Monday, June 14, 2010

American Breakfast - part 2 (cold cereals)

With my birthday approaching (and no wisdom in sight), I have to hear questions like "What do you wish?", "What should we do?", which I can never answer because I don't really need anything special...wait, I DO need something!!!

I need my peace: quiet, silence, calm.
(Ideally a desert island would do the trick, but I'll be contented with something smaller).

That I can never have a relaxed breakfast has been an issue for quite some times now, so it's time to have another breakfast outside.Hooray!

It'll be an exception, so let me tell you how an Italian - used to either tea-biscuits (those you can professionally dunk to show-off), rusks or double-baked bread (the messy, old fashioned, tastier version of rusk) in a big bowl of lukewarm milk with pure soluble toasted barley - finds her way in this Country to have breakfast at home.

My usual breakfast since we've moved is nothing fancy but a bowl of cold milk and cold cereals with a cup of coffee (or what someone describes as "coffee tasting beverage").

Clearly this is EASIER SAID THAN DONE.
I needed some training before finding the right cereals.
Why?Just walk the cereal aisle in a supermarket: it's perverse.

You'll have different shapes and textures for the same cereal (shredded, puffed, rolled, toasted) and different coating (sugar, honey, maple), plenty of colors (fruit loops!) or chocolate-chips (or chunks, or the all deceiving "flavor"), cookies in cereal form, cinnamon-apple smelling concoctions, old fashioned, quick, space-travel compatible crunchy companions...
Want to start reading the labels or have you already given up?

For me - chocolate junkie, but not sugar addict - plain cereals would do: rolled oats, wheat (puffed or shredded), corn-flakes (although the ingredients' list isn't the most reassuring).

A peanut butter sandwich is something I wouldn't have consider couple of years ago, now it's almost necessary.
But here, too, one has to face the Hamlet's dilemma about peanut butter: plain or crunchy?Salt added or not?What about natural?

And what kind of jelly or jam?
Does anybody really eat mint jelly?

Will someone ever have the time to try all the possible options and combinations?

The many question marks are a clear sign that I am very curious to know how people like their own breakfast.
And even though I wouldn't go as far as to have breakfast with any person I know (a punishment I inflict only to my family) I certainly will do my little survey.


David LaSpina / JapanDave said...

Just stumbled across your blog. Interesting ^^

I'm an Italian-American living in Japan. I'm also something of a health nut, so perhaps I can offer a unique breakfast insight.

In the States, I would typically have coffee and scrambled eggs for breakfast. Sometimes tea and fruit instead, depending on if I went to the cafe or stayed home. I never really found a cereal I liked. Too much sugar. I did have hot oatmeal often, however (plain -- or at times with raisins added).

Here in Japan, before I got married I was eating fruit, miso soup, and french bread in olive oil. Yes, I know that's a bizarre combination, but it worked for me. What I was out of any one of those, I had natto instead. Mmm... natto. (it is a fermented soy bean)

Now after marriage, we usually have natto rice and miso soup with barley tea.

Sometimes I brave the Japanese coffee, but beverage *really* applies here. Not even all that coffee-tasting sometimes....)

Ah, the history of my breakfasts.. how fun.

Mari said...

Hi Dave!
Thanks for the precious insight!
I am an Italian japanologist, so I am quite familiar with asagohan...was never brave enough to try natto - a mental limit, probably.
rice, miso soup, smoked salmon, tofu...all fine with me.
But I always need to have some milk, or I'll be grumpy ALL DAY LONG.

Jane O. said...

Hi Marianna, I had no idea you were keeping a blog until you emailed the link! Since you wonder about breakfast in America, I'll tell you what I usually make for myself and Julia: oatmeal (I get a big container of regular or quick oats)with banana or eggs with toast. On a good day I make French toast with sliced bananas and real maple syrup. I avoid the cereal aisle in the supermarket altogether - it is overwhelming, overpriced and most of the items are not very nutritious at all, despite their marketing. However, if you are interested in trying some hot cereals, there is one I can recommend: Cream of Wheat - I used to love that stuff as a kid - and there is even a chocolate version of it made by Malt-O-Meal. The Malt-O-Meal factory is located in the small town of Northfield, Minnesota which is where I happened to go to college. So the smells of warm cereal bring back fond memories! cheers and happy eating, Jane O.