History Of Breakfast Around The World

The English term “breakfast” refers to the process of breaking the fasting period you had during the night and preparing the body by giving it the right nutrients for the following day. This is why they say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But how can we really know if we are eating the right foods when, around the world, there are so many different – completely opposite in some cases – menus to begin a day with? Well, the distinctions are not given necessarily by the different understanding of what healthy means, but by tradition and what the ancestors from each region used to eat.

In Europe

During the Middle Ages, eating breakfast was not something that people were encouraged to do. In some parts of the continent, breakfast was even banned because any person who felt the need to eat in the morning was considered to be a sinner. Strictly connected to this concept, the idea that only poor people who had to work through the day would eat breakfast was soon formed. Only in the 16th century, after new foods were brought on the continent, an expensive breakfast began to be considered a sign of power and well-being.

Today, each European nation has a list of traditional foods that are more likely to be served by natives in the morning. Among these, the most famous breakfast menus are the ones served in Great Britain, where a typical breakfast includes sausages, eggs, baked beans and bacon, and the traditional French breakfast, which is known for the croissant, brioche and the popular pain au chocolat.

In North America

The first colonists relied heavily on the cornmeal that was given to them by Native Americans. This ingredient would later influence the whole development of American cuisine, multiple recipes being prepared with it. Later on, once with the Industrial Revolution and the birth of the bourgeoisie class, many Americans got the chance to improve the quality of their breakfast menu: eggs, meat, fish, fruits, cereals and pastry were only some of the items that were consumed in the morning on a regular basis. More or less, today’s menu is similar to the one of the 19th century.

In the same period of time, here as well as in Europe, breakfast began to refer to a meal of cereals. Their large scale production and the fact that less persons had time to prepare a fresh, consistent morning meal made cereals (with milk or not) the perfect alternative. It was healthy, nutritional and it could be prepared even by children.

In Asia

In many parts of the Asian continent, breakfast was not perceived as a meal per se for a very long time. For this reason, lunch and dinner consisted of a large number of nutritional foods. As a consequence, relatively few states have today well-established morning menus. While in the present, many persons have started to adopt western culinary tendencies, a common traditional breakfast in China and Japan, for example, includes rice, eggs, vegetables, meat or fish. Korea, Thailand, Taiwan and Vietnam also have quite similar cuisines when it comes to what people tend to eat in the morning.


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