This is how bored I am with breakfast: my brief excitement this morning was that I’d have something not run of the mill for me – cottage cheese on toasted oatnut bread. I only buy a tub of cottage cheese a few times a year because I’m the only one in my household that will touch it and I usually throw half the tub away because I get bored with it before I reach the bottom. Today I got bored by piece of toast number two. Oh well. Perhaps I don’t really like cottage cheese.
I am not bored with the classic, diner, hi-carb breakfast. Love it. I’d probably order a breakfast burrito and a side of potato and cheddar hashbrowns for my last meal but we eat these delights as breakfast-for-dinner every other week or so. My solution to being bored with breakfast cannot be standing over a range top whipping together scrambled eggs, or cream of wheat before getting us out the door each morning before 8 am. Ditto for prepping breakfast casserole stratas the night before and/or blending smoothies or something. I’d destroy my juicer very quickly if I walked out the door and left the pulpy muck in the blade bowl for hours and just cleaning that thing properly takes more time than it takes to fry an egg.
Also out of the question for me is being a café bon-vivant, dropping five bucks a morning on a croissant or sweet bun and a tea like a happy sophisticated urbanite. I am an urban bumpkin who blogs excitedly about getting two loaves of bread for the price of one overpriced-one at Smart and Final. It’s all about having stuff in the house that you can peel and heat or stir into something worthwhile without too much labor. I don’t do microwave hot cereals and no one else in my house will touch them. Some time ago I weaned myself off sweets during the day and actually don’t really like sticky buns or pastries in the morning (good thing since I am so cheap) so I am definitely running out of avenues besides my standard peanut butter toast, cereal or yogurt. Besides feeling like I should be less dependent on overpriced, overcorned BigAg produced cereals, I’m getting really bored with it all.
Some people love having the same thing over and over again. I worked for the screenwriter Robert Towne while he was adapting the John Grisham novel The Firm and the film’s director, the late Sydney Pollack was in the office many days at lunchtime. (Lovely men, lovely days those were!) The two of them ordered the same lunch from Jerry’s Deli every day for months, it seems, before switching to something else for a day or two before defecting back to their staple sandwich. People who just want their boring meal to be there for them – I see this more in men than women but I can’t be sure – are lucky! I crave variety. When I was breastfeeding my daughter and had to get food into me fast in the mornings I would grab leftover dinner of potsticker soup from the fridge and just eat that. If I did that now, what would I do about lunch?
I think I need to look at international options. See what other folks eat for breakfast around the world. I already know the continental breakfast, sans sweets, is pretty much what I am doing now. I also know from my husband who has traveled in Scandinavia, that their breakfasts will include cold cuts and smoked fish. I could do that but then that’s a lot of processed salty stuff I’m adding into my diet and I might rather bring in those items now and then as an ace in the hole for a low-prep lunch I could bring to work.
I am looking at a site called the Breakfast Panel and their “Breakfast Round the World” page. (There is really is something for everything out there in www land, isn’t there?) It looks like Latin America eats the Western world continental type breakfast as well. Saddest entry here is for Cuba, whose national breakfast since the advent of their communist regime has devolved from sweet buns or fresh bread to split pea soup with coffee. Not a step in the right direction.
If I’m going to inject some variety into my piece of fruit and toast breakfasts, I might have to go more Asian. The more appealing breakfasts involve the paratha and chapati type breads with leftovers like potatoes. This is starting to sound labor intensive and to be avoided but if I routinely kept tortillas around I could probably come up with my own quickie variations. The Japanese do rice and fish and leftovers from dinner. We have a rice cooker and I often make extra rice in the evenings because my daughter will eat rice at breakfast several times a week. Plain or brown rice and a little smoked salmon thrown into the mix now and then might be nice, even if no one else in my house would eat it, that’s ok. One of my favorite non-traditional breakfasts, my husband’s and sister’s too, is leftover pumpkin or apple pie. It does break my no sweets in the morning rule but it is the exception I’m happy to make. But then I’ve got to make pie the day before. I won’t do this often, but I could do it more regularly for a treat and break in the monotony.
Oh well, a day without pie is like a day without sunshine, right? In pie-deprived San Francisco if I want it, I’m going to have to make it myself or drive to Heidi’s Pies in San Mateo (Yes, I know grocery stores sell pies, but I ain’t going there. Usually they are overpriced, and too full of preservatives and/or gloopiness in the filling to hold a candle to homemade.) And if I really look at the this dilemma rationally, and regularly keep pre-made pie crusts in my freezer, I can easily make pie filling in the time it takes to drive to Safeway and back, much less a round trip to San Mateo.
It looks like I can’t avoid more prep in exchange for less boredom at breakfast but rice is easy with a rice cooker. And knowing that most of the world is eating fruit, cheese and bread products most of the time for breakfast, I actually feel better about my plight. The threat of herring, cottage cheese and pea soup alternatives might be enough to scare me right back onto my straight and narrow breakfast path.