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My parents were more equal partners in their marriage than many couples of their generation. My dad always made our breakfasts while Mom poured juice or cut up fruit and shouted at us children to get ready for school or church. Dad's breakfasts were never the same two days in a row, and there was plenty of variety: pancakes, waffles, fried eggs, scrambled eggs, oatmeal, Ralston, cream of wheat, ground beef in cream gravy on toast, creamed brains, cornbread (called johnnycake in our house). Dad saved bread heels, and when there were enough, he dipped them in beaten egg with cinnamon; it was essentially French toast made of pieces of crust, so we teased him and called it Dutch toast and slathered it in homemade, imitation maple syrup. Sundays we could count on coffee cake—always. When we had bacon, it came from a big square box of bacon ends—cheap. He made Grrt from ground liver, ground pork shoulder, and barley in loaf tins, which got fried up and eaten on toast. He could do something I thought was unremarkable until I started cooking: he took two eggs in each hand, cracked them all at the same time, the eggs falling into whatever he was making with nary a piece of shell. Dad was trained as a cook in the army during the war and later made his living that way several different times in our lives. He was creative in his cooking, experimenting with combinations of foods and spices. He was the one who taught my mother how to cook meat early in their marriage.


For years I ate the same thing for breakfast almost every morning: yogurt with fruit and nuts, a little granola sprinkled on top as a condiment. But in the Time of Corona, I have apparently channeled my father and am creating a much more varied repertoire. Perhaps it's because the sameness of the days needs some spicing up (pun intended). I make heart-shaped mini-waffles; roasted corn mush (pictured) with little surprises—date bites, sunflower seeds and walnuts ; oatmeal mixed with chia seeds; ta'niil (blue corn mush); a Dutch treat called dikke rejst, which is rice (sometimes mixed with barley) re-cooked in milk with maple syrup or honey; yogurt and fruit; the occasional fried egg.


Sometimes I make what Cheyenne's friend (and mine), Amber, calls an "Anna Redsand breakfast," which makes me chuckle because it's just a continental breakfast, really. It's not what some American hotels call continental. When Cheyenne and I lived in Cuba, we sometimes stayed overnight during an Albuquerque trip at a hotel on Menaul. Their idea of a continental breakfast was donuts and orange soda. In European hotels, a continental breakfast is a veritable feast of meats, cheeses, eggs, pastries and fruits. An Anna Redsand breakfast is something in between—no sodas, thank you very much. It might include eggs scrambled with veggies, toast, a couple of cheese choices, pinto beans, bacon, a fruit salad, perhaps mimosas, French press coffee and a variety of teas. Little can give me greater pleasure than having a bunch of Cheyenne's friends or mine over for breakfast.


Food is not matter

but the heart of matter,

the flesh and blood of

rock and water, earth and sun.


Food is not a commodity

which price can capture,

but exacting effort,

carefully sustained,

the life work of countless



With this cooking I enter

the heart of matter,

I enter the intimate activity

which makes dreams materialize.


~ Edward Espe Brown


What are you having for breakfast these days? Do you have a breakfast memory to share?


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