Breakfast, a morning meal, is the first meal of the day and is the most essential course in almost all the cultures of the world. Breakfast is a term that has been coined by putting together two words i.e., “break” and “fast”, which refers to the meal that helps in breaking the fast from the time of the last meal that one has consumed. Breakfast is a meal that is eaten in the morning hours anywhere between 8 – 10 A.M and this meal comprises of foods that are not only nutritious but very easy to digest. This first meal of the day is not as heavy as lunch or dinner.
It is believed that a good course of healthy breakfast is enough to keep an individual going throughout the day. A good meal in the morning not only energizes but substantiates even if one skips lunch at times. It is not at all healthy and not advisable to skip breakfast, which is the main meal of the day, though not as elaborate as lunch or dinner courses. This can lead to many health problems.
Breakfast in most of the cuisines includes a vast range of dishes that contribute majorly towards our daily intake of nutrients. The breakfast dishes range from cereals, dairy products, egg, fruits, fruit juices, and hot beverages. The most popular breakfast recipes are cereal porridge, cornflakes (in milk), omelet or fried egg with toast/buttered bread, casseroles (breakfast variety), muffins, and orange juice. Though these breakfast foods are of western origin, they are popular all over the world now. Along with these, other breakfast foods such as breads and pasta, which are an influence from the European countries, are also popular. These are steamed, boiled or baked and at times even fried if the recipe calls for it.
History of Breakfast
Breakfast is part of all the cultures today. However, the history of the most important meal of the day i.e., breakfast dates back as far as the Neolithic times. The ancient stone-age man used to have a crude form of porridge that was made of cereal. Though, the term breakfast was not coined till the 15th century when, even the nobles started including breakfast into their daily food plan much against the church’s doctrine, this meal was as much part of early man’s diet. This first meal of the day gained prominence in the 19th century when people started going out to work and needed to have a nourishing meal before they stepped out of their homes. Today, there are innumerable multi-cultural breakfast recipes that readily available and also made at home easily.
Breakfast of Different Cuisines
The concept of breakfast is different with different cultures. Some people believe in having a heavy breakfast, while some prefer a lighter meal in the morning. All the cuisines offer a variation of breakfast recipes and these recipes can be/are either modified or substituted with the indigenous ingredients specific to a particular region.
American Breakfast – The American breakfast dishes have been adapted into various other cuisines as well. Though, there might be a slight variation in the breakfast recipes of various regions of the country, the traditional American breakfast generally comprises of eggs (either fried or scrambled), bacon, pancakes, sausages, muffins, toast (with jam and jelly), biscuits and gravy accompanied by pots of coffee. Other than these even hash brown and tomatoes and waffles are an integral part of the contemporary American breakfast. This kind of breakfast is a result of the amalgamation of the US, Latin American and other nearby regions’ cuisines.
European Breakfast – Europe is divided into many regions such as Northern, Southern, Central and Continental and the breakfast of all the regions vary a bit based on the cultural preferences. However, the broad range of breakfast dishes include breads, eggs, sausages, meat, pasta, fruits, porridge, and vegetables along with tea/coffee. Some popular European breakfast dishes are muesli, croissants, blueberry soup, baked beans, black pudding, fried potatoes and mushrooms and bread rolls with butter and jam.
Asian Breakfast – Asian cuisine comprises of a wide range of dishes in the breakfast course. Because of different regional cultural differences and regional availability, the ingredients used in the various breakfast recipes of the Asian countries vary and the dishes are characteristic to the area. Traditionally, the staple breakfast in this part of the globe comprises of rice, wheat, eggs, vegetables, eggs, cereals and meat that are cooked in different ways to suit the local taste. Some of the most popular Asian breakfast recipes are Puri Sabzi, Aloo Paratha, Idli, Dosa and Upma of India, You Tiao of Taiwan, Huajuan Mantau of China, Miso Soup of Japan, Nasi Lemak of Malaysia, and Longtong Sayur of Indonesia.
African Breakfast- Though the breakfast recipes may vary along the length and breadth of this vast continent, some common dishes consumed by the Africans for breakfast are porridge, eggs, bread and coffee. However, the preparation of these breakfast dishes may vary with a specific region. The Waakye Rice and Brown porridge along with omelet and sugar bread are popular breakfast dishes of Ghana; fruits such as Mangoes, Bananas along with Baguette and coffee are specific to Senegalese and the Ugandans are known to consume a lot of tea with their breakfast that comprises of Matooke, which is a cooked banana dish, along with Katoga meal. English tea and/or Malta along with ounje aro or garii, a porridge dish are the popular breakfast dishes of Nigeria. Fruits are an integral part of the African breakfast.
Popular Breakfast Recipes
Irrespective of the regional breakfast preferences, some dishes are popular with many people across the world. Some popular breakfast recipes are –
Oatcakes – these are pancakes made with oats/oatmeal on a grill/oven. They are highly nutritious and ideal for breakfast.
Hash Browns –This breakfast dish is made with potatoes in the form of fried patties or even diced/julienned.
Pancakes – This breakfast dish is universal and on the favorite list of most of the people from America, Canada to Ireland. Pancakes for breakfast can be made sweet as well as savory.
Waffles – This breakfast dish is quite popular with a lot of people, young and old. Waffles are made in special waffle irons and can be served with different toppings such as chocolate, ice-cream, fruits, honey, etc.
Bread – This is an integral part of the breakfast course. Different regions make their own bread with the grains available locally and the preparation method too is specific to the region, for e.g.: laver bread generally served at Japanese and Korean breakfasts, paratha served at Indian breakfast, whole wheat bread and croissants served at American and most of the European countries.
People, who skip breakfast, tend to put on more calories during the day as the body craves for the extra calories.
20% of the body’s calcium requirement is taken care of, when milk is taken (preferably with cereal) at breakfast.