February 23, 2008

BagelWhen I was living in New York City, my typical breakfast would exist of a black coffee, no sugar, and a toasted sesame bagel with cream cheese, that I would pick up daily from the Greek café 3 buildings east from where I worked and that I would consume while starting up my computer and checking my emails.

Fact is, I’m not much of a morning person – I’d rather stay in bed an extra 1/2 hour than have a proper breakfast.

You won’t be surprised that I was about 6 kilos heavier when I was living in NY! But my ‘morning person’ boyfriend, who was happy to get out of bed an hour earlier to go to the toilet & read the newspaper, shave, have a healthy bowl of cereal & read the newspaper, and go to the toilet again to read more newspaper (men!), was also much heavier back then…so ever since, I’ve been skeptical about cereal!

(This, of course, all happened in the age BC (Before Children), when cocktail hour would linger until long after midnight and the alarm clock calling for a long, long day at work would ring way too early).

Now that I am a responsible mother of 2, we tend to enjoy a more healthy, typical Dutch family breakfast, called ontbijt:

ontbijtThere are different sorts of sliced bread or buns in a basket (toasted or not). On the table, there will be butter, cold cuts (i.e. ham, chicken, sausage), one or two big pieces of Dutch cheese (yes, with cheese slicer!), and a variety of sweet toppings (jam, apple butter, chocolate sprinkles). Everybody makes their own ‘boterham’ (sandwich). Even my 12-month-old eats his boterham, with cream cheese or pâté and cut in pieces. My 2 ½-year-old loves chocolate sprinkles, but has to eat a boterham with a savoury topping first. We often have a soft boiled egg with it, and drink coffee and orange juice (the children drink milk).

(I must admit that I am still no morning person! My boyfriend-turned-husband still is, and he always takes care of breakfast in the morning so I can have some extra sleep…) ?

Does this sound extensive to you?

I know in Courtney’s house breakfast is a happening: there is oatmeal with fresh berries, or there are different sorts of cereals, and on weekends there are skinny pancakes. Always, of course, accompanied by a healthy mix of vitamins (they are American)!
Staying with Michela in Milan, I found out that Italians, despite their otherwise great food culture, have a sadly simple breakfast: just a couple of good ol’ tea biscuits with coffee, tea or milk!
I hope I can go and stay with Emilie soon because she told me that across the street from her in Paris, the most amazing croissants are sold! A fresh croissant with a café au lait in Paris, I’m dreaming away…

xxx Esther


Comments (6)

February 23, 2008

oh come on!!!
Italian breakfast is ruling the western world!
What do you think Starbucks, Coffee Republic, Costa and the like are imitating??
Cappuccino and cornetto (the italian croissant) have become the choice for those that cannot (or do not want to) have a large breakfast.
I agree that it is quite similar to croissant and café au lait…we and the french are cousins after all!
And to be fair …. when you were here we fed you nicer things than a couple of good ol’tea biscuits!

I actually enjoy german-dutch style breakfasts (and even a good fry-ups) but it is something that cannot happen on a regular weekday, when everybody has to get to school or work in a hurry. It’s a weekend or holiday affair, it needs time to prepare…and to digest!

February 23, 2008

I know… You guys didn’t give us tea biscuits 🙂
I’m just surprised about the differences between breakfasts – I guess you guys in Italy have to leave room for a great lunch, while here in the Netherlands, well, lunch and dinner are traditionally not very interesting: boiled potatoes, veggies and an overcooked piece of meat – ugh!

February 23, 2008

I think you are right, different countries just spend different times on meals. Here in France breakfast is pretty unimportant but almost everyone sits down for a good lunch.
I have to say that I cannot even handle a croissant and a cafe au lait on a daily basis. Maybe it is my time spent in Germany but muesli and fresh fruit has become the norm for me!

February 24, 2008

Wow! I am just so impressed that there are so many people out there eating any breakfast on a regular basis. I always make it for the wee ones but find I end up with coffee and cream as my typical breakfast……. I have been making it a goal for years but falling short, for years. I do not like the typical american “breakfast” food. Maybe it is time I took a page from the Dutch book and abandoned the cereals ??? 😉 Of course I think a chocolate croissant and a lovely latte could get my attention as well….

February 26, 2008

My breakfasts are so boring compared to what’s described here. When I go to Germany or London for work and eat the hotel breakfast of cold cuts and cheeses, fresh pasteries, and museli (sp?) with chocolate, I’m in heaven. I think I ought to branch out more from my coffee and cereal. Although an English muffin and peanut butter keeps me fairly happy.

October 20, 2008

[…] cakes and scones at the counter of ‘The Bakkerswinkel’, they also serve a wonderful (Dutch style) breakfast, lunch or tea in the restaurant area, which always has a very cozy and homey feel to […]

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