the year in breakfast: 2013

December has become January and 2013 is already last year. 

Yesterday was its first day and as I flew from Marrakesh to Munich, I finished reading a book that I mentioned a few weeks back: The Table Comes First by Adam Gopnik. The flight was bumpy. My head was also experiencing turbulence due to a few glasses of Moroccan rose from the night before. Between staring out the window and closing my eyes in an effort to feel still, I read the last couple chapters. I read them slowly, a few pages at a time. I read them the same way that I eat brunch. A few bites of this, a few bites of that and then a rest to talk and to ponder. 

 The book itself is structured like a meal, and one that you never want to end. Even though the dishwasher is moaning ever so softly and your guests wear sleep in their eyes, you want the night to go on forever. You want to keep chatting. And maybe you even want to keep eating. Above all, you want to stay at the table in that moment. 

Fittingly, the last part of the book is titled "Leaving the Table" and this part really solved the question of why I am so attracted to the table - to eating and to cooking - in the first place. Over the years, I've collected a few answers, but Adam Gopnik has given me a new one. 

"What is it that we want from eating? Comfort? Absolutely. A symbol of love shared? For sure. But above all, food matters for us as a daily symbol of the sacred, which means for secular people that it is a kind of sacred-in-itself. Questions of food are all just questions of living refracted outward, like the imaginary mountains explorers see in the Arctic, projections forward of their own ice-breaking boats. (308)"

"For people who believe in this life alone, trying to decide how best to live, questions of food will always be of great importance. (307)" 

I grew up without religion. Even my grandparents are atheists. I read existential books written for children growing up. I go to churches and temples for their art and for their stories, not for their morals or rules. I am more comfortable with the idea of spirituality than organized religion, but even spirituality I think of in very abstract ways. Now that I've read The Table Comes First, I realize that food plays into much more than my understanding of my world. It is a philosophy that helps me understand so much more than food. 

Following Gopnik's idea of food being the daily symbol of the sacred, then breakfast is the closest that I ever get to a morning prayer. It is my way to start the day thoughtfully and with grace. 

The past year was kind to me and for that I feel blessed. However, I firmly believe that we make our own blessings and if you start the day with a breakfast that is beautiful and thoughtful, well, what better start to a day can you have? 

I shared my breakfasts from 2012 and I thought that I would do the same for 2013. I started the year in Oaxaca, Mexico and ended it in Marrakesh, Morocco. Munich was where I mostly was in between. It is a city that likes good coffee and good bakeries and, therefore, a city that I like. I wrote about my spring breakfasts already, so here I've mostly focused on all that came after. 

May your breakfasts this year be inspired and your year inspiring!

2013 in Breakfast

the Bread Exchange Brunch, Fischbachau

grapefruit and jalapeno jam, Dallas

oatmeal with pomegranate and pumpkin seeds and a green smoothie, Dallas 

avocado toast, Munich

oatmeal, Alphonso mango and whiskey, Munich

life-changing loaf of bread, toasted, with a fried egg and sauteed spinach, Munich

Malin's sourdough with seeds, Berlin

wild asparagus with a fried egg, Munich

yogurt with apple, white currants, figs and honey, Munich

waffles, salad and eggs, Seoul

croque monsieur, Suwon

matcha latte, Munich

cinnamon wreath, Saarland 

breakfast buffet, Berlin

fresh orange juice, Venice

roasted spaghetti squash and kale with a fried egg, Munich

fresh orange and grapefruit juice, Marrakesh  

* * * * *

Happy 2014!

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