World Power Breakfasts
by Kate Heyhoe
Like many world citizens, I often eat rice for breakfast. I may also eat pizza, burritos, soup, fruit, dal, and yes, even traditional scrambled eggs.
Western breakfasts tend to focus on Denny-style diner foods, such as eggs, toast, and cereal— items not often served at lunch or dinner. But in other parts of the world, breakfast foods are not so distinctly different from foods served at other meals.
In Japan, for instance, breakfast typically may include a bowl of miso soup, some grilled salmon, rice and a few pickles. An Indian from the subcontinent would think nothing odd about starting the day with flatbread, stewed lamb, and a bowl of dal. The Chinese would never eat dairy for breakfast, but a steaming bowl of jook or congee (rice topped with meats, seafood and/or vegetables) is as homey as a bowl of oatmeal is to Americans.
Part of my pleasure in eating worldly foods for breakfast lies in my desire for variety, since many foreign foods tend to be more robustly flavored. But I'm also one of some 50 million Americans who are to some degree lactose intolerant. A lifetime of avoiding milk has kept me from developing a craving for breakfast cereals, though I can enjoy a certain amount of cheese. And being raised by my Asian mother, I find rice and noodles to be my own comfort food in the morning, much more so than scrambled eggs or pancakes.
Speaking of pancakes, let's talk about sugar: I'm not the only one whose metabolism does roller-coaster convulsions with a breakfast of sugary foods. Some folks define the perfect eye-opener as a donut, Pop-Tart, or plate of waffles swimming in syrup, but my body simply O.D.'s on that much glucose, and many others assure me that sugar adversely affects them as well, especially as the first meal of the day.
I'm not going to get into the pro's and con's of what foods are best to eat for breakfast— other than to say you should eat what you like and strive for balance throughout the day. Your body knows what it needs, so listen to it. Studies have shown that when kids were allowed to eat anything they wanted for breakfast, they often opted for pizza and burritos, but in fact, these foods tended to be healthier and better balanced than the Sugar-Pops and other "breakfast" foods they were used to eating. In fact, many of the so-called "ethnic beakfasts" have another advantage: they tend to incorporate more vegetables than standard Western fare.
Daylight savings time is now in full swing, so enjoying a power breakfast from one of the exotic ends of the earth helps get me through the longer days. I hope you join me in being a bit adventuresome with your morning meal. The Pasta Frittata and Teriyaki Salmon-Rice Bowls are personal favorites, partly because they can be assembled from leftovers like pasta, rice and poached salmon. But I also suggest grilled polenta squares topped with chopped tomatoes and basil, Indian samosas (vegetable filled pastries), and Chinese-style fried rice— all tasty, nontraditional breakfasts, and ones which may open your eyes in more ways than one.
Kate's Global Kitchen for April, 2000:
4/01/00 Food Jokes and Joke Foods
4/08/00 Easter and Passover Menus: From Nice to Greece
4/15/00 Spring Centerpiece Sides: Phyllo Baskets, Veggie Matchsticks, and Glorious Gratins
4/22/00 Easter Lore & Post-Easter Eggs
4/29/00 Wake-Up: It's Daylight Savings Time! World Power Breakfasts
Coming in May...
Mi Casa Es Su Casa Month: Celebrating Mexican Home Cooking
This page created April 2000
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