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The word “breakfast” is simply a contraction of words that connote the breaking of the fasting period of the previous night. It is said that the word came into common use in the 15th century to describe the morning meal.

I have come to realize that my favorite meal of the  day is, hands down, that very meal, breakfast.  Some of this conclusion may emanate from the fact that my other meals eaten out have historically not been terribly delicious, or maybe I am just hungrier in the morning than at later times.  I know there are people who downplay the benefits of breakfast, but to me a couple of fried or poached eggs with crispy bacon and a slice of multi-grain toast to soak up the yolk is a joy not often matched.

It’s interesting that dieticians and doctors differ on the importance of breakfast to a healthy body, with some echoing the position that breakfast is the “most” important meal of the day while others say simply that it is “important.”

This momentous realization of my favorite meal caused me to pause to think what people in other countries eat for their first meal of the day and, with the assistance of Wikipedia, the following information was brought to light:

  • In Italy the normal breakfast is caffé latte with some form of bread and a sweet spread.  There is also likely some cookies and hot coffee or hot tea.
  • In Germany you’ll find some type of bread, ham and cheeses, cold cuts, eggs, coffee or tea, with cereals becoming more popular than before.
  • In the UK and Ireland your breakfast will probably be a dish of cereal or porridge, toast or bread spread with jam or marmalade, tea and coffee.
  • In Cuba urban areas serve café con leche with a sweetener and a little salt, and Cuban bread cut in lengths and dipped into the coffee.  In rural areas, farmers eat pork, beans and white rice with their café con leche.
  • In Jamaica you are likely to be served saltfish, thick highly seasoned crabmeat soup, boiled green bananas and fried dumplings.

Breakfast in the US depends in part on the region of the country you are visiting.  A typical breakfast in most parts includes hot or cold cereals, eggs, breakfast meats, pancakes, waffles or biscuits.  In the South of the country, grits and biscuits with gravy are normal additions.  Bagels and doughnuts are often popular in busy places where there is not much time for too many starters.  Of course, coffee is commonly part of the meal and many people accompany their breakfasts with orange, tomato or other juices.  And, milk is widely enjoyed, not just by children but by people of all ages, especially those who start their days with cereals.

So, the next time you sit down for a delicious breakfast in your home or elsewhere, take a moment to think about what your counterparts are eating elsewhere in this world.  You already know what I’m eating.

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