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.