American breakfast is an anomaly. A hot stack of fluffy pancakes drenched in maple syrup, scrambled eggs, bacon, perhaps French toast or waffles – all fit the bill. But where our breakfast differs from other cultures is that nobody actually eats that stereotypical menu daily, rather on the weekends or perhaps for a special occasion. In Italy, an espresso and, at most, a brioche make-up breakfast any day of the week, and restaurants do not have a menu specific to breakfast. In Japan, miso soup and grilled fish isn’t uncommon, and in France, the first meal is likely a baguette or pastry with a glass of juice. As for Mexico, I remember it took some getting used to when beans and tortillas arrived at the morning table.
While most cultures have various savory and sweet breakfast options, now that we’re not farming the land, most are not so heavy for the first meal of the day. Then again, in many cultures families also don’t sit down to breakfast together as many American families do. To me, American breakfast is exactly that luxury. A time to indulge in your big meal right at the start of the day, relax with friends or family, and relish in the effortlessness of the most basic ingredients in the fridge. And of course, when push comes to shove, nothing cures a hangover like a greasy spoon.