General chatter - Anti-breakfast food crusade/history question

10-21-2007, 01:24 PM
Hi Pals,
I've posted on other threads before about how I rebel against "breakfast food" for breakfast but for some reason today, I want to vent about it and ask a question. My question is: how did "breakfast foods" as a separate entitiy, ever come about?

No other animal as far as I know eats something different in the morning than they would do at any other time.

Breakfast food makes no sense to me. And there is not one traditional breakfast food that I like. So, I just eat dinner food in the morning. It is rarely a problem for me. The only time it is an inconvenience is if I am traveling, or like last weekend when I went to a spiritual retreat and found nothing to eat in the morning because it was all "breakfast food." No big deal, it does not kill me to wait until lunch time to eat now and then.

But still, I am perplexed and I just want someone to explain to me WHY it is that there are separate morning foods. I don't get it.

perfectly good whole grains, cooked = not breakfast food.
process them and add sweeteners and form them into nuggets or flakes and put into a cereal box = breakfast food.

baked potato = not breakfast food
shred the potato and cook it in grease to maximize surface area contact with grease = breakfast food.

just bread = not breakfast food
put bread into electric gizmo to burn it on the outside = breakfast food.

lean meats = not breakfast food
greasy bacon and sausage = breakfast food

sweet things like muffins and pancakes and fruit = breakfast food
vegetables = not breakfast food.

The only thing that doesn't follow this trend would be eggs. I don't think they are bad for you, I just don't like them. Unless they are devilled eggs, which are, for some unknown reason, not breafast food.

It can't be the "fast" reason. There are dinner foods that take no longer to prepare than some "breakfast foods." As far as premade convenience foods, there are things like Hot Pockets that make "breakfast" varieties that take the same 3 minutes in the microwave as the ones with broccoli and cheese in them that are the "lunch" varieties.

I just want someone to explain to me WHY. Was it from the restaurant industry, or army history, or what??? Sometimes it just bewilders the Detroit out of me (almost as bad as the H-place but not yet a cuss word.)

waging war against tradition, one breakfast at a time

10-21-2007, 01:58 PM
I'm not a food anthropologist, so I can't really give you much of a history lesson in this regard, but I can tell you that food traditions and taboos are primarily culturally determined. There may have been a historical "reason" for some of them, but I think many of the reasons are mostly lost to history, and people just follow customs without really thinking about them. They eat for breakfast what they've always eaten for breakfast.

For an interesting look at what is eaten for breakfast in other countries, this is a neat webpage:

I think in the days before refrigeration, there probably was good reason for eating some foods such as cereals and eggs in the morning (because they could be stored without refrigeration). Meat couldn't be eaten, until it was caught, or bought in the marketplace (in some parts of the world, still a daily event).

There isn't any nutritional or dietetic reason for specific foods (unless you buy into food combining theory), so you can eat whatever you want to for breakfast. You can't escape other people thinking it's odd though. I ordered a blt for breakfast in a restaurant once, and the waitress was stumped, she had to ask the owner if it was ok. Now I know in some restaurants, they don't start the fryers or grills until later in the day, but they were already making toast and bacon. Someone just had to grab some lettuce and tomato from the fridge. I couldn't have "french fries" for breakfast, because they hadn't started the deep fryers, so I had hashbrowns instead (which hubby ate, because I didn't even want the potatoes).

10-21-2007, 02:20 PM
Thanks for the link, Colleen. I like some of the Asian breafast traditions mentioned.

You are right about people thinking it's odd! Once at a music festival in the morning I went to the Mexican food vendor booth and asked for a bean and cheese burrito. The food prep woman said, "we are only making breakfast burritoes right now." I asked what was in a breakfast burrito, and she said, "beans and cheese and eggs." I said, "I'd like a breakfast burrito without eggs." She made me one, seeming to understand the "hold the eggs" concept but not the concept of just wanting a bean and cheese burrito in the morning. (!!)

10-21-2007, 02:22 PM
I don't have an answer, but, I feel the same way you do about "breakfast" foods. I can't stand most of them, so, I used to just skip breakfast...I know, a big no no. So, what I started doing once I began trying to shed some weight, was, eating lunch/dinner foods for breakfast -- and yes, most people think it's a bit odd. But, whatever works, right?

10-21-2007, 02:32 PM
I think anything is game for breakfast! I had a turkey sandwich for breakfast this morning! :D

It's kind of funny how it's changed over the centuries and I think Colleen has hit the nail on the head. I like that the Vietnamese had beef rice noodle bowls at breakfast! It's very good, esp. with the fresh herbs and bean sprouts!

I'll have whatever as well. I do like a hot beverage in the morning, though--it's comforting for me. :smug:

But, I do think we should rev up our metabolism's after we "break the fast" from sleep in any way, shape or form that suits us. (And for me, is mostly healthy ;) )

Good topic!

10-21-2007, 02:35 PM
I had a turkey sandwich for breakfast today....I am such a freakin' REBEL!

10-21-2007, 04:34 PM
I don't like heavy brekkies and I know what you mean by traditional morning meals. But you see, its not always the eggs, sausage and muffin combo that peope opt for; that just happens to be popular through tradition and taste. A lot of people I know, get up in the morning have a little tea and fruit or granola with yogurt, sometimes fiber cereal or oatmeal. You mentioned a lot of high-calorie, fat and carb breakfast foods, but there are a lot of healthy breakfast foods that get overlooked.

In fact, my preference would be a latte, full fat milk no sugar and a slice of whole grain toast. But you see, I hate lunch foods too. I could barely stand breakfast. The only time I actually like the poached egg + 1 lean sausage link is for BRUNCH on weekends.. The meal I like the most is dinner.

10-21-2007, 05:02 PM
I don't like heavy brekkies .

Vegetables are light. I like to eat vegetables for breakfast. :)
Fruit is too sweet for me. Except for really sour apples. Most yogurt, unless it is plain yogurt, is too sweet for me.

10-21-2007, 05:33 PM
spinymouse, I love veggies but for breakfast, they're strange...

But I can't even do it. If I had veggies all the time I'd waste myself away!

10-21-2007, 06:06 PM
I like something pretty quick in the morning, something cool (rather than hot) and I want something simple so I make spinach smoothies for breakfast. Before spinach smoothies, I made some other type of smoothie. I can't quite remember what I ate for breakfast before I ate smoothies because I've eaten them so many years.

10-21-2007, 10:38 PM
I have never lived on a farm....maybe it 'cause the chickens only work mornings.

10-22-2007, 01:24 PM
I've often suspected that what we think of as "breakfast foods" are chosen because they're (or in the past were) simple and quick to prepare when one has only a limited amount of time between getting up and heading out for work or school, as compared to lunch or dinner foods: how long does it take to fry eggs and bacon, or dump cereal into a bowl and pour milk over it ? Still that doesn't explain why we couldn't make sandwiches for breakfast (I remember last time I went to Europe, on a bus tour, when we were in Holland and Germany the hotels we stayed at had deli buffets for breakfast and you could fix a ham-and-cheese or roast-beef or chicken or whatever sandwich. I try to remember that for breakfast, this morning I had brown sugar ham and Laughing Cow light Swiss on an English muffin. Hmmm though, that doesn't quite explain some of the offerings on the Wikipedia page listed above, but maybe there's an assumption that you have servants getting up 2 h before you do and fix breakfast

10-22-2007, 01:28 PM
spinymouse, I love veggies but for breakfast, they're strange...

But I can't even do it. If I had veggies all the time I'd waste myself away!

I don't have that issue at all! :lol:

Spinymouse, you know I feel the same way you do. I prefer congees and stir fries (sans oil) and wraps and bean burritos!

10-22-2007, 01:40 PM
Nice to know I have company in my rebellion. But I still don't know why the tradition ever happened about breakfast foods. I guess the reason just falls into the "But we've always done it this way" kind of reasoning. ANOther, I don't have any servants but I've been known to get up at 5am to make vegetable lasagna. Really.
Gary, yeah, those chickens do seem to get up pretty early. As evidenced by audible roosters anyway!

Also I don't understand what green bean and mushroom soup casserole has to do with Thanksgiving, or why people don't drink eggnog in the middle of July, or what cookies have to do with Christmas. It's all so bewildering.

10-22-2007, 01:45 PM
green bean and mushroom soup casserole? I've never heard of that.

And cookies are good anytime of the year, my waist knows that :)

I don't understand why people drink eggnog at all :)

I don't know about breakfast foods but it also varies from country to country. When I was in greece, yogurt and honey was breakfast. When I was in China, it was hot noodle soup.

Last time I had pancakes, I had them for dinner and without syrup. I've actually received comments because of my lack of syrup on pancakes but I think they taste better that way.

You can certainly eat anything you want for breakfast or any meal but I couldn't imagine eating lasagna for breakfast... Well maybe cold lasagna... but hot? no :)

10-22-2007, 01:52 PM
green bean and mushroom soup casserole? I've never heard of that.


I don't understand why people drink eggnog at all :)...


10-22-2007, 02:07 PM
green bean and mushroom soup casserole? I've never heard of that.

Nelie, it is this recipe:

Apparrently the Pilgrims and the Native Americans really didn't use condensed Cream of Mushroom soup at the first Thanksgiving after all. Shocking. :)

10-22-2007, 02:20 PM
Wow, I've never heard of that. Although I used to love cream of mushroom soup, I never used soup as part of a recipe.

Our family has green beans at Thanksgiving but it is just green beans (although when I was young, bacon was added).

10-22-2007, 03:21 PM
I hope you don't mind that I think your analysis is funny! Yes, it's sad that greasy meats and burned bread count as breakfast. I like them anyway. But like you, I've never had a problem eating non-breakfast food at breakfast. I remember a pediatrician being horrified when I admitted to eating a hot dog for breakfast that morning. (Although really, what is a hot dog but greasy meat? How is it different than a sausage link?).

Basically, the best breakfast for me is one that's easily assembled. So I usually eat cereal or toast up an English Muffin.

10-27-2007, 07:25 AM
OK, spinnymouse, you raise a good question. Why do we?

I had never pondered why I ate "breakfast foods" in the morning, for me, usually granola and fresh fruit. So, I thought I'd do an experiment to buck my lifetime habit and observe the consequences.

This morning I had a meatloaf sandwich with hummus and cherry tomatoes on hard crust, 100% whole wheat, sour dough bread. The meatloaf (very thin slice) is leftovers that needs to be consumed. Cherry tomatoes are from DW's garden.

So far, I haven't experienced the end of the world.

Will continue to monitor the situation and let you know.

XXXXXXX 7 XXXXX|| 14 ||||||| 21 ||||||| 28 ||||||| 35 ||||||| 42
Completed Beck Program-day 12. 30 to go. Keep going!

10-27-2007, 08:22 AM
Thank you Spinymouse!

All my life I have been given strange & confused looks by people when I eat leftovers from dinner for breakfast, or make myself a sandwich. I like traditional breakfast foods, too! But I'll enjoy them at whatever time of the day I want to thankyouverymuch.

I don't know how this silly notion came about that we can only have certain foods at certain times of the day, but I will say that my doctor has noted that what is MOST important is that we're eating a healthy breakfast regardless of what the foods are.

At least I'm not alone!

10-27-2007, 10:55 AM
BillBlueEyes - leftover dinner is my usual breakfast! Actually I usually cook dinner in the evening but don't eat it until breakfast!
Faerie - I get those strange looks too. It amazes me that some people who are very tolerant and open-minded about all kinds of social things and personal choices are not that way when it comes to breakfast foods! :dizzy::?:

Wow, Pals-it sure is nice to know I have some good company in this!!!

When it really bothers me is the 4 times or so per year that for whatever reason I have to go out to eat for breakfast. Our local "Menus" newpaper/magazine came out recently and they post menus for the local restaurants. Some of them had breakfasts posted and it was really fueling my fire; I was practically stamping my feet when I read those breakfast choices. Then I found one restaurant that offered Crab Cakes Benedict. I could order that, and have them hold the eggs, hold the English muffin, hold the hash browns. Then I could have crab cakes for breakfast!

10-27-2007, 02:04 PM
My entire family denies the existence of breakfast food for breakfast. Leftovers in the morning is tradition for us. My mom didn't cook that early and refused to feed us sugary greasy things, so we just kind of learned to... forage.

Today I'm having soyrizo and chickpea wraps. With broccoli. ;)

It's hard enough finding things I can eat in your typical american-style restaurant, so finding breakfast foods? Forget about it. I remember going to an IHOP for breakfast once and ordering the pasta primavera (sans sauce.) I thought the waitress was going to throw me out.

Wikipedia has a great article on pancakes. ( It's interesting to note that many other countries have a long history of pancake eating, but they are mostly served for dinner or dessert.

In Sweden and Finland, it is traditional to eat yellow pea soup followed by pancakes on Thursdays. However, there is no such nationwide consensus regarding pancakes consumption on the other days of the week.

10-27-2007, 02:25 PM
I remember when I was about 11, I made scrambled eggs for the family for breakfast, and decided to add garlic powder. My mom nearly threw a fit. My grandmother tasted them and said "they're good," but to my mom it was besides the point. These things just weren't done.

She has a lot of food taboos though. She would never let me have orange soda with spaghetti or other tomato based foods because SHE got sick on it as a kid.

She's gotten a little more flexible, but often when my husband and I visit, if I cook for them one of my creative concoctions, I will tell my mother it was based on a recipe I found somewhere. I've often found it strange, because she has to realize that SOMEONE invented those recipes.

10-27-2007, 02:32 PM
These things just weren't done.

Yeah, that is exactly the kind of reasoning that has NEVER worked for me! Once as a little girl I asked my mother about something, and I can't even remember what it was that I asked about, but I remember that her response was, "it's just because that is how it is, like how you don't eat dinner in the bathroom."
I have, since, eaten dinner in the bathroom many times.

10-27-2007, 02:35 PM
I grew up hating breakfast foods..detested eggs, cereal, bacon, pancakes. So as a kid I often had a can of soup for breakfast. Then in college I learned to like breakfast foods (because dorm cafeterias cant screw up cereal).

Now I eat a veggie stuffed omelet with salsa and plain oatmeal every day and there are days I think that if I werent married with kids, I would eat that for dinner too. Its my most balanced meal as far as protein/fat/carb/fiber goes

dh and I used to eat eggs on pancakes for dinner often, I like pancakes for dinner much more than for breakfast. If we do make them for breakfast, it is more of a brunch.

When I run long distance though I go early with just an energy bar or gel and then when I get home I want pizza or bean burritos or something food like, not breakfast, even though it is often 8 am.

I think I like my breakfast foods now because 1) I dont have to think I just make the same thing every day and 2) oatmeal & eggs are easy to eat in the morning, some days my stomach isnt awake enough for chicken.

Today I had the oatmeal and went and worked out and now I am having the rest of my breakfast--a chicken sandwich!

10-27-2007, 02:52 PM
I have, since, eaten dinner in the bathroom many times.



10-27-2007, 03:00 PM
I found this interesting

10-27-2007, 04:49 PM
Sometimes I eat leftovers for breakfast too, leftover rice or pasta (grain = cereal, innit?), stirfry or hash, the latter two on toast or on a frozen waffle (but the latter gets into "traditional breakfast food" territory)

10-27-2007, 06:21 PM
I found this interesting

Intersting link, Ennay!
So far I have skimmed / read parts of it. Looking forward to reading it all.

I have yet to partake of the "drawing room" eating thing. :)

Humans are all so fascinating to me/ On the one extreme, humans can do amazing things like find cures for polio and explore outer space.

On the other exrtreme, they can be stymied by silly traditions like what to eat for breakfast, and what color lipstick to wear. :dizzy:

10-27-2007, 06:24 PM
"I'll go explore space when I find shoes that match my space gear" ;)

I read through a lot of that link and it has some interesting history! Thanks for posting it, Ennay -