Without exception, I eat the same thing everyday for breakfast: a bowl of old-fashioned oatmeal with raisins and a scoop of ground flaxseed, along with a shot of espresso. I never deviate from this morning routine, simply because it’s healthy and I enjoy it. Like many people, I’m a creature of habit: when I find something I like, I stick with it. This can be a good thing (when it comes to being a loyal friend and wife), and a not-so-good thing (I’ve been wearing the same shade of blush for the last ten years. Also, my friends can always correctly predict what I’ll order off the dinner menu).
That’s why, on vacations, I get a little cranky about my usual food routine being interrupted. On a recent trip to Asia, I had no choice but to eat out, and therefore branch out. Instead of ordering oatmeal or eggs at breakfast, I decided to sample some local fare. Sometimes, it didn’t go so well – in Hong Kong I tried congee, which I wouldn’t recommend unless you have a penchant for liquid chalk. And sometimes it went great: at Café Gray Deluxe, also in Hong Kong, I devoured a plate of papaya and mango marinated in lime juice and brown sugar. So tender, fresh, and vibrant!
In Tokyo, my husband and I checked out the Tsukiji fish market early one morning. We toured through the stalls and saw an array of sea creatures for sale, in all shapes and sizes. Afterwards, we checked out one of the little hole-in-the-wall sushi spots on the outskirts of the market. With only about eight or ten seats to spare, these places fill up fast. After waiting on line, we’d worked up an appetite. Was I really going to have sushi for breakfast?
By the time we sat down at the counter, my breakfast was immediately placed in front of me: a bowl of sushi rice, draped with the freshest fatty tuna and yellowtail, alongside a bowl of miso soup (no spoons necessary, just pick it up and drink it!), a dish of pickled squash, and a cup of chilled green tea. It was delicious.
I’m not suggesting that everyone should ditch their coffee-and-cereal routine and have raw fish for breakfast, but the point is – mix it up! Who says you can’t have a bowl of soup or last night’s leftovers for breakfast? Think outside the Kellogg’s box. I won’t deny it, though – the morning I got back to New York I couldn’t wait to make myself a nice hot bowl of oatmeal.
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