Saturday, February 22, 2014

On Eating Foods at the Wrong Time of Day

This post originally appeared at

The Standard American Diet has very clearly marked out the lines between Breakfast Foods and Lunch and Dinner Foods. And I'm OK with that. I'd never dream of eating salad before noon. It's unappetizing, but also somehow sacrilegious. Salad is a Lunch and Dinner Food. Not a Breakfast Food.

Part of what makes brunch so decadent, so only-on-the-weekends, the way it breaks down barriers between meal categories.

When else do we eat foods at taboo times of the day? Once in awhile Breakfast will make a cameo appearance when it doesn't belong. I remember in college they tried hard to appease the undergrads' young, adventurous desires in a controlled setting by serving Breakfast for Dinner at the cafeteria once a month. But that wasn't enough for us. we'd make midnight trips to IHOP every chance we got, just for a taste of the forbidden.

I've grown out of all that, though, which is why I was pretty shaken the first time I saw a recipe for Breakfast Quinoa. Now, quinoa is a Lunch and Dinner Food. You can put it in salads, or use it as a base for stir fries, pretty much anything you can do with rice, which is also very much a Lunch and Dinner Food. Just so we're clear.

Once I got up up off the fainting couch and put the smelling salts away I figured, if I saw it on the internet, it must be true, and as long as I adhere to the recipe, well, maybe in just this one very special instance with a very special recipe, quinoa can be Breakfast Food.

But then I found another breakfast quinoa recipe. And another. And then, I found a recipe expecting me to throw some fruit and cinnamon on brown rice and call that Breakfast!

Somebody find a measuring tape that uses cubits and start building an ark, because clearly the end is near. I mean, rice? For breakfast? Can you imagine?

Huh. OK. I might have to rethink some things here.

Is the only difference between Part of This Complete Breakfast and Crazy Hippy Vegan Healthfood Balderdash just that one comes in a box with cartoon characters on it? And if that's true then...

Is it possible that even if you don't make it to McDonald's before 11:00 you can still put a fried egg on an English muffin?

Was I too quick to dismiss Mark Bittman's heretical ideas about spreading vegetable puree on toast?

And, most importantly, in a world where it's OK to eat anything you want at any time of the day, what new recipes are out there waiting to be discovered?

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