Friday, February 15, 2013

A Philosophy of Breakfast from Laurel's Kitchen

Some of my favorite cookbooks are from the 1970s, with their woodcuts and natural eating. Only in these can you find "fresh" milk as a requested ingredient for a recipe. Laurel's Kitchen is one of my favorite cookbooks from this era. Flipping through it the other night, I began to read their chapter on breakfast. I found it worthy of being shared, as a reminder to slow down and enjoy our mornings, and each other. The authors go on after the quote to discuss specific food choices, cooking methods, and recipes for breakfasts. I felt more relaxed just reading and imagining mornings like this... Breakfast
Food is the fuel for your day's activity, so it makes no sense at all to eat your biggest meal at night when it's all behind you. Breakfast should include protein and carbohydrate - at least one third of your day's requirement of each - and a stretch of brisk exercise as well. The word 'diet' used to mean not just food, but exercise, too; for the Victorians, in fact, it seems to have implied a good stint of deep knee bends in front of an open window each morning. For a great many of us, admittedly, the sight of anything beyond juice, toast, and coffee is more than we can handle when we first wake up; so when the children refuse to eat more than a bowl of sugared cold cereal, it seems hypocritical to argue with them. The key to enjoying an ample breakfast is to be up and around for at least an hour before you eat. (A light supper the night before helps.) There are hidden dividends to this practice. The early morning hours are the loveliest of the entire day. The air is fresher then, and once you've broken free of the pillow, your mind is likely to be at its clearest too. This is traditionally the time of day which is thought most auspicious for meditation. If you don't meditate, the silence of early morning is still a perfect background for studying, writing letters, taking a walk, or doing those deep knee bends. The earlier you get up, the more leisurely your morning can be; that's all-important, because the pace you set in the morning is the pace you'll maintain all day. Keep your family's breakfast time as slow and tranquil as can be. It might take some hanky-panky with alarm clocks, but try to get everyone together at the table long enough to get a good look at one another. If eyelids are heavy, offer some incentive: a fresh camellia, or a bowl of bright purple plums....Just being together in a peaceful, warm atmosphere will make all the difference in how they get through their day. Food eaten in this relaxed and leisurely manner will be digested much more easily than when one eye is on the plate and the other on the kitchen clock....

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