Yes, Breakfast Does Have Mystical Powers

May 24, 2016

You are not imagining things: The Breakfast Movement is real and it is here.

(This is almost inextricable from the Egg Movement, to which we have already laid claim: Last week, we wrote about A Genius Way to Upgrade Fried Eggs, 100 Ways to Eat Eggs, and How to Make an Egg White Scramble That Actually Tastes Goodand, in the dinner field, we proposed 5 Smart, Inspiring Ways to Eat Eggs for Dinner.)

Back in February, Sam Sifton urged readers to wake up fifteen minutes earlier (...groan)—or stay up fifteen minutes later the night before (...meh)—for bonus breakfast-making time. "Start making breakfast every day," he concluded: "Make breakfast all the rage."

And whether it's Sifton or fast food purveyors (looking at you, McDonald's all-day breakfast menu) who are responsible, breakfast is back: The market research firm NPD predicted, according to Eater, that breakfast consumption, both in and out of the home, will grow by 5% by 2019 (and that exceeds the 4% expected population growth), and for as much breakfast content as we publish, Time, Inc. is launching a breakfast-exclusive website called Extra Crispy any week now.

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Is there anything breakfast can't do?

Well yes, apparently. Because yesterday, the Times published an article titled "There's Nothing Magical About Breakfast" in which Aaron E. Carroll—who does not eat breakfast (and, in my imagination, is Sam Sifton's NYT rival?)—argues that "our belief in the power of breakfast is based on misinterpreted research and biased studies." And while Sifton argues that for students "the data is clear: Eating a healthy breakfast leads to improved cognition and memory, helps reduce absenteeism and generally improves mood," Carroll clouds this clarity: "The bottom line is that the evidence for the importance of breakfast"—even among children—"is something of a mess." And so...

If you’re hungry, eat it. But don’t feel bad if you’d rather skip it, and don’t listen to those who lecture you. Breakfast has no mystical powers.

Pause right there: Here's where we beg to differ.

So maybe breakfast isn't a magical unicorn ready to prance through your life and solve all of your problems, dietary or otherwise. But maybe, no matter what anyone—scientists or journalists or your great aunt Irma says—the following foods are reason enough that breakfast really is something worth celebrating:

French Toast


Eggs, Scrambled

Eggs, Omelet'd

Eggs, Otherwise Prepared

Bacon, Sausage & Other Breakfast Meats




Bagels & Sidekicks

Oatmeal & Other Mushes


Cakes! Cookies! Scones! Pie! Are we going crazy?!

Maybe we got ahold of the breakfast cocktails?

But okay, fine: If you're Team Carroll (not Team Sifton) and you can't get down a bacon, egg, and cheese before 12 P.M., your breakfast won't mind if you have it for dinner instead.

Breakfast is or is not in any way mystical—make your case in the comments.

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  • witloof
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  • 702551
I used to work at Food52. I'm probably the person who picked all of the cookie dough out of the cookie dough ice cream.


witloof May 24, 2016
I have found that avoiding grains at breakfast altogether and eating half protein and half fruits and vegetables is a much healthier way to start the day. The foods pictured look like a lot of fun and should be considered special occasion treats.
Noreen F. May 24, 2016
I wouldn't say that breakfast is mystical, but I personally can't do without it. And as for healthy breakfasts, I consider eggs to be a veggie delivery system. Even my scrambled eggs usually include a shallot and chives, my frittatas are generally stuffed with various veggies and the aforementioned avocado toast is crowned with a fried egg and mounded with salad or sauteed greens. But then I'm an early riser, so I can almost always take the time to make a cooked breakfast.
Dogolaca May 24, 2016
No ones ever said that "breakfast food" isn't appetizing. You should read the damn article.
EL May 24, 2016
Excuse me? If you are replying to my post, I did read the article. Obviously you didn't like the article (you've appended a swear to your description of the article). I didn't say that breakfast food was unappetizing, merely unhealthy and also that I don't particularly like eating it at breakfast time (I'd rather eat lunch at breakfast). Do you understand now or does someone have to come along and hit you upside the head?
EL May 24, 2016
I guess that I am on team Carroll. One of my problems with all this is that for me, most breakfasts (unless international considerations are taken into account) seem to consist of food that I would eat for dessert (sweetened/fried and with lots of grains/eggs/meats) -- a distinctly unhealthy blend. With so many things I'd rather eat (even for dessert), I would rather start a movement where I eat lunch or dinner at breakfast. I do love eggs, but almost never for breakfast!
702551 May 24, 2016
Unfortunately, that's the current state of the American breakfast. A lot of the items highlighted in this article -- pancakes, waffles, pies, cakes, cookies, plus things like doughnuts -- are rather unhealthy and should be viewed as infrequent treats, not as breakfast staples.

Rather than look at individual dishes or recipes, it would be more beneficial to define categories, like vegetable protein or complex carbohydrates and what people around the world serve as healthy and tasty options in those categories, like natto or miso soup in Japan, frijoles in Mexico for veg protein; rice in Asia, tortillas in Latin America, various breads in Europe.

Probiotics like pickles, kim chi or sauerkraut for breakfast? Works pretty well if you have savory breakfasts and pair with other items like sausage or fish.
EL May 24, 2016
Yes. Exactly! I really loved breakfast in Europe because they always seemed to have savory pastries as well as sweets. I just had something last night that I would cheerfully eat for breakfast -- steamed broccoli with roasted red pepper (sweet) and yogurt sauce. Cold, it would make a wonderful breakfast on a hot summer day.

Perhaps we need a post on what readers (and editors) eat for breakfast that is not usually considered breakfast food.. I guess that I do like strata for breakfast, but then I like the strata I make any time of the day
702551 May 24, 2016
It would have been nice to see some non-American-centric breakfast photos.

For maybe a couple billion people on this planet this week, breakfast is going to be a bowl of rice, some veggies or beans (natto, frijoles, et al), a small piece of fish, and maybe some fresh fruit.

I'm also shocked that there is no photo of avocado toast which has become some weirdly exalted cultish food fad for non-Californians.
Sarah J. May 24, 2016
Here are some international breakfasts!

Hard to include it all in one post!