“Don’t eat breakfast cereals that change the color of the milk” - Michael Pollan, Rule 36
I instantly cringe as I remember eating bowls of Fruit Loops and Lucky Charms as a growing child all those years ago. Although my mum was particular about our meals and paid attention to eating well and healthy, somehow this did not apply to breakfast. Growing up in the early 80s we were subjected to the common, popular TV commercials - bright, gaudy and colorful. The cereal commercials always had my brother and I proverbially eating out of their bowls. My mother, usually strict and alert, snapped, crackled and popped with our selection of breakfast cereals.
I am currently reading Michael Pollan’s “Food Rules - An Eater’s Manual” and find myself both nodding in agreement (“Have a glass of wine with dinner”) and snickering at being caught (“Stop eating before you are full”). There are quite a few rules that I would like to underlie in thick red marker, one of them:
“Breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper”
A rule I actually learnt when I first moved to Germany. Although there will be arguments by some researchers on how effective this rule is, I have personally found that starting the day on a high note with a tasty and healthy breakfast really adds a solid basis to my day. There are days when I will miss or skip lunch depending on my workload so it is often vital that I breakfast well.
Staying away from the sugar-loaded cereal available on the supermarket shelves, I often make my own granola or muesli that both Soeren and I enjoy with lots of fruit and yogurt. For the sake of convenience I do have ready made muesli from my organic store, with no added sugar, additives or coloring, in the pantry for those days when the homemade granola jar is empty. We add our drizzle of maple syrup or honey when sweetening is required. As long as it does not snap, crackle or pop I can live with it.
This winter however, we discovered the sweeter side of quinoa, a grain I have loved using in salads, and savory dishes in the past. I was craving porridge on a cold winter day but my pantry was on an all time low - I was out of oats, spelt flakes and amaranth. Finding 1/2 a packet of tri-color organic quinoa, I decided to create a breakfast out of it. At first I was thinking on the basis of a savory dish, much like eggs benedict, with spinach and poached eggs but both Soeren and I were really craving a sweet breakfast - well ... a porridge.
A sweet quinoa breakfast porridge using almond milk and fresh fruit, a drizzle of maple syrup was the way to go. I was keen on experiencing how my favorite grain would taste with sweeter ingredients. The concept of quinoa porridge is not a new one, as I found out while Googling it for this post.
Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) is not actually a true grain but rather a plant related to chard and spinach. Although the leaves of this plant are edible, the sweet, nutty seeds harvest all the attention. Well it’s easy to see why: Quinoa is versatile, being used in breakfasts, pilafs, muffins and everything in between. The are protein-packed and work fantastically in hot cereal, dinner salads, and sweet puddings. There is a darker side to Quinoa though.
Being a gluten free “miracle grain” it has garnered a lot of attention and over the past years the demand of this “grain” has increased immensely. Jenn over at Jenn’s Cuisine talks about the conflicts and problems that are arising from the large demands on Quinoa and the consequences that follow. It’s a fantastic article helping us understand and maybe make us wiser consumers.
For us at home, quinoa is not everyday food. We are lucky not to have any dietary issues and can use the other wide varieties of grains available. Quinoa, is treated as a luxury item in our household and we’ll indulge in it infrequently.
In Food Rules, Michael Pollan reminds us to “Pay more, eat less.” Perhaps the most unwelcome advice of them all and a rule that will aggravate some of us making us think how can we possibly pay more for food. It’s a rule I have followed for myself over several years and the idea behind the rule is worth looking into deeper. Fact is better food, which measured by taste or nutritional quality will often cost more, as they have been grown or raised less intensively and with more care. As shameful as it is, many in the western world cannot afford to eat well, but most of us can. Those of us who can afford to eat well ... should be encouraged to do so.
So instead of eating cheaper priced steaks 4 times a week we should limit ourselves to eating less meat during the week, and when we do go buy our steaks we should pay more for really good quality meat where we know the origins of the animal and that the meat comes from certified farms (organic or not). Basically, know what you are putting in your mouth!
Which brings me back to quinoa: know what the consequences are, make wise choices and pay more for quality rather than quantity. I am not preaching … it’s want I remind myself everyday.
This is a soothing kind of breakfast. I’ve been in the need of a soothing repose and have been working hard on training my knee with a lot of intensive Physiotherapy, which usually leaves me exhausted and frazzled. The quinoa breakfast fortifies my day and I start on a good solid basis. It also is a reward for the hard work. It keeps my energy level and spirits up throughout the day. Almond milk, fruit, nuts and the slight sweetness of maple syrup.
To quote Michael Pollan again “Eat Food” ... and this is food!
I am very delighted that the Food Styling and Photography Workshop I will be holding in Amsterdam this Fall with Simone van den Berg and Sandy Neumann is almost sold out! We have the last few slots available.
If you have been wanting to improve your photography and styling skills this is the workshop for you! We’ve put together a great programme … find out all the details and register to secure your slot.
You might like these breakfast ideas from WFLH:
|Granola Bars - Four Grain Very Berry Pistachio Nut||Granola - Tropical Fruit, Nut and Spelt Flakes||Nutty Amaranth Granola with Fresh Berries|
All photographs and written content on What's For Lunch, Honey? © 2006-2012 Meeta Khurana Wolff unless otherwise indicated. | All rights reserved | Please Ask First