Food and the World – Invention of Breakfast as Ritual, Global, Historical, Personal – by Katrina Lund. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports
Given what it has added to my life and the universality of it, I would like to tackle the most important meal of the day. Breakfast is eaten around the world today, but has not always been a human tradition. Romans believed in only eating once a day, viewing breakfast as a greedy indulgence. You would mostly only eat in the morning if you were sick or an elder during this period. In Europe during the middle ages monarchs would occasionally eat in the morning, but not often, and not anything that resembles modern day breakfast cuisine.
The shift towards morning meal time emerged with the shift towards longer and earlier work days. Those rising early to collect harvest would be afforded breakfast by their employer before setting out to the field. Around the 16th century nobles who had the luxury of sleeping in finally started adopting the AM practice with more regularity. The globe’s continual creeping towards routine and long work days for the emerging global economy set the practice in place as what we know it to be today.
Breakfast is often the most vivid meal of my entire childhood. I remember my elementary school ritual of getting dressed with the uninhibited expectations of walking down the stairs to either a bowl of cereal or oatmeal (both dishes reflections of my beautiful mother’s culinary prowess). Weekends meant my father was off work and could cook breakfast for us too, rather than just dinner. Sunday morning was a Lund family tradition. Often some savory concoction revolving around eggs, potatoes and some form of pork. These were some of my favorite moments as a child, and I can still feel how bright those mornings were for us. My mother would say his eggs Benedict was “the reason she married my father.”
This tradition carried on till my Father passed away unexpectedly while I was in high school, around the same time I began to develop separate associations with the morning ritual. My sophomore year at Brainerd Senior high school I met my very dearest friends. The most beloved memories after the death of my father were made with them and we are still incredibly close, if not closer. All four of them are some distance from me now, one in California, one partially in New York/Minneapolis and the other two residing full time in Minneapolis. A fact that is made easier by our constant connectedness via our cell phones of course. Breakfast is something we make sure to share whenever we see each other. Our ideal breakfast takes place at some classic American diner with a classic American plate; two eggs, over easy (“dippy” according to my friend Hana) crispy hash-browns, extra crispy bacon, toast, and never ending coffee. We have all shared this meal countless times, but we will still reminisce about that one time in that one diner. Maybe it was the one with the cinnamon rolls we always share, or the one that infuses bacon with the maple syrup. If we’re at our favorite diner in Brainerd, The Barn, and our favorite waitress Loretta tells Lydia they have pea soup, odds are high we will each have a few slurps of pea soup that morning. Where or what we eat isn’t usually the point, we just love to spend our mornings full and in each other’s company. When they all come to visit me in October, I’m taking them to the spot where my mother and I found our favorite egg’s Benedict in Duluth.
From Professor Liang’s Fall 2019 Politics of Globalization class. Katrina is a student of English and Political Science.
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