Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Breakfast . . . It’s Not Just For Dinner!

North of the border, we have some pretty rigid ideas about what constitutes breakfast. Before my recent trip to Mexico City, I guess I did, too, although I’ve always been game for something different. And we certainly got it there!

Each morning’s breakfast was an adventure. Along with our freshly squeezed juice we’d have tacos or gorditas or tortas. One morning we had tamales, made just hours earlier and picked up moments before we ate them. The sweet ones were deep pink in color and just lightly sweetened. They were nothing like the typical heavily sweet pastries and doughnuts that Americans tend to go for. Other varieties of tamales included mole and poblano. All were tasty and helped fortify us for the days’ adventures. This may seem like heavy fare, but considering that no one really sits down for lunch any earlier than mid-afternoon, starting off the day with something hearty and filling is a smart idea.

And as with the other meals, breakfast was never a quick, on-the-go affair. Everyone sat down together and enjoyed conversation along with their morning’s repast. It’s a much more civilized way to do things than in those households where people eat in shifts, standing up or sitting in their cars. Or not at all.

I appreciate the view of mealtime that we witnessed during our visit. The people around the table are the focus. No television or radio turned on, no reading at the table, everyone present and engaged.

This is the way I grew up in rural Tennessee. Not that everything we did there was better, but in this respect, absolutely! We were much more attuned to our family members and to what was going on in each others' lives. At the table my brother and I learned how to talk AND how to listen. We learned how to be a part of the family.

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