Breakfast is my favorite meal. It always has been, and it might have a little to do with my mom. I think it is her favorite meal too, and she has always made sure it is enjoyable for everyone. She in turn, learned this appreciation for the first meal of the day from her French grandmother.
My sisters and I grew up hearing stories about my mother's childhood in France. One that always stuck in my head was about her grandmother bringing in the milk from the cows. Her grandmother would say something along the lines of "Zut alors! It's happened again. The cow has given us chocolate milk!" In reality, my great grandmother would take a bar of chocolate to the barn with her, and slip it into the bucket while the milk was still warm. Most mornings, though, my mom and her siblings enjoyed baguette with chocolate and butter and a bowl of cafe au lait.
Breakfast has the obvious importance of fueling our body, but I think it has another important purpose, as well. It can set the mood for the entire day. We easily forget, especially in America, that food is very closely connected to our emotions (this forgetfulness probably has a lot to do with emotional eating problems). Traditions and routines are important, especially when beginning and ending our day, and they're something I've been thinking about a lot lately.
I enjoy my morning rituals so much, that I've decided to share them with you. I like to think many of them are a little bit French, since they have been learned from my mother. I've started a few of my own though, that at the least recreate the experience of French food, and make my mornings pleasant. Below you'll find tips and links to recipes and products that I use on a daily basis. Profitez-en!
- Butter your bread and then broil it. The act of broiling the butter will make your toast smell and taste just like a croissant!
- For strong espresso-like coffee, perfect for cafe au lait, buy a percolator. There is a link below for the one I use.
- Crepes are easier than you think! My mom makes them every time I visit and they never get old! Here's a basic recipe.
- Freshness is key! Shop at local "ethnic" markets where things like fresh herbs and vegetables and raw sugars are WAY more affordable. A lot of the bigger Asian/World Food markets even offer organic produce, always at much lower prices than big chain stores. You will also be supporting local businesses.
- Eat eggs! They are so much better for you than we have been led to believe. They have been found to make you happy, as well as full and satisfied. Sure they have fat, but guess what? Your body actually needs fat (in moderation of course). They are also high in protein, vitamin A, iron, and calcium. All are important "girl vitamins."
- Have your mom build a coup and raise chickens so she can bring you fresh eggs when she comes to visit! Or you can visit LocalHarvest.org , which is great resource for finding farmers' markets and family farms in your area.
- Speaking of moderation, probably not the best idea to eat pastries every morning, right? Well, I've found that putting cream cheese and jam on toast is a pretty good substitute for a Danish!
- A sugar bowl is a pleasant addition to any table and makes your morning traditions that much prettier.
- Add a cafe au lait bowl to your cupboard. Nothing is more "French breakfast" than a bowl full of creamy coffee! I buy mine at Anthropologie where they are cheap, and there is also another link above. I have one from France too, but it lives at my mom's house with its sister bowls.
Hope everyone is having a wonderful Friday morning!