September 24, 2018

Food for Thought

Pictured above is a Chinese breakfast with fried cruller, hot soymilk, and congee with sweet potatoes. We also got a sesame ball with bamboo shoot but I’m not sure that is a typical breakfast item.

ntil recently, I had somehow assumed that ”breakfast” meant something like ”take a quick break and eat fast.” In other words, I thought ”fast” was referring to speed. It turns out that it means ”fasting”; you are breaking the fasting you have been on since last night. Perhaps, originally, it was ”break-a-fast” and it was shortened over time, like ”iced cream” became ”ice cream.” It would never occur to me to think of sleeping as fasting, since we, in our modern age, think of fasting as something we consciously endure. But thinking of breakfast as breaking the fasting period allows me to understand why we eat what we eat for breakfast.

Last year around this time, out of curiosity, I fasted for 3 days, drinking only water. When I broke the fast, I ate eggs and some apples. Bread and rice would have been good choices too, especially white bread and rice porridge (congee). It’s basically the BRAT diet, foods that are easy to digest.

Traditional Japanese breakfast does not look so different from dinner, the only noticeable difference is the amount. A piece of grilled fish is a common item. Not many Americans would have an appetite for that in the morning. Perhaps the idea of serving a piece of fish or steak comes naturally if you didn’t see breakfast as breaking a fast.

I’m not convinced that there are any foods objectively more appropriate for breakfast, especially if you didn’t actually fast. I think we get used to eating certain types of food in the morning and anything else begins to feel wrong.

At first, fried cruller and hot soymilk didn’t seem appetizing as breakfast but now I sometimes crave it

#chinesefood #Chinesebreakfast #breakfast #nycfoodie #nycfood #chinesecruller #congee #soymilk