Bonjour everyone! Hope you started your day off with a great breakfast. I sure did and I’m ready to take on the day! Just take a look at what I ate:
In addition to my new fav – yummy Greek yogurt – I had a few cups of hot English Breakfast tea (one of my favorites!). After enjoying my breakfast, I began to wonder about the whole concept of breakfast.
For years, Americans have been told by their maternal authorities (our mothers) that it’s the most important meal of the day. And, for the most part, Americans have taken mum’s advice and grabbed something to eat before heading off to school or work on the morning. But, do Europeans feel the same way about breakfast. What do they eat? How much do they eat? Do they think breakfast is important?
Europeans and Breakfast
Well, I don’t know if Europeans had mothers telling them about the importance of breakfast, but one thing is for sure, Europeans do eat breakfast and they seem to eat it more frequently than Americans. Research has shown that up to 88 percent of British citizens eat breakfast each day and up to 95 percent of the French follow suit. Compare those figures to the approx. 60-80% of Americans who can be found eating breakfast on any given day. Further research has shown that, on average, Americans skip breakfast completely at least once a week, while in Europe only 60% forgo their morning meal one a week.
Although Europeans seem to eat breakfast more than Americans, it is not enough for European authorities. In September 2008, European Parliament, fearing too many Europeans were skipping breakfast, announced its Breakfast is Best campaign. The campaign emphasizes the importance and benefits of eating breakfast and has elevated breakfast to a public health policy issue. Whether or not the campaign has worked after a mere 9 months remains to be seen.
In Europe, breakfast is quite small, sometimes it’s nothing more than a piece of fruit or toast and coffee. This is a sparse breakfast when compared with the stereotypical hot American breakfast, a la Denny’s or IHOP. Well, not all Americans eat this type of breakfast every day. But, we have been known to eat anything from cold pizza (ahh- the college years) to lox/bagels, cold cereal, donuts, and hot items like sausage, bacon, and pancakes. But, no matter what we are eating in the morning, most of us are eating something.
BREAKFAST ACROSS THE POND
So, what exactly do our friends across the pond eat for breakfast? Take a look:
- ENGLAND – Bread roll or croissant with cheese or ham and tea or coffee; toast with butter or jam; fruit; muesli or porridge; but a cooked breakfast could include sausages, bacon, kippers, black pudding, scrambled or fried or poached egg, mushrooms, fried tomatoes, baked beans, and hash browns.
- FRANCE – In France a typical domestic breakfast consists of bowls cafe au lait (coffee with milk), espresso, or hot chocolate with tartines – slices of baguette spread with jam. Croissants are also traditional. A hot breakfast includes a piece of black bread; scrambled eggs with mushrooms, tomatoes, and cucumber on the side.
- SPAIN – Chocolate and churros— extremely thick, hot chocolate with fried pastry sticks for dunking.
- THE NETHERLANDS – Poached eggs with ham, served on toast and topped with cheese or bread and butter topped with chocolate sprinkles.
- GERMANY – Bread rolls or toast with butter, honey, jam; ham or sausage; a soft boiled egg; and coffee.
- SWITZERLAND – Thinly sliced meats, cheese, yogurt, prepared fruit, butter, croissants, breads and rolls.
- GREECE – Bread, cheese, fresh fruit and, coffee
- ITALY – A brioche (type of croissant) and a cappuccino or coffee.
- BELGIUM – Bread with coffee or tea, fruit juice, cereals, a soft boiled egg… On weekends, people queue at the baker’s to buy their currant loaves, croissants, sandwiches, almond paste cakes etc.
- SWEDEN – Bread with margarine and cheese, smoked ham, or turkey, yogurt with muesli and banana, and cereal.
- RUSSIA – Hot tea; finger sandwiches made with ham and cheese, or maybe lox on whole-wheat bread.
How fun would it be to try a different “cultural” breakfast each day! Hmmm…maybe that’s my next endeavor!