Should breakfast be a time for innovation?

Shakshuka

The Guardian just asked an interesting question: "Breakfast: too early for culinary innovation?" Apparently in Britain an organization is running a contest asking for the best breakfast recipe, and one of the categories is for the most innovative breakfast. Of course, this leads to the first problem - defining innovation. Apparently it's being defined in the contest as "Something a bit different - a dish with unusual ingredients or flavour combinations or ingredients sourced from local suppliers," which, as the Guardian points out, keeps the bar pretty low.

However, that doesn't take away from an intriguing speculation -   whether the world can be divided into breakfast traditionalists or breakfast innovators. We'd describe the difference as someone who eats only from a limited menu every morning (cereal perhaps occasionally broken up by eggs or panakes) or someone who varies the routine and eagerly tries something new.

But, as The Guardian points out, people may make different choices at different times. They prefer to look at it as a question of what kind of morning you're having. They describe the usual day as "Day to day, most of us rise reluctantly. We're sleep-deprived carcasses stumbling blearily into a cold and hostile world. For the first hour, at least, you are simmering with resentment at actually being out of bed. Even if you're not already running late, it is painful to do anything more than pour milk on to cereal, pop bread in a toaster, or maybe boil an egg. The last thing you want is to be faced with complex flavours that require you to think."

But then there's the occasional morning when you wake up hale and hearty and "you're definitely open to more adventurous suggestions." Or, in sharp contrast, it's a truly awful morning, "when all breakfast bets are off, and that's when you're mortally hungover. In such desperate times, you need sugar, you need carbs, you need help. And you need it now. Over Christmas, particularly, this is when a can of full-fat Coke and the remnants of last night's trifle or Sara Lee double chocolate gateau come into their own. Cold from the fridge, they are balm for a broken soul."

They end the article with a variety of questions, which we think would be good not only to ask yourself but also your family members. These questions may provide some very good self-reflection, or at least dredge up some fun memories:

"Do you crave more variety at breakfast? Is it time we looked beyond cereal and toast, and broke the back of that powerful boiled and scrambled heggemony? Which country has breakfast nailed? And what's the strangest thing that you've ever eaten first thing?"

We'd love to hear your answers. And, if you decide to change the pace a bit, take a look at the over 6,000 online recipes we have at the EYB library that can be categorized as appropriate for breakfast. One of the most popular will take you out of any  rut, Yotam Ottolenghi's recipe for Shakshuka (North African skillet and eggs), which comes with a video.

Photo of Shakshuka courtesy of the Guardian

3 Comments

  • boardingace  on  12/9/2013 at 9:22 PM

    I love both traditional/simple breakfasts and making a special breakfast, too. I will often make special breakfasts for lunch, too. Tomorrow I'm making crepes with four topping options (all sweet) from Cook's Illustrated magazine. I could eat breakfast at any time of day, simple or complicated, sweet or meat-based. My husband doesn't like it for dinner though :)

  • Queezle_Sister  on  12/10/2013 at 7:33 AM

    Breakfast might be my favorite meal.... Most of the time I'm fairly boring, doing some version of oatmeal. However, when I've traveled in Asia, I have loved the exotic breakfasts. I forgo their platters of tasteless pastries, and head for the rice-based porridges with many bowls of indecipherable mix-ins. And in Korea, I was surprised to be served corn soup for breakfast. At home, though, the fanciest I get is a home-grown poached egg on toasts slathered with smoked-paprika tomato jam (recipe from Food in jars).

  • sir_ken_g  on  12/10/2013 at 8:23 AM

    Usually home breakfasts are boringly similar except when we have waffles, or potato pancakes, or Dim Sum from the Asian store. However I love the breakfast buffets when I travel abroad. The English Breakfast, the European breakfasts with cold meats and cheese, the huge buffet in Tel Aviv, the half western half Japanese buffet in Japan, the multicultural ones in south east Asia (pho, Dim Sum, exotic fruits, and an omelet if you wish). The best part is that you can try things - no risk. PS avoid the nato - fermented Japanese soy beans.

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