Before hitting the road

Today I had a hankering for a big breakfast, which I almost never indulge in these days. I’ll probably be skipping lunch!

I have great affection for places that specialize in classic American breakfast food… short order.

I have always thought that someone who opened a small counter-style quick breakfast place in the “centro” in Rome could really clean up.

Another interesting breakfast consideration….

In Italy you will typically eat a roll of some kind, with coffee, perhaps milk in it. In Germany you might have some sliced meat and cheese. In some parts of China perhaps some fried bread and a bowl of sweet milk and rice.

What are your breakfast routines? Do you have one? I am very inconsistent when it comes to breakfast I’m afraid, though I nearly always have coffee.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Padre Steve says:

    That breakfast picture has me hungry! I usually don’t eat a big breakfast, but coffee is a staple along with fruit. When I am traveling breakfast becomes more traditional and calorie rich! I also love breakfast any time of day in a good Jersey diner!

  2. FrCharles says:

    That sure looks good, Fr. Z!

    For me, it’s coffee and Office of Readings first thing. After Mass or Morning Prayer, whichever comes first, frosted mini-wheats with vanilla soy milk.

  3. TNCath says:

    All I had was cinnamon toast and coffee this morning. It all depends on how much time I have in the morning. I like a big breakfast but don’t always have the time to put it together.

    By the way, the Abbey Theatre Pub in Rome on the Via Governo Vecchio, not far from the Piazza Navona, boasts a pretty good Irish breakfast.

  4. frhoisington says:

    10 years ago there was a place that served good ‘American breakfasts’ in Rome, on the Via Nazionale just west of Santa Maria degli Angeli, near Termini. Don’t know if it’s still there…

  5. TomG says:

    Normally, Quaker Oats (long-cooked in skim milk for seven minutes, with a little brown sugar and a little more skim milk added), a banana and black coffee. Hearty and filling – and those complex carbs keep me full for a few hours.

  6. Bthompson says:

    I have at least a glass of juice (preferably cranberry), but usually add granola with yogurt and fruit and maybe a little potato, or I will get an omelette (depends quite often on what the seminary refectory is serving).

  7. Jaybirdnbham says:

    About 3 times a week I go after Mass to a small diner that specializes in short-order breakfast and lunch, called Salem’s diner. Usually get coffee, scrambled eggs, sausage, and 1 or 2 very small ‘silver dollar’ pancakes. (It’s worth noting that I usually take about half of this home for later, since it’s too much to eat in one sitting).

    Salem’s is exactly the kind of place you’re talking about, and would probably make a killing in Rome. If you’re ever visiting Birmingham AL, it’s definitely a breakfast place you’d enjoy, because the owner is always right there and makes a point of greeting people and making them feel welcome.

  8. Marius2k4 says:

    I often skip it, as I don’t care for breakfast foods. Then I eat too much for lunch. Ideo, ut aiunt, corpulentior sum. Harumph.

  9. moon1234 says:

    Looks good father, but add a pancake or two with real maple syrup, a few sausage links in addition to the bacon, glass of orange juice. Don’t forget the cheese on top of the hashbrowns.

    Some days I sub oatmeal for the eggs and hashbrowns. Your picture is making me hungry.

  10. jppelt says:

    Organic Steel Cut oats w/ fresh blueberries. Delicious! Peace and Grace, JP.

  11. Haec Dies says:

    What a wonderful discussion on my most favorite meal. Without breakfast, in MHO, the day doesn’t start off well. I usually have two eggs and toast with coffee. Three times a week I’ll have bacon or ham with the eggs. On really special occasions my wife will prepare an Western Ommlette of eggs goldenrod.

  12. Maltese says:

    huevos rancheros! Christmas style (New Mexico red and green chile)

  13. gloriainexcelsis says:

    A.M. (usual) routine – 6 a.m. Morning prayers even before I get out of bed. Then Prime (Little Office). Warm up computer. Feed the dog (He waits quietly when I pray – good dog. Make coffee. Read two papers, with cup or two of coffee. Do all the puzzles except SUDOKU (aargh). Have breakfast – one or two eggs, slice of sprouted wheat toast, maybe applesauce or cranberry juice with assorted vitamins, a little yogurt mid-morning. Go to computer – get WDTPRS, Drudge, CalCatholic, WND, done in time for Terce and about 40 minutes of prayer before the morning really takes off with another cup of coffee. Being old and retired has its advantages.

  14. Haec Dies says:

    Father, and anyone travelling to Erie should not miss a trip to Pano’s Restaurant on W.38th St.. Thier ommlettes are great.

  15. gkeuter says:

    I DO NOT miss breakfast. The bigger the better. My problem is that I do not like to make breakfast (I can make breakfast and I can make it well). So I end up having a bowl of cereal and milk most mornings.

  16. Agnes says:

    That wouldn’t be Mickey’s Diner would it?

    I love scrambled eggs and a bagel, cup of coffee – reserved for the weekend. Weekday morning hussle is a few spoonfuls of leftover kid cereal before running out the door to get them to school, Holy Communion, and maybe coffee later.

    Caffeine and the Holy Eucharist – breakfast of champions!

  17. The family-owned D&J Cafe in Springield, Illinois, has, on its sign, three great words that go great together: “Breakfast All Day.” It’s about a block from our parish, Blessed Sacrament, and occasionally we go there after our Saturday morning EF Mass. Sometimes Fr. Arnaud Devillers joines us. He is always a very pleasant breakfast companion.

  18. Maltese says:

    This is a good huevos rancheros recipe, made with hatch green chile:

    The shed, in Santa fe has the best red chile, which you can order from the restaurant:

    huevos, as noted above, are great with both red and green chile, and I like mine topped with cheddar cheese and tomatoes.

  19. The phgto: Key’s?

    Breakfast is my favorite meal. I usually eat something and if I have time breakfast will be my largest meal and the one that most often tends to be from “scratch”.

    I always read at breakfast. Usually the daily paper (yes, paper), my Magnificat readings for the day and possibly some sections (if time) of a Catholic paper: NCReg, Catholic Spirit (local), Catholic Servant (local) or the Wanderer.

    Coffee? Yeah!

  20. ejcmartin says:

    coffee, black

  21. EnoughRope says:

    Weekdays, oatmeal with a bunch of dried fruit mixed in and a banana on the side.
    Weekends, I try to get fancy- breakfast burritos, omelets, biscuits and gravy, maybe a pancake every now and then. My mom is Italian, but even though she tried, I never really loved the “sweet breakfast.” I am a salty and spicy guy (I love eggs with meat, cheese, and veggies)!

  22. archambt says:

    Coffee, bagel with marmite (with plenty of butter), or cream cheese. Occasional granola with yogurt and honey, and the garden variety cereals.

  23. NDPhys says:

    Every weekday morning I eat buttered toast (sometimes with honey) or oatmeal. On weekends, I usually go for a bigger breakfasts, Bacon or sausage, and eggs or pancakes. In addition, every breakfast includes coffee.

  24. Magpie says:

    I usually choose from one of the following options, in order of most likely first:

    1. Two slices of toast with orange juice.
    2. Cereal, for examaple Weetabix with fresh fruit, or Coco Pops.
    3. An Ulster Fry, consisting of fried egg, bacon, sausage, potato bread. I would not have this very often.
    4. A fruit salad.

  25. kab63 says:

    Gloriainexcelsis, I like your idea of a proper morning! I am not retired, so no can do, but I can sure appreciate. (Except for your sudoku crack — heh.) I not only like coffee and an ample breakfast, I’m in the Pippin camp and insist on second breakfast as well.

  26. The Egyptian says:

    Slap alarm clock at 5:30, 5:34, 5:38, think of bad things to do to inventor of said piece of torture, thank God to be alive another day and get dressed, quick read email and check out Day By Day and blogs, including FR Z, then out the door before 6:00. Make pot of coffee in milkhouse while Dad, who is always waiting for me, puts the cows in holding pen and I start milking.(at 75 Dad is incredible hope I’m in near that good of shape at 75) Hour and a half and 2 cups black coffee later, go home and make breakfast, 2 to 4 strips local made bacon, 2 eggs, hash browns or rye toast and a glass of raw milk. my schedule 7/365
    special occasions, breakfast at Bob Evans, love biscuits and gravy

  27. Annie says:

    Tea, lots of strong tea.
    After that it’s whatever’s in the cupboard, although it’s usually muesli, the only cereal I can face. Not very exciting.

  28. Elly says:

    My typical breakfast is toast, juice, and a couple squares of 85% dark chocolate.

  29. RichardT says:

    My main aim in the morning is to stay in bed until it is far too late for breakfast (I usually work best late at night).

    But Father, please excuse British ignorance – what are the thin reddish-brown things sprinkled on top? Very well-done onions? Very thinly-sliced potato? The straw that the eggs were packed in?

  30. jaykay says:

    Mine is a quick cup of coffee – tea in Lent cos it’s definitely a penance for me not to have coffee in the morning and tea just doesn’t do it for me, in the morning that is. I never have anything to eat as it’s always a rush to the train for the commute.

    However, at weekends, when I have more time, I tend to have… a larger cup of coffee :) I don’t really do breakfast, unless I’m going out cycling when I need the energy store. But even then I just take a couple of slices of good thick bread, spread good olive oil on them both sides (our local store does great basil-infused olive oil) and then toast them under the grill, along with 2 poached eggs. The eggs get left out more often than not, and I just spread pate on the toast, if we have any. Don’t really like sticky jam or marmelade. And that’s it.

  31. DJR says:

    Breakfast for me is pretty inconsitent as well…usually I never have an appetite early in the morning so I just wait until lunch! But on Sundays after serving high Mass (EF), all of us who serve go out to have a big breakfast…since that’s usually around 11am, I’ll usually have pancakes, eggs, sausage, and bacon.

    But when I was in Vienna I really enjoyed having sliced meats and cheese with croissants in the morning…it was filling but didn’t leave you feeling bloated like my usual Sunday breakfast does!

  32. patrick_f says:

    when I get the chance to eat breakfast its usually with my wife, we’ll do eggs, and a bagel, with some sort of jelly. Or she might even make biskits too, it all depends

  33. momoften says:

    We have breakfast if we are not running off to church early. The kids don’t want to get up any earlier if we are leaving for Mass/or activities so opt to skip breakfast. Usually it is cereal for some, or if they get a hankering they make eggs, pancakes, french toast, or waffles. Sundays are always a good breakfast with sausage, eggs, bacon, sometimes french toast or waffles…they have a long time to eat again until after Mass …it has to be substantial, though they are still hungry after wards. Boys are always hungry…

  34. Mike says:

    Two Easter Sundays ago: a diner in Sedona, Arizona.

    Heavenly. My kids still talk about it. I still dream of opening an Real Catholic Bookstore there in the downtown area, land of rocks and crystals.

    I would call it: Angel’s Nook.

  35. lucy says:

    Daily breakfast changes, but for Sundays – I offer this to my family of seven: bacon, sour dough toast, dippy eggs (I’m from Pa. Dutch country – they’re either basted in bacon grease or overeasy), fried potatoes – homemade, of course, with onion and garlic, and sometimes bits of green and red bell pepper (but the kids don’t like that yet), sliced honeydew, coffee, tea, and usually fresh apple cider.

    I wish today was Sunday again !

  36. Lee says:

    Up at 4:30 followed by prayers, two cups of ginger tea and breakfast.

    At age sixty-six I discovered the ideal breakfast: I saute’ peppers and peas, throw on several shakes of muchi curry and garam masala, toss in an egg, mix it around, and have an indian omelette. I used to follow this with a mixture of yoghurt and frozen blueberries to cool off my mouth, but have been doing without of late.

    Since I haven’t been able to get to Whole Foods to replace the spices, I’ve been using chipotle salsa instead the past few days.

    I’ve been working my way through Sirach in Italian at breakfast, with a dictionary open on one side of me and an English Bible open on the other, so it’s a very international affair.

  37. irishgirl says:

    On weekdays, I have cold cereal or instant oatmeal [depending on what my ‘mood’ is], toast [sometimes an English muffin, a bagel, or frozen waffles which I stick into the toaster], and hot tea.

    Saturdays I go out to different diners/restaurants in the area. Then I have eggs [mostly over-hard], bacon, hash browns [the crispier the better], toast [love rye bread!], hot tea and juice. Sometimes, again when the ‘mood’ hits me, I’ll eat pancakes or a Belgian waffle with fruit. Only time I had coffee was when I was ‘on the road’.

    When I used to travel to Europe, I loved having croissants, brioches, cafe-au-lait or hot chocolate. But nothing beats a full English breakfast! i often took extra rolls or croissants to scarf down during the day!

    And I always have a book, a magazine or newspaper in on the table when I eat! Don’t want to just stare at the wall-gotta have something to do!

  38. irishgirl says:

    Oh, I forgot-that’s one yummy picture you’ve got there, Fr. Z!

    My kind of breakfast!

  39. Melania says:

    It’s always cold cereal (not too sugary) and fruit. In the morning, my system abhors anything too heavy, too greasy or too sugary. Breakfast is important (don’t skip it!) but not very interesting for me.

    I find most of the men of my acquaintance love breakfast and the diner experience. Breakfast was my father’s favorite meal; he could have had it three times a day. What could be better than pancakes, sausages, coffee, eggs, hash browns, toast, french toast … all of it?

    On the other hand, I and most of my women friends prefer lunch. The perfect luncheon experience is in a small restaurant with a beautiful garden patio on a sunny day. Everyone orders salads or small plates of some kind with lattes or iced tea or (politically incorrect) sodas.

  40. leutgeb says:

    Porridge cooked in the microwave – jumbo rolled oats and semiskimmed milk – and coffee.

  41. Jason Keener says:

    Almost every morning, I have a bottle of water, one banana, and one Yoplait Yogurt. Very fast and easy.

  42. dimsum says:

    Today’s breakfast:

    1. Large glass of water & 1 tabelspoon of flax seed oil
    2. Small glass of fresh carrot & beet juice
    3. Oatmeal, mixed with 1 tablespoon of grounded flax seed and 1/2 teaspoon of honey
    4. 2 soy bean breakfast patties
    5. Glass of soy milk

  43. Agnes of Prague says:

    I’m going to wager that unless they are very long skinny hash browns, the mysterious fried object on Father Z’s plate are fried leftover spaghetti. I’ve only attempted this once, but I hear it’s something the Romans do from time to time.

    Melania I think your comments on women vs. men’s favorite meals are interesting. I used to have an occasional Saturday routine with one friend or another–early Mass (6:30), then go out to breakfast–either an omelette with vegetables in it and hazelnut coffee, or something more on the sweet, breadlike side.

    My dad definitely loves his big Saturday breakfasts at the diner.

    Sunday brunch, after Mass, cooked by myself or friends, is my very favorite incarnation of breakfast foods and symbolizes everything that is good about friendship, households, and food (except good health)… I once wrote an ode to it in the style of Walt Whitman.

  44. gloriainexcelsis says:

    The Egyptian – I was raised by a Missouri farm Grandma (in the middle of Los Angeles, with chickens, rabbits, garden et al. My breakfasts were eggs, bacon or German sausage, homemade buttermilk biscuits or pancakes or waffles, juice and milk, and maybe oatmeal to start. Sometimes is was pork chops and potatoes plus the eggs, and often those biscuits were covered with country gravy. I was a stick and ate like a farmhand morning noon and night. I was also anemic and our family doctor (this was 1930s) told Gramma to give me a little glass of port wine before I went to school in the morning for the iron and to INCREASE my appetite. No wonder I liked school so much. If I ate that way today, I’d be a blimp! Now I settle for a glass or two of merlot around bedtime.

  45. Mike Morrow says:

    Recommended if one doesn’t mind a $12 breakfast, plus tip:

    Cracker Barrel Restaurant: French toast with maple syrup, plus country ham, plus coffee.

    (Not recommended too often if one is minding weight!)

  46. Jaybirdnbham says:

    RichardT: my guess for the brown stuff would be hash-brown potatoes. But someone above also mentioned the possibility of leftover fried spaghetti. (sounds icky, but worth trying once…) Maybe Fr. Z will let us know which it is.

  47. Roland de Chanson says:

    Un croissant ou parfois une brioche et du café noir. Un verre ou deux de Sauternes suivi d’une absinthe faite à la maison, et pour couronner le tout, un cognac avec du Grand Marnier. Et me voilà prêt pour les heures de pointe!

    Le petit déjeuner digne d’un abbé!

  48. jt83 says:

    I am Vietnamese American and so I eat a bowl of Pho every morning! Nothing tops that

  49. Charivari Rob says:

    Cold cereal with milk, sometimes with fruit. Toast. Fruit juice. Hot tea when I get to work.

    Given my last weigh-in, I should start doing more fruit & less toast.

    As to classic short-order breakfast, Father, you are going to be in NJ next month. If you can’t find good diners there, you’re not paying attention.

  50. The Egyptian says:


    Wish I had that problem, always ate good, good german grandma and mother, those were the days, I am trying the idea of “eat breakfast like a King, dinner like a prince and supper like a pauper

  51. Ellen says:

    I love breakfast, but normally all I have is cheerios and milk with a cup of tea, or toast and tea. I sometimes make bacon and waffles for dinner though.
    No eggs – eggs are evil and nasty things especially hard boiled.

  52. coeyannie says:

    I usually have yogurt, raspberries and Quinoa Flakes or granola. I take it to work and eat there. Eggs are not nasty and evil. Natural foods are very good for you, if you don’t mix in processed foods, ie, margerine, cheese whiz, etc. Butter is excellent. Sugar, processed foods, alcohol (sorry) are bad for you. I am trying to lose weight, but I refuse to eat “low-fat anything”. Just won’t eat sugar.

  53. Roland: Le petit déjeuner digne d’un abbé!


  54. Jason C. says:

    If you’re ever in Tegucigalpa, nothing beats a baleada for breakfast. Very simple…tortilla, beans, eggs, mantequilla, and meat if you want it. If I could I would open open up a small restaurant here in the states, that sells only baleadas, but they’re not easy to make really good.

  55. Rouxfus says:

    Weekdays: orange juice, double espresso, banana, two slices of toast with olive oil.

    Saturday: orange juice, double espresso, oatmeal with fruit

    Sunday: the Most Blessed Sacrament – the best way to break fast. Brunch after Mass: double-espresso, orange juice, three fried eggs sunny side up with parsley, oregano and Tony Chachere’s cajun seasoning, oven-baked thick cut bacon, toast.

  56. Alfred says:

    Certainly not every day, but on special occasions, when friends are in town, and I was up far too late, there’s a great local restaurant at which I order as many sides as possible.

    Coffee, Water, Two eggs sunny-side up, Toast, Hash browns, Grits, Bacon, Sausage, Biscuits and sausage gravy, Scraple, and, sometimes, a milkshake.

    I don’t eat for days.

  57. KarenLH says:

    Weekdays: Cereal with blueberries and milk; orange wedges
    Saturday: Pancakes; Canadian bacon; yogurt with sliced fruit
    Sunday: Eggs scrambled with veggies, cheese, and the rest of the Canadian bacon; hash browns; English muffin with preserves; orange wedges

    And strong black coffee, which is not optional.

  58. dcs says:

    Strong coffee (decaf), medium roast, sugar but no milk or cream
    Bacon and eggs on white toast (or sometimes a bagel)
    Blueberry muffin
    Challah bread French toast with cinnamon sugar
    Chocolate milk
    Orange juice
    A bowl of oatmeal
    Rye bread toast
    and because I’m from Philadelphia … TastyKakes

  59. Jbuntin says:

    Being the fat girl that I am, I eat different breakfasts depending on my mood. I love bacon eggs and toast, but one of my favorites it old fasioned oats cooked with a fresh apple and cinnomon, butter and brown sugar. It’s like apple pie for breakfast. But I also love banana pancakes, or biscuits and sausage. I just like to eat breakfast. It’s really my favorite meal.

  60. Girgadis says:

    I know it’s supposedly the most important meal of the day, but I rarely have an appetite in the morning, especially as early as I leave the house (5:40am). I don’t drink coffee or tea and it’s often well past 9 before I can even think about breakfast. I usually eat things that most people would normally have at lunch, like a sandwich or even soup, or sometimes a handful of nuts and some cheese. However, on occasional weekends, I have been known to whip up a mean creme brulee French toast (very decadent but filling, so we often skip lunch when I make it) or, a Dutch omelette, which is a fancy way of saying scrambled eggs, hash browns, sausage and cheese all smooshed together. If I had my druthers, I would have my main meal of the day at Noon, and something similar to collation at dinnertime. Hard to do with a family.

  61. IL Catholic says:

    I go to breakfast right after Mass. The cafeteria conveniently opens right around when Mass ends :). I always have french toast, fruit, and raisin bran.

  62. Cathomommy says:

    Depends on what I am feeding the kids that morning…which in turn depends on how much I was up with the baby in the night. If I had a good night’s sleep, I feel ambitious and make pancakes, scrambled eggs and toast, old-fashioned stove-top oatmeal with plenty of cinnamon & brown sugar. If not…”Hey boys, what kind of cereal do you want this morning?” And there’s always either good English tea for me or I’ll brew a pot of coffee and drink it through the day if we’re going to stay home.

  63. bookworm says:

    The breakfast of choice for me these days is 2 slices of toast with peanut butter and a little grape jelly, chased down by a cup of strong coffee with milk, or sometimes I just zap the milk in the microwave and stir instant coffee right into it — voila, instant latte.

    Many times I prefer to eat “breakfast” foods such as eggs, bacon, hash browns, or pancakes for lunch or dinner. I’ve also used chilled and hardened Cream of Wheat or even grits as a stand-in for polenta and topped it with tomato sauce and Parmesan or mozzarella cheese.

  64. RudyB says:

    Same thing every day: one egg, some slices of muenster cheese, and a sausage patty. (And a little bit of coffee)

  65. msmsem says:

    I generally don’t like eating before I’ve gone to Mass (which works fine since the weekday morning Mass is at 7am, Saturday at 7:30am), but afterward it’s usually a bowl of cereal – Honey Nut Cheerios with some raisins and 2% milk. On Sundays, Mass is at 9am, so I’m usually starving by the time the cafeteria opens at 11am – and so it’s something like a “Meat Mountie” (sausage patty, egg, and cheese on a bagel, to which I add a drizzle of steak sauce), a side of tater tots (brings me right back to elementary school lunches…), and a nice tall bottle of grapefruit juice. Mmmm… Certainly makes me look forward to Sundays! :)

  66. JohnE says:

    Usually oatmeal with berries, with a little vanilla whey protein mixed in.

  67. stefp says:

    best American breakfast in Italy — at the Beehive. yummy french toast, freshly squeezed juices, etc. space is small, but cozy.

  68. stefp says:

    re Beehive — i meant Rome specifically.

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