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The Most Important Meal Of The Day

I've never been a breakfast person.

Don't get me wrong. I love breakfast food. Bacon, eggs, sausages, grits, oatmeal, pancakes, waffles. Most of my tried and true comfort foods, hangover cures, hurry-up-and-eat meals are breakfast food. But food in the morning isn't something I'm very good at stomaching.

I think, when I was in third or fourth grade, I convinced my mom to let me have Carnation Instant Breakfast every morning, because solid food early in the morning made me feel nauseated. Occasionally, someone could get me to eat a plain semolina roll or something like that. But that was the end of my use for breakfast. The best I've done for myself as an adult in the breakfast realm has been a bottle of Coke when I'm not feeling super well.

I'll eat breakfast with my family sometimes, but breakfast the way we do breakfast is like brunch-- later in the morning, or in the early afternoon. I love a good brunch. I had one of the best brunches ever last weekend: brussels sprouts hash with bacon and poached eggs.

But that's it.

And then, a little over a year ago, I realized something. I was getting hungry well before lunch. I started stocking granola bars in my desk drawer. And I was eating far too much when I finally did get to lunch, because my stomach had been rumbling all morning.

So I started a little experiment called eating breakfast.

I started with English muffins. Then I realized that the cafeteria had bialys and charged the same for the larger, delicious oniony thing. And I remembered liking them so much when I was a kid, but I hadn't had a bialy in years. The cafeteria has bagels, too, of course, but like all good spoiled New Yorkers, I can't deal with a bagel that wasn't made freshly right in my face, and toasting bagels is a sacrilege. Well. Toasting bagels is reserved for bagels that are more than an hour old, and that is beyond the boundaries of acceptability, so we can't have that. (I've always posited that you can more or less guess who is or is not a New Yorker by whether they toast a bagel that's not for a sandwich). Bialys, on the other hand, because of their breadier texture, are fine if they're six or seven minutes old, and really delicious toasted.

Now, more than a year later, breakfast is a ritual for me. I love when I can incorporate a new ritual successfully into my routine.

I get a bialy. I choose my bialy based on the best combination of puffiness, golden-brownness, and onionyness. I set the toaster to speed: 4, heat: 9. While the bialy is in the toaster, I get a small takeaway container to put it in. Sometimes I get a soda from the fountain. Then I go back, relieve the toaster of my now-piping-hot bialy, and put the bialy in the takeaway box.

Then I cover it in butter.

By the time I get up to my desk to eat it, the butter is entirely liquid, in the bottom of the container. I move the bottom of the bialy, which is now saturated all the way through with melted butter, into the top half of the container, and I eat the top half of the bialy first, dunking it in the melted butter. Then I repeat this with the bottom half, which is the best half, as it is toastier, crispier, and is already soaked with butter.

I'm not ravenous by lunch any longer. I don't eat stupid amounts of food: a one-dollar bialy in the morning saves me between $2-4 on average in the afternoon. And oh my god the melted butter.

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Mmmm butter soaked bialy.

I wish I could get bialys here. I've tried once or twice with sad results.

Aw, this is tragic. If I remember, I will bring some to Readercon next year.

I am not familiar with bialys. I can foresee this changing in the near future.

Hooray for a successful experiment!

Yeah, I am discovering that these aren't really a thing outside of New York?

Also that there is a categorization "Jewish Breads" on Wikipedia.

I will happily claim bagels as Jewish Breads.

They used to sell bialys at the Noah's New York Bagels in the town where I went to high school (definitely not New York). That was back when they closed for Passover every year. When the bakery changed owners they stopped closing for Passover and stopped selling bialys.

I toast bagels so the peanut butter melts.

I actually almost said something in the post specifically about how peanut butter qualified as a sandwich for just this reason! Also, peanut butter belongs on crunchy things. I tend to do my peanut butter on english muffins, though.

I have to wait at least an hour before I can eat anything. But I do eat breakfast...just not as soon as I wake up. Your breakfast sounds yummy!

Same here-- I can't eat first thing in the morning. But by the time I get to work, I'm plenty able to eat.

I have so many comments!

1 - I used to manage a bagel shop in Richmond, we did *not* toast the bagels, the owners finally compromised because we would get asked almost daily by at least one patron and so they got a normal kitchen toaster and kept it by the trash can. Customers who needed to toast their bagels weren't exactly pleased, but they were appeased.

2 - Morning bleh not wanting food feelings! I know those! Intimately! MY WHOLE LIFE. A year and a half ago I found a cause for it. I am subject to the "Dawn effect" for glucose readings, essentially my blood sugar spikes stupid high before dawn and not only does it make me comatose and hard to wake up but the whole nausea thing. Learning to prevent that spike (which is hard stupid since you know, sLEEPING) has made a huge difference. Oh also, my own personal avoidance of that feeling is part of what's created my "natural" night owl behavior since I want to sleep from 4am-10am regardless, it makes more sense to build my sleep schedule around it right? Also? Quickest way for me to fix the blood sugar when I do get up, glass of orange juice! The natural sugar spike adjusts everything like magic. Go go liver!

3 - jealous of you having awesome city things and fresh bialy in the morning

4 - also a believer in the miraculous power of breakfast. Also - I find I'm much more awake all day if I have protein in the morning. And that's the only time my body seems to want protein.

Hi there, and welcome! Do I know you? I see we have a couple friends in common so I wasn't sure if maybe we met somewhere.

1) I remain convinced that most people who want to toast bagels are doing so only because the bagels they had growing up were inedible unless they were toasted. There are reasons for toasting bagels, but then you have a reason and it's not force of habit.

2) That bit about sugar is fascinating. I have always had slightly wonky blood sugar so I wonder if that's what's happening to me.

3) Where are you located? Awesome city things are the best.

4) I can't quiiiiite do protein in the morning. But carbs are a good start!

lo siento!

I almost added a "oh by the way this crazy stalker is soandso" but then deleted it and figured if you cared I was easy enough to figure out. it's Ashley. And I'm mostly just excited that anyone uses livejournal anymore since all my friends who got me hooked as my sharing method of choice have since quit the medium.

ashley as in notjester of course.

I was going to explain where axsister came from, but that is too long and the piece is currently resticted anyway.

Oh hey, awesome! And yeah, I love LJ and am very big on trying to maintain a presence here because it's the best.

Huzzah for revelations!

I actually had a really similar one a few days ago, but I will writes about it proper. <3

Bialys (bialies?) are new to me. Can't say I fancy the idea of anything oniony early in the morning, but I love English muffins and fruit bread and butter... oh, my. Yum. Breakfast is my absolutest favouritest meal of the day. As long as there is also a huge cup of tea to go with it.

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