Starting the Day European Style

by Alexandra Cuoco

One of the most amazing things America has to offer is the “American Style Breakfast.” Some of our best memories revolve around breakfast: going to diners the night after a dance, after a party, because nothing tastes better than bacon, egg, and cheese on a bagel or pancakes. 

Breakfast in America is known for being the most important meal of the day. Breakfast gives you energy, starts the day off, and feels like a hug with all of its carb loaded offerings. In fact, brunch is one of the most popular things to do for city dwellers on the weekends. The breakfast market in the United States is a huge characteristic of the country – and who would we be without our Sunday morning waffles? I have always been a huge fan of “brunching” and was pretty surprised by how I have witnessed other countries do breakfast. 

The European breakfast is extremely different from the United States breakfast. When I was an exchange student in France, breakfast consisted of a Café au Lait (coffee with milk) and usually fresh bread with butter and jam. Some days of the week, my host mom would come home with fresh croissants and pain au chocolat (chocolate croissants). When visiting Spain, there was a variety of sausages, fruit, churros and so much more.

Breakfast isn’t thought of as the most important meal of the day in European countries such as Spain, France, and Italy. It is much more common to have a larger lunch with your family, which is a lot easier in these countries considering students usually come home for lunch. However, since this is not as common in the United States, breakfast became one of our significant family meals throughout history. Even though I do love my order of a sausage, egg, and cheese on an everything bagel on a Sunday morning, I have, over time, come to prefer the European style of breakfast. Whenever I come home from visiting another country and want to adjust, I try to eat a European style breakfast. One of my go to favorites I have come to love is toast with ricotta, drizzled with honey, sliced apricot and a little dash of salt. I personally feel like starting off with a smaller meal is easier on me in the morning. 

There are many small ways you can incorporate European aspects into your morning breakfast routine, starting off with enjoying your coffee. I know as busy as we are, we are often rushed in the morning on our way to work, school or wherever we are going. I know we all love our sleep, but just getting up a few extra minutes in the morning can change your entire routine. You deserve to enjoy your coffee. I once thought my exchange student was crazy for sitting in a cafe for hours, but I have come to the realization that coffee enjoyed is better coffee.

 A second way you can add a little European spice to your breakfast is to not be afraid of sweets. As important as it is to have a heart-healthy breakfast, a little TLC from a sweet buttery croissant or pastry doesn’t hurt every now and then, and it’s good for your soul. Breakfast also does not have to always be sweet, it can be savory. Did you know a typical breakfast in England can have certain delicacies such as baked beans, sausages and potatoes? Even more interesting, a common breakfast in Turkey is cheese, olives and bread. 

Breakfast looks and tastes different all over the world, so don’t be afraid to open your mind to trying different things. It can even be fun to experiment and try new recipes! I’m not sure if I can keep an open mind to trying beans on toast (sorry England), but I would love to try Norway’s standard breakfast of coffee and cheese. If you’re not a morning person, try sprucing up your mornings with more recipes to have something exciting to look forward to. Happy breakfasts!

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