Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Bulgar at breakfast: making the most of leftovers

Growing up on the farm, my breakfast of choice all the way through high school was a tomato sandwich on my mother's homemade bread and a tall glass of chocolate milk. Weird choice of fare for breakfast? Perhaps, but pretty tame considering what my mother was (and still is) known to whip up for herself for this meal: leftover spaghetti sandwiches, chicken pot pie, sardines on buttered saltine crackers.
Over the years, especially during college, I took to eating cereal for breakfast, sometimes toast with peanut butter and jam or honey. In the past couple of years, however, Josh and I have decided to change this up a bit and re-adopt my family (certainly my mother's) anything-goes attitude when it comes to breakfast food. Here's why:
I lived in France for several years and ate variations of the "baguette with butter" for most breakfasts. The incredibly tasty baguettes were made of flour, salt and water. The butter was churned cream. No sugar, aside from a perhaps spoonful in that dark coffee. Josh lived in Zimbabwe for a few years and travelled quite a bit afterwards and ate anything (salty or sugary) he could get his hands on for breakfast. During our travels abroad, we rarely saw foreigners downing sugary breakfasts. We certainly saw cereals, but they tended to be meuslix and bran cereals rather than chocolate puffy things and frosted stuff (what is that stuff, anyways?). Breakfast doesn't have to be defined by the American breakfast cereal industry, which really consists of just a few companies. New York Times food writer Mark Bittman agrees. Read his recent article about the virtues of rethinking breakfast:
The following dish is something we whipped up just the other day:

Breakfast bulgar. Remember that bulgar we talked about in yesterday's blog (Bulgar and friends) that was cooked with onions, garlic, cumin, cranberries and almonds? Well, we had some leftover, so I thought I'd recycle it for breakfast. Since there wasn't enough for two servings, I cooked up another half cup of bulgar, and added the leftover bulgar to heat when the fresh bulgar was almost cooked along with some frozen Maine blueberries (thanks to my sister Corrine who picked them last summer). Topped with butter, this is perhaps one of the yummiest breakfast we've ever made.

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