most of us, children and adults alike, have a soft spot for some breakfast cereal or another, but be aware; all that sugar can really be damaging to your health! 

Add some banana to your oatmeal to give it some natural sweetness!Add some banana to your oatmeal to give it some natural sweetness!Courtesy of thekitchn.com

Eggs and Bacon

  • Called a "full breakfast" in the United Kingdom, breakfast in this form is often a special treat, reserved for the weekend or holidays.
  • This type of breakfast eventually made its way to North America, and usually consists of eggs (scrambled, poached, sunny-side up), meat (bacon or sausage), and grits or potatoes.
  • In the United Kingdom, though, the meat portion often includes things like black pudding, which is made of blood!
  • Just goes to show how much breakfast traditions can shift from place to place!
  • It's also interesting to note that it wasn't until the mid-17th century that Europeans started drinking things like coffee and tea with breakfast; before worldwide ship travel, these things weren't available outside of countries like Africa (where coffee originated) and China (where tea first came from). 

In modern North America, eggs and bacon are a staple of a full breakfast.In modern North America, eggs and bacon are a staple of a full breakfast.Courtesy of catering.fooda.com

Brunch

  • Brunch is considered to be a combination of breakfast and lunch.
  • It is usually eaten mid-morning, around 10 or 11 am, but really any meal consumed between 10 am and 3 pm can be called brunch - it's a fairly loose term.
  • Brunch made its first official appearance in England in the late 1800s and became popular in North America in the 1930s.
  • It's star has really been shining over the last 15 years or so; brunch has become a weekend ritual for many people!
  • Brunch is extra fun because it's totally appropriate to eat either breakfast or lunch foods, which can be anything from toast or a sandwich to dim sum. 

In Hong Kong, dim sum is often served as early as 5am!In Hong Kong, dim sum is often served as early as 5am!Courtesy of thechinesequest.com

You know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It gets your body ready for what lies ahead, and helps keep your metabolism working properly. What you eat for breakfast is up to you, though, and with all these options, you're spoiled for choice. I have one recommendation, though. Take a step away from the sweet breakfast cereals and choose something that will provide a little few more nutrients to your body, like poached eggs, fruit and yogurt, or oatmeal. Eat up!

Have Your Say! 

What's your favorite breakfast food? Comment below and let us know!