Breakfast and the ‘Other’

There is nothing like breakfast to start the day. Especially if it is a nice gourmet specialty like the one that Don prepares. Also breakfast can help you to know about culture. About how groups of people that we call nations reflect their idiosyncrasy in the way they prepare and eat their breakfast.

In my first visit to Japan many years ago I felt in my skin. or I should say in my taste. a cultural shock when I encountered my first real truly Japanese breakfast in the wonderful city of Nikko. I don’t remember now what did I have but I do remember that after I finished I have to run to find a bakery and buy a nice sweet something. That is how unsophisticated I was at the time and I am glad to say that that would not be my reaction if I happen to experience the same situation today.

This is another example. In a few days I will make for breakfast a “tortilla española” (Spanish omelet). To be sure that I did a good job I phoned my mother for proper directions. I explained the situation and the very first question that came out of the other side of the wire is “A tortilla for breakfast?! You have been too long in Canada son!” (That is a first experience for her in breakfast cultural differences).

I pointed to her that here in Victoria in a Bed and Breakfast it is ‘normal’ to have this kind of food to start the day and that for a change I wanted to do something Spanish for my guests. Then she replied, “If you want to do something Spanish why don’t you made nice toasts with olive oil and rub some garlic on top with a pinch of salt?” (And that would be the first breakfast cultural difference for my guests!)

The situation can get very picky with this issue. Asparagus and lettuces I can use in my ‘tour de force’ dishes. What about Broccoli? Or carrots? Definitely not! What makes a vegetable a breakfast friendly vegetable?

So it can be an important issue especially if ones noted that we are talking about the first meal of the day and we want to start nicely the day. Don’t we? But to me the most interesting thing about culinary differences is that actually it happens and it makes this world a bit more interesting to live and experience.

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