I got this email a “little” while ago: “Hi Mark! Wondered if you could do a newsletter on breakfast; both on quick and/or make ahead options for the week, and ideas for a more relaxed weekend. I’m in a bit of a breakfast rut, and would love some inspiration.” Thanks for the note, and sorry it took this long to get around to it, but I guess the beginning of the year is a good time to talk about breakfast (fresh starts, getting off on the right foot, all that jazz).
The first thing I’ll say, which has no bearing on the recipes below but is worth mentioning anyway, is that most people think too narrowly when it comes to breakfast foods. There are particular dishes that have come to qualify as “appropriate” for eating in the morning (eggs, bacon, pancakes, French toast, oatmeal, cereal, pastries, etc), meaning that the vast majority of things we could possibly eat are relegated to lunch or dinner. This is too limiting. Why should I eat cinnamon oatmeal in the morning and not rice porridge with soy sauce and scallions? If a sausage, egg, and cheese is a breakfast sandwich, what’s a cheeseburger? Is a glazed doughnut really that different from a slice of cake? Anyway, you get the idea; anything that appeals to you in the morning (either because you’re craving it or because it will make you feel good) is fair game for breakfast.
That said, in response to the email above, I wanted to at least feature a few things that might be classically thought of as breakfast-y. For the make-in-a-hurry weekday options there’s nothing better than the fastest and most versatile breakfasts I know: Smoothies and toast. These couldn’t be easier, since you can make them with whatever’s on hand, and the options are endless (check out all the variations in the recipes below). These are breakfasts you make on the fly; if you want something that you can make ahead of time and dip into through the week, homemade Grain Nuts and Granola are two of my favorites.
As far as something to cook more leisurely on the weekend, this was hard to choose. But then I started thinking about what I value in a weekend breakfast: Something that feels like an achievement, but isn’t too much of a project; something that can become a weekly tradition without getting boring; something fun to cook with or without kids; something flat-out delicious.
Crêpes. Buckwheat crêpes. The nutty buckwheat makes them so good and a little different, they’re challenging (but not too challenging) to perfect, and the filling possibilities (both sweet and savory) are infinite enough that this can become a weekend ritual without having to eat the exact same thing over and over again. You can also make the batter a day ahead and stash it in the fridge, so you can roll out of bed Saturday or Sunday morning and get right to it. This is really a dish worth having in your repertoire.
Plus, crêpes are just as appropriate to eat for brunch, lunch, dinner, or dessert. Just saying.
We produce reported pieces, profiles, interviews, and rants about what’s broken in the food world (there’s a lot) and how to change things for the better. People sometimes tell me to just keep politics out of it. Respectfully: No. Food is political. We can’t and won’t ignore that.