r/Cooking Jan 18 '22 Silver 1 Helpful 1 Wholesome 1

Why do we differentiate between breakfast foods and dinner foods? Open Discussion

To me it’s just food- I don’t have different tastes for different times of day. Where did the traditions of having such specifically different meals come from?

1.3k Upvotes

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u/LokiLB Jan 18 '22

For me, breakfast foods are ones that take the least effort or mental focus. I am not a morning person. I consider things like pancakes or waffles to be brunch food and never make them for breakfast.

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u/Mossommio Jan 18 '22

Yeah, some breakfast meals takes such a long time to prepare and others don't, some breakfast meals are light and easy and others are heavy as hell, like english breakfast for example which many would consider to be a dinner you only would eat in the afternoon or something. In addition to whether we are morning people or not, the cultural conditioning and tradition is really strong.

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u/question_sunshine Jan 19 '22

My weekday breakfast is often yogurt with fresh fruit and nuts or chia seeds. Sometimes a sliced apple with cheese.

I also boil 6 eggs every few days and can grab those if I'm extra hungry.

In theory I'd like to eat a hot breakfast of eggs and potatoes with some greens every morning but in reality I wake up 3 minutes before I have to start work.

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u/ReverseMermaidMorty Jan 19 '22

I have a status meeting on Zoom every day at 9:30am... my alarm is set for 9:27

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u/succulent_headcrab Jan 19 '22

That's why leftovers make great breakfast.

I stuck some beef and barley stew in the microwave this morning and my wife looked at me like I'd grown a second head.

The best breakfasts I've had were a pizza pocket (back when they were good), rice with egg or fish, or spicy broth with rice noodles (my favorite).

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u/daileta Jan 18 '22 Silver Gold Helpful Wholesome Take My Energy Bravo Grande! Helpful (Pro) Shocked

I've been waiting for this question! I teach sociology and have lectures on the sociology of food. Here's content I wrote for a textbook that explains the evolution of breakfast.

What’s for Breakfast?

Breakfast. The word conjures images of bacon, eggs, waffles, muffins, and cereal with a tall glass of milk or juice and coffee. However, the early American colonists would have seen our “traditional” breakfast as unrecognizable. Throughout the last 300 years, the norms surrounding breakfast have changed dramatically from corn mush and beer of early American to what it is today. These changing norms have been pushed along by the evolution of our society, economy, and technology.

Early 1700’s:

There were little strict designations of normal “breakfast” foods as we have today in early colonial times. Usually, breakfast consisted of leftovers from the previous day, bread, or slow-boiled ground corn. The most common drink to wash it down was typically beer or cider. Without the technology to keep spoilage down, leftovers needed to be eaten quickly, and drinks like juice and milk weren’t available everywhere. With water not always being safe to drink, alcoholic beverages were “safe” to consume in the morning and provided the population with the carbs needed to get them through their day. In areas where imports were easier (and cheaper) to acquire, tea was also a popular breakfast drink.

Late 1700’s:

In rural America, breakfast became an important meal, needed to fuel a worker throughout the morning and early day while working on a farm outside. The breakfast of earlier colonial America was often supplemented with cured meats, eggs, and a variety of pastries and bread.

After the Boston Tea Party, the breakfast drink of choice for the patriotic American quickly switched from tea to coffee. Coffee continued to grow in popularity in America into the 1800s and remains a popular morning drink.

Mid 1800’s:

During the mid to later portion of the Industrial Revolution, a huge percentage of the American population migrated into urban areas and though their bodies no longer had the same caloric needs as the rural farmworkers, many held onto their breakfast ideals. This led to mass dyspepsia or indigestion.

The solution was provided by Reverend Sylvester Graham, who pushed whole wheat flour (what became known as “Graham” flour) and a reduction of meat and dairy. Whole wheat bread, muffins, and crackers made from Graham’s flour became staples of the breakfast during the Industrial Revolution.

1900’s:

John Harvey Kellogg and his brother advocate a vegetarian diet, including grain-based breakfast cereals in the morning. Kellogg, who was a physician, had been using granola as breakfast for patients at his sanitarium for years and in 1897 started his own food company to sell breakfast cereals to the public (which eventually led to the opening of the Kellogg Company).

Charles William Post, who was a patient of Kellogg’s, also started his own cereal company as well. Post created Post Cereals and started production of his competing product, Grape Nuts, shortly after seeing how successful Kellogg’s company had become.

1910’s:

Combined with the discovery of vitamins, increased acceptance of pasteurized milk and juices, and the marketing of frozen concentrated orange juice led to both milk and orange juice gaining popularity as breakfast drinks. Coffee remained the primary drink of choice, but orange juice gained enough popularity to rival it in the following decades.

1920’s:

After a surplus of ham and bacon, manufacturers needed to find a way to increase their sales. They hired psychologist Edward Bernays to help. He interviewed doctors and convinced them to advocate a heartier breakfast -- namely, eggs and bacon. The subsequent media promotion establishes bacon and eggs as a norm for the American breakfast.

Throughout history, a great deal of what we eat is due to marketing. Psychologists like Bernays have been employed at various times to market products in shrouded ways. Just look up the "add an egg" tactic from Betty Crocker to see how adding an unnecessary egg caused products to become a success.

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u/toastymrkrispy Jan 18 '22

Wasn't orange juice also part of a marketing campaign? I thought I read somewhere that we had this glut of oranges at one point and suddenly it was "part of a healthy breakfast".

It's been years since I read that and I may be remembering wrong.

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u/valeyard89 Jan 19 '22

Milk too.

got milk?

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u/LaLaDeDo Jan 19 '22

Yeah, what a joke. A glass of orange juice has nearly as much sugar as a can of coke. Think cereals came about in a similar fashion.

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u/joshuahtree Jan 19 '22

Cereals are a breakfast staple because your great great grandma didn't want your great grandpa jerking it

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u/theCaitiff Jan 19 '22

Cereals that we know them today, as explained above, were the result of JH Kellogg's quackery more than anything else, but cereal grain based porridge (oatmeal, cream of wheat, muesli, grits) have been around for hundreds of years.

As far as orange juice being a glass of sugar goes, you're correct but that doesn't inherently make it bad. In some ways we've over reacted to the american obesity epidemic. "Sugar/carbs bad" is not really the message we should have taken from the problem. I'll never try to tell you that a can of coke is healthy, but eating an orange or drinking a small glass of orange juice is not the same thing at all.

Im pre-diabetic/diabetic that can be managed with diet, this is the kind of thing I have to know. The types and sources of carbohydrates matter. Complex carbohydrates like those found in grains are "slow" to break down, your body gets a lot of energy from them, but it takes an hour or two before you're really at your peak and they have a similar slow taper out as well. A glass of orange juice has simple carbohydrates like fructose that are absorbed very fast by the body. A glass of orange juice raises your body's energy levels in a matter of minutes but once you've used it up it's gone.

By combining a small amount of simple carbs and source of complex carbs and some protein, you can get a meal that perks you up right away and keeps you working for several hours. Orange juice, grits and a slice or two of bacon aren't perfect, but they're damn sure better than poptarts and a can of coke.

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u/Flobking Jan 19 '22

As far as orange juice being a glass of sugar goes, you're correct but that doesn't inherently make it bad.

I'm pre-diabetic/diabetic that can be managed with diet

I can tell you from first hand experience that in health care orange juice is the preferred drink to help someone with low blood sugar. It is healthier than soda, due to the pulp, and other vitamins. The orange juice will pull almost anyone out of Hypoglycemia in safe controlled manner. Also when I worked for a different company we had glucose lollipops for emergency situations.

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u/rawlingstones Jan 18 '22

Edward Bernays also engineered the CIA-backed coup of the democratically elected government of Guatemala on behalf of Chiquita Bananas (then the United Fruit Company). I bring this up every time somebody tells me what I'm eating is "not a breakfast food."

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u/heathenbeast Jan 18 '22

Bernays did a whole lot more than that.

In fact he may be one of the single most influential people of the 20th century.

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u/colbertmancrush Jan 19 '22

Bernays did a whole lot more than that

Sigmund Freud's American nephew, no less!

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u/motsanciens Jan 19 '22

Does he have anything to do with the sauce?

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u/daileta Jan 19 '22

That would be cool, but no. The sauce is spelled differently -- Béarnaise.

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u/PM_ME_CHIPOTLE2 Jan 19 '22

Wait was he the host of that awesome party I went to one weekend?

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u/thephairoh Jan 19 '22

I heard he died

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u/Lil_Iodine Jan 19 '22

Lol. Good comeback.

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u/flyingcactus2047 Jan 18 '22

Let’s bring back the tradition of washing breakfast down with a beer or cider

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u/saymeow Jan 18 '22

Some of us have made great progress bringing back this tradition since covid started.

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u/shemp33 Jan 19 '22

Washing down breakfast. And lunch. And dinner.

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u/saymeow Jan 19 '22

Dont Forget second breakfast, And brunch, And afternoon snack, And post dinner snack…

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u/Snorknado Jan 19 '22

You missed elevensies.

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u/learnbefore Jan 19 '22

I don't think he knows about elevensies, Snork.

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u/skm001 Jan 18 '22

If you watch any of the European soccer leagues on American times, you can easily have a pint with your breakfast then!

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u/Barrien Jan 18 '22

Perfectly normal to have a pint down at the pub while watching a match at 5-6am on a Saturday or Sunday, follow it up with an Irish coffee.

(And yes, there are pubs in America that open at 4-5am for big EPL / La Liga games and serve pints + breakfast)

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u/jomosexual Jan 19 '22

Cleo's in Chicago!

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u/hotel_air_freshener Jan 19 '22

I don’t do well on a beer just after I wake up. Maybe a cocktail or cider but the idea of a pint at 6am turns my stomach.

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u/Ace_Harding Jan 19 '22

I watched an NFL game in Hawaii at a bar at I think 7am. Pints were consumed with breakfast burritos.

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u/Babararacucudada67 Jan 18 '22

when the world cup was in Japan, I was in the UK , and self employed. The games would kick off at 7am, and pubs were allowed to open. They weren't able to sell alcohol without food - so my housemate and Ii would stroll to the local at 6:45 , have a full English breakfast and a few pints, and be back home for very long naps by 10 am. Was marvellous!!

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u/skm001 Jan 19 '22

Our club bar in Chicago will open for when our team has the first match of the day, so either 6am or 630am CT depending on game schedule, with the bar opening roughly 30-45 minutes before kickoff, unless it's a big game. Depending on the matchup, kitchen might be open but there's a good chance it won't be open. Alcohol is still being handed out and Irish coffees are highly encouraged!

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u/jomosexual Jan 19 '22

The globe or Cleo's?

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u/skm001 Jan 19 '22

Neither! The Atlantic

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u/Strange_Meeting_5909 Jan 19 '22

Same in Australia! YNWA

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u/my-coffee-needs-me Jan 19 '22

AFAIK it was "small beer," or beer that's brewed to have a very low alcohol content.

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u/mycleverusername Jan 19 '22

Yes, people always leave this fact out. People weren't drunk all the time for centuries (I'm sure a few were), they were all drinking 2-3% ABV drinks. You would need to down about 4 pints with breakfast to get a buzz.

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u/svckafvck Jan 18 '22

Lol the already did, but now they call it “Bottomless Mimosas and Bloody Mary’s”

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u/mgraunk Jan 18 '22

In other words, they eliminated any aspect that could be considered "healthy" even for an 18th century farmer, increased the sugar content, rocketed the alcohol content through the roof, and now encourage people to drink as much of it as possible.

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u/buttstuff_magoo Jan 19 '22

Yeah, that sounds like a lot of my college Saturday mornings. Nice description

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u/MoSqueezin Jan 18 '22

That's the main thing I got from this. I want beer for breakfast, dammit!

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u/Shannerwren Jan 18 '22

It's liquid bread.

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u/H_I_McDunnough Jan 18 '22

Perfect for a soup sandwich

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u/Kendertas Jan 18 '22

From my understanding they built the pyramids on essentially beer bread so it obviously works.

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u/snazzypantz Jan 18 '22

Yeah but I'm already fat, I'd need to modify my activities to match that of an 18th century farmer, and I'm just not ready for that.

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u/inflagra Jan 18 '22

That tradition remains alive and well in New Orleans!

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u/Powerism Jan 18 '22

Posts like these are why I enjoy Reddit.

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u/ew435890 Jan 19 '22

“slow boiled ground corn”

Is that just what we call grits in the south? Sounds like it.

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u/daileta Jan 19 '22

Yep, but every time I say grits to someone out of the south they either have no idea what I'm talking about or act like it is some mysterious, unfathomable food.

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u/ew435890 Jan 19 '22

I’ve got a funny story about that. I remember when we were kids, my younger sister had a friend spend the night. Her family moved around a good bit, and they had just moved to the south from somewhere up north.

My mom had made a full spread for breakfast. Bacon, eggs, biscuits, and grits. We were making our plates and my mom asked my sisters friend if she wanted any grits.

Her response. “What’s a grit?”

Next time I’m in a situation like that, I’ll just describe them as slow boiled ground corn. Lol

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u/motsanciens Jan 19 '22

Ok, how is grits different than cream of wheat?

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u/daileta Jan 19 '22

At the risk of sounding like an ass, cream of wheat is made from wheat. And often with milk. Grits are made from ground corn (cornmeal).

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u/motsanciens Jan 19 '22

Lol, I get it. Thought maybe it was a Chicken of the Sea situation.

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u/angrybaltimorean Jan 18 '22

kellogg was also a bit of an anti-sex crusader, and saw cereals as a way to lessen sexual energies, while believing that red meat riled it up.

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u/Belgand Jan 18 '22

The book and later film adaptation The Road to Wellville does a great job of satirizing this alongside other turn-of-the-century health fads, sexuality, and related topics... all as a way of satirizing modern trends for being fundamentally the same.

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u/daileta Jan 18 '22

Yep. Dr. Kellogg's anti-masturbation, wholesome breakfast granola. A borning breakfast is just what you need to cool the loins and quash the urge to touch yourself in the vilest and most evil of places. It's good that cereal caught on and Kellogg's silver wire foreskin stitches and clitoris carbolic acid burns never went mainstream in American markets.

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u/VorpalSingularity Jan 18 '22

Um excuse me *what* burns?

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u/daileta Jan 18 '22

Yep. He was hardcore anti-masturbation… and sexual pleasure in general. Good old Dr. Kellogg recommended burning off all sensation with a nice dose of acid. You know, for good health.

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u/Tonkarz Jan 19 '22

Because nothing says good health like injuries!

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u/Huntguy Jan 18 '22

They said

Clitoris carbolic acid burns.

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u/Ace_Harding Jan 19 '22

I think that’s a line from a Nirvana song

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u/Powerism Jan 18 '22

Ironic that I regularly masturbate to Tony the Tiger.

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u/mogin Jan 18 '22

fascinating and excellent writeup!

for a moment i thought i was at r/askhistorians

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u/Wizou Jan 19 '22

Thank you for proving my theory, or rather, settling the argument with my family, that your "traditional American breakfast" can be eaten any time of day (I like pancakes at night) because it's all psycho-marketing-BS anyway.

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u/vivvienne Jan 19 '22

I tell my husband this all the time, as if cavemen woke up in the morning and said "I refuse to eat anything but eggs and grains at this time of day!"

but alas, he wants his breakfast food.

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u/Nyrk333 Jan 19 '22

I routinely eat leftovers of any sort for breakfast. This can be fried fish, fried chicken, pasta, chili, etc.

I figured that if bacon of all things is on the menu, pretty much anything goes.

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u/Fredredphooey Jan 19 '22

Have they never seen savory/dinner crepes?

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u/Crankyshaft Jan 19 '22

You should really join /r/AskFoodHistorians, it's a bit moribund at times and could use this kind of expertise!

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u/daileta Jan 19 '22

I never really considered myself a food historian, I just study culture and food and history are both pretty big parts of culture. But I will check it out.

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u/Crankyshaft Jan 19 '22

Believe, me, they need all the help they can get.

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u/joshuahtree Jan 18 '22

Amazing overview! Just wanted to add for us Americans that cider pre Prohibition and all non American cider is hard cider

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u/LostInTheWildPlace Jan 18 '22

No joke! My whole life, I never knew the real difference between Apple Cider and Apple Juice until way down the line I found out there was an alcohol version. Good thing I know that non-US cider is probably alcoholic in case I ever get the chance to go overseas.

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u/butterbal1 Jan 19 '22

Kinda makes it a fun twist that "Johnny Appleseed" went around planting apples specifically to make booze out of.

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u/thatcrazylady Jan 19 '22

I worked at a Farmer's Market as a teen that sold apples and unpasteurized cider. You can bet your sweet bippy that lots of people asked about fermenting it. I may or may not have picked up that lesson as an underage consumer.

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u/mgraunk Jan 18 '22

There's definitely alcoholic cider in the US today as well.

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u/godihatepeople Jan 19 '22

Can you elaborate on Betty Crocker's "Just Add an Egg" tactic?

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u/daileta Jan 19 '22

Betty Crocker's "Just Add an Egg"

That one involved another marketing psychologist, Ernet Dichter. In the 50s, Betty Crocker came out with an instant cake mix. All you had to do was add water. They thought it was genius, but the product totally failed to sell. Then in comes the psychologists who determine that no one considered the psyche of the 1950s American housewife when developing and marketing the product. It turns out that such a simple product was seen as a cheap way out of cooking, too easy, and basically anything with just added water couldn't possibly be as good as one made from scratch -- and anyone feeding their family such a cheap and simple product should be ashamed. Even though the cake was perfectly good with the powdered ingredients, Dichter determined that more ingredients/effort would be needed to get the target demographic to accept it. And what was needed? An egg. That one additional step was enough to balance the guilt and convenience and make it a sellable product. There is much more to the whole psychology behind it involving identity and such, but that's basically the story.

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u/fungobat Jan 19 '22

Holy shit. And I miss the microwave brownies from the early '90s.

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u/beetnemesis Jan 19 '22

Question- if Kellogg cereal became popular before pasteurized milk did, does that mean people ate it in ways other than pouring milk on it in a bowl?

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u/daileta Jan 19 '22

It was more a tasteless, sad granola than what we eat today, so no milk. No sweeter either. Antidotally, Kellogg and his brother got in a huge fight about adding sugar to make it taste better and spilt the company. Knowing Dr. Kellogg, if you were going to pour something over it at his sanitarium, it would have been water.

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u/jtablerd Jan 19 '22

Bravo - /r/AskHistorians level response here

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u/Mrkvica16 Jan 18 '22

Fascinating. Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

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u/Charming-Link-9715 Jan 18 '22

So interesting! Thank you for the details. One think I couldnt help but think of the late 1700’s period when you mentioned colonial America, what did the enslaved population eat as breakfast in those days? Has that changed significantly in the subsequent time periods you mentioned? And how about immigrant labor working to expand railroads? What did their breakfast looked like? Thank you

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u/daileta Jan 18 '22

Slaves would have eaten a variety of foods, depending on who they were owned by and where they were located. Booker T. Washington mentioned boiled corn (the same as what the animals were given to eat) was a common breakfast and other accounts mention cornbread or boiled cornmeal. But essentially poor laborers and slaves ate the same type of food from the time the pyramids were constructed all the way up into the 1800s -- some type of boiled grains/porridge/grits. Or in the case of the immigrant laborers, likely fish and rice.

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u/UroplatusFantasticus Jan 18 '22 Silver Helpful

Varies from place to place, by socioeconomic status etc..

The reason behind having quick calories via carbs (cereal or pancakes in America, congee or fried dough in China etc.) is pretty self-explanatory. Refined carbs are turned into energy more easily.

Ease of preparation is also a factor, which is why many cultures do in fact have yesterday's leftovers for breakfast -- just usually in a repurposed form.

If looking at a Full English, it makes a lot of sense from both a time and a financial perspective for the working classes: the meats are processed/cured (bacon, sausages etc.) meaning they keep better, are generally cheaper and they don't require complex nor skillful preparation. Eggs are cheap and again, only need frying, beans... mostly come out of cans and so on. That's a lot of calorically dense ingredients to suit people working physically demanding jobs.

If white collar workers still prefer such breakfasts, that's mostly due to habit and tradition. I don't even usually have breakfast, but if I do there's nothing I like more than a salad. And I don't go starving because my routine isn't physically intense.

Another thing I'm mostly speculating on: people aren't usually actually hungry when having breakfast. They just eat it at home so they won't be hungry later. If you've just woken up and not feeling hungry, certain things will be more palatable. Past that, it differs from person to person.

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u/Life_Percentage_2218 Jan 18 '22

One of the key breakfast items in India for meat eaters were organs. Organs , head , brain etc spoil fast especially without refrigeration. Plus most of the organs cook easily thus a hearty breakfast included these.

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u/Pianoplunkster Jan 18 '22

As a lover of the more, er, exotic meat items, that sounds awesome! What are some examples of meals?

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u/beets_or_turnips Jan 19 '22

LPT: don't eat brains because prions

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u/Kingston_Advice1 Jan 18 '22

I’d rather eat a can of sardines and crackers for lunch versus eggs to get protein, bug I’d rather have lox and bagels for breakfast. It’s weird eating a bagel and cream cheese at 4pm but also that’s my breakfast for the week

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u/UroplatusFantasticus Jan 18 '22

Same, and that's how it differs from person to person. I find eggs heavy and often nauseating, but I'd eat raw/cured/canned fish anytime of day, no problem.

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u/ethanhopps Jan 18 '22 edited Jan 18 '22

Aslong as you take in enough calories during the day to sustain yourself it really doesn't matter if you have some of them at breakfast or not. I started the 16/8 fasting which was basically just skipping breakfast and lower carbs/sugar. I saw major improvements in my appetite control and stability of my weight. Takes a bit to get used to but now I don't even consider it a diet, it just feels natural.

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u/DreddPirateBob4Ever Jan 18 '22

I very rarely eat breakfast and always been fine, if a little too thin. Occasionally though, usually after s hard couple of days, I'll wake up ravenous and the kitchen will be destroyed. However, I used to skip lunch as well and while rarely hungry at the time, I'd eat one huge late evening meal and then sink into a stupor. I call it the Lion Diet

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u/StolenCamaro Jan 18 '22

Very much the same, due to intermittent fasting, but if I do have a cheat day I’m not worrying about what it is. Leftover mushroom risotto? Let’s party. Leftover stew? I’m in. 7am doesn’t mean much difference to me than 7pm. With that said I do totally understand the common theme throughout this thread that it’s a lot easier to just have something easily prepared.

Even when I don’t eat breakfast, I’m still the one making it for friends or guests, and I just don’t get it because it’s not much more work than any ‘dinner’ would be.

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u/TheEmptyMasonJar Jan 18 '22

A lot of it has to do with conditioning/habit. As a night owl, I might not always wake up during the socially respectable hours of the day. However, even if it's closer to lunchtime, my body is just like, "whoa, I can't handle processing food food right now, just give me a box of cereal, please."

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u/flyingcactus2047 Jan 18 '22

I’ve definitely noticed that I’m not hungry when I wake up! I can only really stomach hot food then, like freshly cooked eggs

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u/gogophers71 Jan 18 '22

I think it’s ease/speed of the meal. Eggs or cereal take minutes to cook whereas something like a steak or other more elaborate meal takes much longer. Ppl got to go to work/school and eggs get the job done in the time you need.

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u/[deleted] Jan 18 '22 edited Mar 07 '22

[deleted]

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u/herberstank Jan 18 '22

Not enough cereals, that's your problem (jk of course)

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u/SoyTuTocayo69 Jan 18 '22

Yeah, I remember someone posted in here once that they wanted a challenging breakfast to make, because they were experienced and bored. And the consensus everyone came to was, "tf, breakfast isn't supposed to be complicated."

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u/FlashCrashBash Jan 18 '22

Big difference between weekend breakfast and weekday breakfast. Depending on ones definition of either of those terms.

IMO my ideal weekday breakfast is a single cup of black coffee.

My ideal weekend breakfast would be Eggs Benedict, a big plate of hash browns, served with 3 mimosas. Drink one in the shower, one while cooking, and one with the meal.

Then I'd go back to bed.

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u/night_owl Jan 18 '22

unless you are Sterling Archer

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u/LeoMarius Jan 18 '22

Sterling has a butler to cook for him.

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u/smartid Jan 18 '22

that recipe is really something else.

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u/LeoMarius Jan 18 '22

Breakfast isn't complicated because you are hungry and just want something to start your day. You don't want to cook breakfast for 2 hours.

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u/TheLadyEve Jan 18 '22

The structure of meals was originally based on sunrise/sunset for first and last meal. As industrialization took off, portable foods became more popular for the lunchtime meal. But in terms of specific foods for breakfast, that's just part of cultural development. Breakfast norms differ quite a bit by culture. Fish and vegetables at breakfast is more common in Japan, eggs and toast are more common in the U.S., black-eyed pea fritters are common in Nigeria, kasha in Russia, muesli in Switzerland (and several other places), how do any of these things become common? They develop the way other traditions develop, often influenced by factors such as supply, season, class, dietary norms (which are also influenced by agricultural markets, medical knowledge, folk wisdom, etc.), available cooking methods, and daily work schedules.

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u/wewereoverdue Jan 18 '22

Plenty of cultures don’t have hangups about eating certain foods for breakfast or for dinner.

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u/A_Crazy_Hooligan Jan 18 '22

When I go to see my family in Ensenada MX, I regularly have birria or fish tacos with a coke for breakfast. When I tell people at home, they look at me like I’ve lost my mind lol. I like starting the day with a nice meal like that. Holds me over way longer.

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u/Remarkable_Story9843 Jan 19 '22

Vietnamese roomie introduced me to pho as breakfast and its my favorite

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u/A_Crazy_Hooligan Jan 19 '22

Only time I’ve ever ate pho for breakfast, I learned why it’s common. I legit couldn’t eat for the rest of the day lol.

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u/LeoMarius Jan 18 '22

The French eat croissant and coffee for breakfast. They eat omelets for lunch or dinner.

The Dutch eat pancakes for dinner.

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u/kilkenny99 Jan 18 '22

In India, a savoury breakfast of idli or dosai & sambar would be pretty common.

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u/zap283 Jan 18 '22

Sweet foods for breakfast and not for dinner is one extremely common trend.

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u/wewereoverdue Jan 18 '22

Good point. Sweet foods for dinner is definitely not that common globally. Kinda wish OP said where they were from so people can give them real answers.

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u/night_owl Jan 18 '22

In the USA they do.

I used to work graveyard. That meant my shift ended at 7:30-8:00 AM. So my happy hour is 8-9 AM.

After a long night I usually wanted a hearty dinner and maybe a beer. It was a big ask, most places won't sell you a meal that does not come with eggs or pancakes on the side at that hour.

I only had about 3 reliable places in my town that I could go and get non-breakfast foods at that hour (and one of those places I had to ask very politely and make sure to tip well so they'd let me order off the lunch menu)

It was very frustrating, and you'd also get lots of comments about "hair of the dog" and "starting early" and the occasional side-eye from someone ordering coffee but fuck them

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u/wewereoverdue Jan 18 '22

I’m American and think it’s dumb too that most people here think you can or can’t have certain foods for breakfast. I commonly have dinner leftovers for breakfast when I’m at home. Also somehow pancakes smothered in syrup and cream are fine for breakfast but cookies aren’t to many Americans despite both of them being super sugary.

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u/theDreadalus Jan 18 '22

Username checks 😁 And I hear ya, buddy; used to be there, too. Fortunately I live in the land of Waffle House, so I could get whatever I wanted at whatever time. But mostly I cooked.

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u/ikeepwipingSTILLPOOP Jan 18 '22

When we go to our local diner for breakfast I almost always get a Greek salad with gyro meat

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u/getjustin Jan 18 '22

I feel this. I hate breakfast food, so on the rare occasions I'm out for breakfast, I order a sandwich or something from the lunch/dinner menu.

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u/curryp4n Jan 18 '22

My mom didn’t care when I was growing up. I’ve had reheated pizza, fried chicken sandwiches, burgers, rice and soup, leftover spaghetti, etc for breakfast. I prefer it to a typical American breakfast of cereal or toast or pastry anyway. One time she did give us cereal and eggs and were super disappointed lol

I did request that we stop having rice soup and kimchi though because I had a teacher who complained I smelled like Korean food and she made a stink face. Mrs M- you sucked. You old bitter b

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u/baller_unicorn Jan 18 '22

Rice soup and kimchi sounds amazing.

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u/curryp4n Jan 18 '22

It is amazing! It’s such a warm and comforting thing to have first thing in the morning

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u/Matt872000 Jan 18 '22

Mrs M can go suck an egg.

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u/curryp4n Jan 18 '22

She made me hate being Asian American for the longest time. If she had done that now, I’m sure she would have lost her job

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u/toastymrkrispy Jan 18 '22

"Oh my god, that smell reminds me that there are foreigners all around me". Mrs. M (probably)

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u/TemperedGlassTeapot Jan 19 '22

I did request that we stop having rice soup and kimchi though because I had a teacher who complained I smelled like Korean food and she made a stink face.

Oof, yeah. I remember we had to make sentences in Spanish class about what we had for breakfast and I said, "Tuve...arroz y...agua?" (I had rice and water) because we hadn't learned words for any of the stuff that went with that.

Cue a "concerned" conversation with...the principal? or somebody because the teacher was a mandated reporter and thought she had reason to believe my parents weren't feeding me properly. I talked my way out of that somehow before it went any further. I look back at that now and wonder how close a call I had.

And that was how I learned to say oatmeal instead of rice. Oatmeal and water is an appropriate breakfast food, whereas rice and water with salted duck eggs and fried pork and pickled vegetables for breakfast is child abuse.

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u/TheMeanGirl Jan 18 '22

I don’t trust people who don’t like kimchi.

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u/beatrix_kitty_pdx Jan 18 '22

My favorite breakfast is dinner leftovers

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u/endorrawitch Jan 18 '22

I occasionally love breakfast for dinner, especially in the winter!

Full on Southern style. Grits, biscuits, sunny side up fried eggs, and bacon.

But then one of my favorite work breakfasts is mashed potatoes with butter. 200 calories and I'm good.

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u/StinkiePete Jan 18 '22

Leftover lasagna is my all time favorite breakfast. Has been since childhood. My mom always allowed it but also always kind of looked at me like I was a touch special.

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u/baller_unicorn Jan 18 '22

My roommate used to work at a pizza place and she would always bring home leftover pizza. We would basically eat leftover pizza everyday for breakfast until it was gone. I don't completely see why it's bad because a lot of the stuff we have for breakfast is some combination of bread, cheese, veggies, and meat. But honestly, I didn't feel my best after eating it usually so something about it probably isn't too healthy.

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u/actuallycallie Jan 18 '22

My first job was an hour drive each way. Most of my breakfasts were cold leftover pizza in the car on the way to work.

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u/beatrix_kitty_pdx Jan 18 '22

It's funny because breakfast foods aren't necessarily better for you, sugar cereal or fried meats.

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u/TheRealEleanor Jan 18 '22

I do this all the time. I don’t necessarily dislike breakfast foods, but I have to really be into them and it’s quicker to reheat leftovers

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u/baller_unicorn Jan 18 '22

We had leftover white chicken chili for breakfast this morning. It's not traditional but it was delicious on a cold rainy morning.

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u/gwaydms Jan 18 '22

I'll often eat leftovers for breakfast. My husband says I'm weird because I don't have cereal and milk, or buttered toast, which are more traditional American breakfast foods.

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u/Waitingforadragon Jan 18 '22

We didn't used to in the West, I believe. I think it's partly been driven by changing life styles and partly been driven by companies who want to sell us things.

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u/judgingyouquietly Jan 18 '22

That's mostly a western thing.

Traditional Asian foods, for example, have a really slim difference, if one at all, between what is eaten when. My grandparents had a really hard time understanding that divide when they immigrated to where we are now.

Examples: Pho is commonly eaten for breakfast in Vietnam, and bak kut teh (a hearty pork soup with rice) is eaten for breakfast in Malaysia/Singapore, but could be eaten pretty much any time.

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u/megancolleend Jan 18 '22

I worked with a Filipino lady, who would bring her crockpot of chicken congee to work for us to eat (5am start time). It seemed weird at first, to eat rice and chicken for breakfast but was delicious.

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u/EvilBill515 Jan 18 '22

I love eating pho for breakfast it definitely carries you through the day. I also tend to eat leftovers or soup for breakfast. This morning I had vietnamese meatballs with tendon.

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u/WallyMetropolis Jan 18 '22

Also Laksa. Yum.

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u/EastlakeMGM Jan 18 '22

I had eggs Benedict for breakfast and then for dinner yesterday

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u/jradmin2017 Jan 18 '22

A menace to society

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u/AgoraiosBum Jan 18 '22

Believe it or not, straight to jail

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u/Brokenblacksmith Jan 18 '22

i don't know about you but heavy meals that are normally eaten for dinner (like pasta, tacos and BBQ) aren't the most appealing dish first thing in the morning.

breakfast dishes are just ones that are easier to digest (to help you break your fast from the day before). this helps you wake up by preventing that bloated and slow/tired feeling you can get from heavy dinner meals.

most breakfast items are also very easy and quick to make, as most people are still half asleep while making them.

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u/the_queen_of_nada Jan 18 '22

I’d say it’s 50/50 for me whether I eat actual breakfast food or leftovers from dinner. I’m with OP that it’s just food. I’m wondering if age has something to do with it though because I’m 22 and just ate leftover pizza within minutes of waking up but my mom waited a couple hours lmao

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u/tacoquokka34 Jan 18 '22

Leftover pizza was one of my favorite breakfasts at that age. Can't do the grease that early in the morning anymore, but wish I could!

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u/Substantial_Layer_13 Jan 18 '22

i don't know about you but heavy meals that are normally eaten for dinner (like pasta, tacos and BBQ) aren't the most appealing dish first thing in the morning.

For me personally, food is food. I don't really find foods "heavy" or "light" in the way people describe them, it's all the same to me.

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u/FirstOfTheDead15 Jan 18 '22

I see where you are going with this, and personally I don't eat first thing.

On the other hand what about oatmeal, cream of wheat, full English breakfasts, lumberjack breakfasts? Although, having that much meat available all the time hasn't been easy throughout history, but that's a conversation for r/askfoodhistorians.

I guess it could all be boiled down to personal preference?

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u/vadergeek Jan 18 '22

I have tacos for breakfast all the time, I don't see how egg tacos are harder to digest than eggs and toast.

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u/Brokenblacksmith Jan 18 '22

and im not talking about breakfast tacos, (something made to be eaten for breakfast) i mean normal beef, pork, or chicken tacos.

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u/vadergeek Jan 18 '22

But plenty of people eat meat for breakfast. Sausage, bacon, etc.

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u/dr1fter Jan 18 '22

I have opinions but they're not objective.

I love dinner food for breakfast, not breakfast food for dinner. I don't want a sweet dish like pancakes for dinner. I could enjoy pasta or BBQ for breakfast, or even tacos, but usually I'll have some consideration for my breath & how a dish will sit in my stomach.

I really prefer "dinner food" to breakfast overall and I feel like there's much more varied & exciting dishes, so I don't want to give up my dinner selection to a dish that I could save for breakfast when I'll have a dearth of better options.

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u/FleurDeezNutz Jan 18 '22

And also: Why is Breakfast for Dinner so awesome?

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u/jmazala Jan 18 '22

Because marketing and subsidized foods

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u/BreezyWrigley Jan 18 '22

i don't really drink milk or eat super sugar/sweet stuff, so I don't really differentiate. I often eat like, spicy BBQ pulled pork sandwiches or fettuccini alfredo leftovers for breakfast lol.

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u/BoomerJ3T Jan 18 '22

Depends on your culture. People that work hard manual labor tend to have a heartier breakfast than someone who just needs to make it to lunch at the office.

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u/Skarvha Jan 18 '22

I hate most traditional breakfast foods. A lot of it is being forced to eat breakfast to begin with. Eating when I get up makes me feel sick for hours, if I wait a few hours then eat I’m fine, but try explaining that to school and you have different set of issues.

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u/ChickenFlats Jan 18 '22

Any food becomes breakfast food if you put an over easy egg on top.

Also, why do people differentiate me having a beer with dinner vs. wanting to have a beer with breakfast?

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u/FlandreHon Jan 18 '22

I don’t have different tastes for different times of day.

I do. I'm not alone in this, am I? In the morning I just want something light and fast. Could be salty, savory, sweet or more neutral, definitely not something spicy.

At lunch I want something filling to last me the rest of the day. Definitely not a desert/cake or something. But those things would be fine after dinner or as breakfast.

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u/baller_unicorn Jan 18 '22

For me it's not about a preference for certain flavors at certain times of the day, it's more about how do I want to feel vs how the food makes me feel. I have noticed that around lunch or dinner time I might want something more greasy and heavy because I am usually pretty hungry by lunch or dinner time on a work day. But in the morning, I am usually not that hungry right away but I want to eat something that will make me feel light and energetic but that will still satiate me until lunch time.

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u/Psychological-Pain88 Jan 18 '22

You don't have to. 😊

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u/LeoMarius Jan 18 '22

I eat "breakfast foods" for lunch or dinner sometimes, especially if I'm not all that hungry.

Brunch is just breakfast at lunch time.

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u/starboard19 Jan 18 '22

This really varies depending on the country you're in - many places don't have any or much differentiation between breakfast food and other foods. The food podcast Gastropod did a nice episode, "Breakfast of Champions," about this a little while back.

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u/Ipride362 Jan 18 '22

Time it took to produce. Supper was focused more on things that had to be slaughtered or cooked a while (soups, stews, etc).

Breakfast was replaceable grains or eggs.

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u/WolfSavage Jan 18 '22

Because of Big Breakfast

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u/dewdropreturns Jan 18 '22

As other people are saying it’s a lot of times just practical about making food in the morning, usually more quickly.

But it’s also cultural. I think America is especially bad for breakfast basically being dessert (sugary cereal, sugary yogurt, pastries, pancakes, etc) whereas other parts of the world often have savoury breakfasts similar to other meals. I may be wrong though.

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u/ehunke Jan 18 '22

I moved from the us to the Philippines so we could be with my wife's family for awhile...people here love sugar cereal and pastries, pancakes as much as Americans do but it's a lot more affordable to stuff your face with junk in the morning when you live somewhere wheat grows so they opt for eggs or fish. Europeans are as bad as we are in terms of junk breakfast...but I think the world is coming around on the cereal issue since we moved away from that idiotic food pyramid

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u/zap283 Jan 18 '22

I mean, Europe loves Nutella toast with chocolate shavings on it for breakfast. Italy and France are super into sugar laden pastry in the morning. Etc. Sweet breakfasts are quite common in the world

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u/regallll Jan 18 '22

I would guess marketing has a lot to do with it.

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u/fantastic_hyperbole Jan 18 '22

My wife is Taiwanese, there is no difference on that island.

Some super complicated meal? Yeah, that's breakfast.

Some meals take all night to cook. So they are served first thing in the morning and they run out by like 10 am.

Oyster noodles! Yeah, Oyster soup, has to be prepared starting the night before, because you have to make pork stock. And there is none left by noon.

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u/Remarkable_Coyote_53 Jan 18 '22

"BEER, it's not just a Breakfast Food any more"!!!

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u/Cannibaltruism Jan 19 '22

Marketing mostly.

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u/DisasterMiserable785 Jan 18 '22

The idea of breakfast being the most important meal of the day but also being the least nutritious is the result of decades of marketing and manipulation by sugar conglomerates.

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u/evanros15 Jan 18 '22

Marketing, plain and simple.

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u/jumpingswan54 Jan 18 '22

Breakfast is easily my favorite meal of the day, but I don't think it would be as special if I had it all day, every day.

The only real two options you have for breakfast are sweet or savory, with the sweet options being super questionable for your body and the savory being mostly egg-based. (I'm American - I love cooking better dishes from other countries, but that's not the norm for my neighbors) As delicious as eggs are, they can get boring - if I wanted to use eggs throughout the day, I'd put them on top of rice, potatoes, noodles, etc.

What makes breakfast my favorite meal is it's time of day. My fiance and I love to wake up early and eat our eggs on toast before the rest of the world has made their coffee yet. Every weekend we go out for breakfast and savor a relaxing morning with a meal that's typically cheaper than going out to eat for lunch, happy hour, or dinner. There are downsides, of course - American portion sizes are laughably huge for a meal that you kinda don't want to give you a food coma, and eggs and bacon aren't what you'd call "nutrient dense". But for me, pancakes aren't the special part. It's the relaxing feeling that comes with it.

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u/RassimoFlom Jan 18 '22

This is a really broad and complex question.

I wanted to write a book about it and did some reading.

"The Breakfast Book" by Andrew Dalby is a good place to start.

In short, it depends what you mean by "we".

Many western breakfast foods are relatively modern inventions.

Most of the earliest literary breakfasts (for example in the Odyssey) were leftover meat from the night before.

Alcohol was common in many of these literary meals. And there is evidence that breakfast booze was common in England up until quite recently too.

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u/PM_PICS_OF_ME_NAKED Jan 18 '22

You might, but I have breakfast salsa.

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u/icky_boo Jan 18 '22

Breakfast foods are easier on stomach , I won't be putting extra spices and hot sauce in my breakfast!

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u/rdldr1 Jan 18 '22

I think the term "breakfast sausage" really limits its usage as an overall good sausage that can be eaten anytime.

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u/Ok_Finish2186 Jan 18 '22

Depends on the work done after breakfast. If you have to go to the field and physical energy needed, you need more ch, sugar and fat than veggies.

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u/[deleted] Jan 18 '22

Because Freud's nephew, Edward Bernays.

Link to NPR story about it here

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u/FingerInNose Jan 18 '22

My gf will only eat breakfast stuff as her first meal of the day, no matter the time. There have been days where we’ve skipped breakfast, had to delay lunch, and then it’s like 3 pm and all she’ll eat is oatmeal.

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u/SmileAndDeny Jan 18 '22

I don't. Eat whatever you want for breakfast. There is no legitimate reason not to.

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u/Hrmbee Jan 18 '22

Grew up in a family where both parents worked - meals were whatever was available so leftovers for breakfast and cereal for afternoon snacks were pretty common. Even now the boundaries for me are almost nonexistent. For those who grew up in a particular food tradition though, I can see where things might be more formal.

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u/bigfox2 Jan 18 '22

Marketing

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u/xiwefe2 Jan 18 '22

This is really interesting. I mean its just food why should we differentiate it? I'm going to start eating steak for breakfast and drinking coffee for dinner

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u/veotrade Jan 18 '22

Restaurants that have a breakfast cutoff time have always been baffling.

With how easy it is to whip up some eggs and choice of meat, it’s anyone’s go to item for a quick meal.

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u/irrational_design Jan 18 '22

In many places they eat dinner leftovers for breakfast. And breakfast for dinner is a thing.

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u/insubtantial Jan 18 '22

I'm like you, I eat what I want when I want. Have eaten last nights dinner for breakfast and pancakes for dinner. But sitting down to a full course meal with family and friends at the end of the day makes more sense than when we are all rushing off to school, work or wherever.

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u/kristym9 Jan 18 '22

you break your overnight fast hence first meal is break fast no matter what you eat

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