The Junk Drawer: Breakfast food


I named this column “The Junk Drawer” because it will look at something new every week, examining a sundry of topics that I see fit. With today’s problems in the world, I figured it would be a nice change of pace to take a few minutes every week to examine some lighter things in life.  Maybe it will put a smile on the readers’ faces, or give them something new to think about. I hope for the next seven weeks you enjoy reading this as much as I do writing it.

The world can be a terrible place, especially nowadays. Wars are being fought, world economies are attempting not to crash, countries in the Middle East are in an upheaval, and the NBC series “Parks and Recreation” is on hiatus until mid-April.

Despite the problems the world faces, we all have to face a new day each time we wake up. Each day, whether headed to a high-rise office building in upstate New York or tending to the farm in America’s heartland, we need something to get us going in the morning. There is no better way to begin the day, and this column, with the most important meal, my favorite meal: breakfast. It seems people tend to skip breakfast, but there’s no reason to with all the different food breakfast has to offer.

This beginning meal varies around the world. According to, the European countries of France and Italy go minimalist as they start their mornings. Their days begin with a hot beverage, usually a cappuccino in Italy, and a bread item such as a croissant with some preserves. Portugal and Spain start their mornings with bread rolls and coffee, but Spain takes it up a notch with “chocolate con churros.” It’s exactly what it sounds like: cinnamon-sugar churros and some hot chocolate drink.

Perhaps you’re a student who wants to study abroad at one of Webster’s many worldwide campuses. Maybe you decide to head to Vienna and want to start the day the way Austrians do. The custom there is to, early in the morning, have a light breakfast and partake in this glorious meal later in the day with a “gabelfruhstuck” or “fork breakfast,” which is a heavier meal.

Going to the Leiden campus? Get ready to make your breakfast fishy. A delicacy is green herring, which have been brined. Rather than the traditional hot beverages, some Dutch opt to drink warm milk mixed with licorice-flavored aniseed.

In the far East, where the Thailand campus resides, rice showcases its multipurpose abilities by jumping into the breakfast scene. Thais sometimes throw a raw egg into a hot rice gruel, which eventually poaches the egg. Another rice dish, this time with fish and coconut milk, is another possibility to start peoples’ days.

In England, the Brits take this meal to the next level with breakfasts consisting of more than one course. Along with the classic egg, a buffet of meats brings more protein to the table. Commonly seen are bacon, sausage and lamb chops. England shakes things up with grilled tomatoes and mushrooms, but also recognizes the classics with oatmeal or cold cereal, and a cup of tea or coffee. Along with toast, one can find crumpets and buns topped with jam, honey or butter.

But if I want to start my day right, I go with the all-stars of breakfast. Many people ask me if I’m a waffles or pancakes guy. This is similar to asking me if I want money or cash. Both taste great with butter and maple syrup, but waffles seem to be more in the dessert category as they are fantastic with ice cream scooped on top. Add powdered sugar, and pancakes are a force to be reckoned with in the breakfast realm.

Bacon shines in American breakfasts. While this meat is added to sandwiches, salads and just about everything else, breakfast is where bacon shines. Some people smoke a pack of cigarettes a day; give me a pack of bacon any day. Add some eggs (scrambled is my personal favorite) and crispy hash browns, and a tall glass of orange juice, and nothing can stand in your way after a feast this epic.

We have our differences, but we all have breakfast. As Leslie Knope in “Parks and Recreations” asks, “Why would anyone eat anything besides breakfast food?”

The Junk Drawer is a weekly column written by Journal opinions editor Tim Doty.

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