The United States has a worldwide reputation for a national fondness for filling foods. Those who embark on a journey to one of the seemingly endless number of American cities or trekking across the country’s diverse and distinct landscape will get to confirm this almost immediately.
To get the energy needed for a day’s worth of exploring and a night of excitement, visitors will want to eat a good breakfast before setting out on their American adventure. The oft-described “most important meal of the day” in the U.S. is a bit different than the typical breakfast served in a London hotel or Galway kitchen nook, but then again like much of human culture if you look close enough there are similarities.
The Savory Breakfast
On the traditional American table is a host of delectable foods. At the heart of an American breakfast is the egg. Eggs on the American breakfast table are prepared in a variety of ways: scrambled, boiled, sunny-side up, poached, or as an omelet. Omelets are nicely versatile because while you slowly cook the eggs in butter you can add different cheeses, meats, or veggies according to your taste palate.
Bacon and eggs served with buttered toast are definitely a constant on the breakfast menus of the United States. Other popular meats that are coupled with eggs are sausage links or ham. Then to round off the plate you would have a serving of toasty hash browns or in the American South, grits topped with cheese. For those who don’t care for eggs, another classic savory option on the American menu is biscuits smothered in sausage gravy.
The Sweet Breakfast
The American breakfast also has a sweet side. Let’s start with pancakes versus waffles. A stack of hot, buttermilk pancakes covered with New England maple syrup represents an American breakfast at its sweetest and best. Popular flavored syrups of strawberry, blueberry or boysenberry can add a nice variation of flavor. For those about to head out for hours of exploring, opt for protein pancake mix for an extra boost in energy levels.
The American waffle (often referred to as “Belgian waffles” despite minimal similarities) lends a pastry-like air to breakfast. Thicker and toastier in texture than the pancake, it is often served in solitary splendor in an artful presentation top of fruit crowned with a dollop of whipped topping.
Another tradition to the American breakfast is the coffee cake which, as its name suggests, is commonly served with the classic cup of coffee. Coffee cake recipes abound using a host of flavors and fruits: cinnamon, apple, almond, lemon, strawberry, blueberry, raspberry, chocolate and more. These cakes are best served hot and are often drizzled with a glaze. Coffee cake can be used as an addition to an already bountiful breakfast or it can be the main entrée offered with a side of fresh fruit.
Breads, Muffins, Pastries
Various breads find their way on to the American breakfast table. Golden biscuits and toast, buttered or jellied are a classic. Biscuits are often cut in half and made into a sandwich of sorts using the breakfast meats and eggs. Croissants are a flaky bread that have become a popular side for a more modest breakfast. Muffins come in every grain and flavor imaginable–easy to eat and packed with lots of good things. And for the ultra sweet tooth, there are donuts and danishes which usually pair up with a hot cup of coffee.
The preferred beverage for an American breakfast has traditionally been coffee, served black or with sugar and cream. Today with all the coffee houses, coffee has become an art form, but still maintains a prominent position at the American breakfast table. Other popular beverages include hot cocoa, orange or apple juice and milk. Newer to the American breakfast scene are fruit smoothies and the multiple exotic hot teas.
The classic American breakfast offers a wide range of food choices that are both nutritious and tasty. First-time visitors to the United States are encouraged to give American breakfast a try every morning they’re there. Not only is it an optimal way to get the energy needed for a great day of traveling, but downing a bacon-and-eggs-and-hashbrowns breakfast washed down with hot coffee is just about as authentically American as it gets.