Folium: Culturally Unique Breakfasts From Around The World via MyModernMet

Folium: Culturally Unique Breakfasts From Around The World via MyModernMet

Folium: Culturally Unique Breakfasts From Around The World via MyModernMet
Creative Commons Image via The LEAF Project

Folium: Culturally Unique Breakfasts From Around The World via MyModernMet

Pancakes and bacon…waffles with whipped cream…donuts…a spread of eggs and home fries with a side order of biscuits with sausage gravy; is there any meal more comforting than breakfast?

Grab your guidebook and head out to enjoy breakfast in a foreign land.  Whatever time zone you awaken in, a great breakfast will brighten your mood, fortify your day and give you a taste of the local morning cuisine.  You may be greeted with platters of baked breads served with a morning newspaper, or a fish stew with rice and vegetables.  Regardless of the fare, enjoying breakfast is a perfect way to start your day of cultural exploration.

Of course, everyone’s taste palette is different but it is interesting, nonetheless, to see how different cultures interpret the best meal to start your day. It is also best to keep in mind that not all dishes are strictly the only breakfast anyone in any given country eats. Sometimes there just isn’t enough time to prepare a full English breakfast and, other times, you want more than a simple croissant.

Eating breakfast began in the Neolithic (late Stone Age) era, when porridge was made by grinding grains with large stones.  Porridge was also a staple of Roman Soldiers’ diets–they called it pulmentus.  During the middle ages, barley and hops were used to make beer, which was served up alongside oatcakes or porridge to hungry peasants.  In 19th century England, eating breakfast had become a more elaborate meal, at least in well-to-do households.  In the 1861 Book of Household Management, Isabella Beeton suggested preparing a daily breakfast buffet that included a cold joint of meat, game pies, broiled mackerel, sausages, bacon and eggs, muffins, toast, marmalade, butter, jam, coffee and tea.

Countries around the world choose a variety of foods to “break the fast.”  For example, a normal Japanese breakfast consists of steamed white rice, a bowl of miso soup, and Japanese styled pickles.  A raw egg and nori (sheets of dried seaweed used to wrap rice) are often served; the raw egg is beaten in a small bowl and poured onto the hot rice.  Grilled fish and Japanese green tea are often served as well.

A traditional morning meal in Israel contains bread with a variety of dairy products (yogurt, cottage cheese and such), as well as tomatoes, cucumbers and olives.  In hotels and restaurants, breakfast may also include various forms of eggs and cold fish dishes such as pickled herring and tuna salad. Coffee with milk is the most popular morning beverage.

The traditional Polish breakfast offers a large spread with a variety of side dishes eaten with bread or toast.  Sides include various cold cuts, meat spreads, the Polish sausage kielbasa, tomatoes, Swiss cheese and sliced pickles. Twaróg, a Polish cheese, is considered the breakfast classic and comes in many forms. Twaróg can be eaten plain, with salt, sugar, or honey, or it can be mixed with chives into a cream cheese-like spread.

Nutritional experts say breakfast is the most important meal of the day, meant to fortify and sustain you for whatever the day may bring.  Experiencing a traditional breakfast while traveling can open a window on what the natives like to eat and what traditions they follow to start their day. Whether it’s eggs and grits or seaweed and soup, a good breakfast always leads to the next best part of the day: LUNCH!

Christine Gill
LEAF Contributor


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