A good way to become more mindful about one’s morning routine, is to be an overnight guest. The first time I stayed overnight with my boyfriend, I observed what he did and the order in which he performed his morning habits. One of the last things he did before starting the rest of the day was to eat breakfast.
During breakfast that morning, I compared my observations about his morning with what I do most mornings. He confided that actually, his usual morning routine is almost the same as mine. He had changed his behavior for that morning because doing stuff in the particular ways and in a particular order seemed to conform to the stereotypical American morning. In doing this, he hoped I would be impressed.
It turned out that we do three main parts of the morning in much the same way each day. First is bathing or showering, second is making the bed, third is eating breakfast. Our other preparations are in different orders, but those three major activities are taken care of each day in the same order.
Surprisingly, our breakfasts consist of the same types of food, with one major difference–meats. BF sometimes has bacon or sausage with a hot breakfast and I abstain from eating meat all the time. Because both of us are busy, our default breakfast food is cold cereal. The idea is to eat something before going out to the busy world.
Several years ago, I was the house-guest of my friend Graham in the UK. He is married to a fun-loving, busy lady and, at the time, his two children were primary school pupils. The family’s routine was busy, but not frantic. Their breakfasts were not much different from my own, except the types of cold cereal are different in England.
Whenever Graham and I were out and about, we usually had breakfast away from home. He always ate a traditional English breakfast. Most often, eateries serve orange juice, stewed fruit, eggs, sausages, baked beans, fried mushrooms and/or onions, and toast with jam or marmalade. Graham is a traditionalist and drinks tea with his meal.
I mentioned that, baked beans seem incongruous with breakfast. I just couldn’t wrap my mind around eating them first thing in the morning. My friend challenged me to order the vegetarian version of an English breakfast complete with baked beans. So, I did. I actually enjoyed having the beans as part of breakfast. It was an interesting experience, but one I did not repeat after returning home to Nebraska.
One other note about non-American breakfasts include the morning meals I enjoyed in rural South India. I was the guest at a spice and betal nut farm near the city of Mysuru. After I put away the bedroll and showered, breakfast was served. Padmini, the lady of the household, had been awake two hours before the rest of the family woke up. She had been busy preparing their usual morning breakfast.
She usually served dosa (a type of crepe) along with a lentil based curry called upma. The children liked something called Poori and Aloo Masala, so Padmini usually prepared that in the morning. I can only describe it as the Indian equivalent of dumplings. The foods were served on a banana leaf accompanied by yogurt that she prepared herself. There were dishes with vegetables, rice, and various chutneys we were encouraged to eat, too. The drinks were delicious sweet chai or strong milk-coffee.
The manner in which the family was served breakfast was a culture shock to me because of my egalitarian personality. The adult males, including me, sat at the kitchen table and were served first. The young children sat cross-legged on the floor and were served next. We men and the kids ate at the same time. It was only after everyone else had consumed the meal, that Padmini would eat her breakfast. She ate from her husband’s banana leaf.
Those Indian breakfasts are some of the most noteworthy, and memorable meals I enjoyed while in South Asia. Just recalling and writing about them makes me wish there was an Indian breakfast waiting for me now.
There won’t be an Indian breakfast, nor an English breakfast to eat today. Because I’m in kind of a hurry, I’ll prepare a mushroom and cheese omelet with a side of leftover vegetables.