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Breakfast Around the World

Arnie Greenberg

Apparently it wasn’t a medical person who said that ‘breakfast was the most important meal of the day. It was in Franz Kafka’s 1815 book Metamorphosis . The words themselves came from breaking the fast and even today, the medical world has different interpretations of the need for breakfast. I personally joke that I am on a one meal a day diet. I start in the morning and eat all day. That may sound funny but some people are always hungry and weight is a universal concern.

As one travels you get the idea that it’s a different menu in many countries. I was raised in Canada. Danish & coffee.

Here toast, coffee and juice are the choice of most. But with people moving around from place to place, one can find other country’s choices here a home. Here in North America we can find Asian. Australian, English and even Scottish breakfasts.


My local favorite is toast, coffee, the occasional egg ( done in any of a dozen ways). I never got used to meat in the morning so I skip the bacon and aside from the occasional smoked salmon on a bagel, I omit fish. But in the restaurants where I hang out, waffles, French toast and pancakes rule the roost. Of course, I gravitate to all of these delicacies since Maple syrup or Corn Starch gives me my sugar high.

Salt is something I stay away from. I never add salt to food.                                    

As for cereals, I usually eat them as a snack at the end of the day.  They have good properties and were important during the war when bacon and eggs were rationed.

Jewish style bread…in Paris

On my travels I’m discovered the pros and cons of my habits.

France does it all. A croissant and coffee is the answer. For my wife it’s baguette (French bread). Most restaurants give you one piece of baguette and one croissant with either butter or jam. I take the two croissants and jam. My wife takes both pieces of baguette with the butter. It’s the perfect marriage.

In Scotland I passed up the chance of tasting haggis. My, wife, on the other hand, ordered it gladly and devoured it even though the waiter poured a few ounces of scotch on top.

Breakfast restaurants in New Zealand were unheard of until the 1990s. Their favorite is porridge with brown sugar, which, I imagine, they ate at home. But all that has changed.

The typical full English breakfast goes back to Victorian times and   includes eggs (fried, scrambled, boiled or poached) sausages, fish, sheep’s kidneys, mushrooms tomatoes (cooked) fried bread, pudding of some sort and their special muffins and marmalade. A common sight was fried potatoes and left over vegetables. Its one of the few countries, where I couldn’t get used to my morning meal.

The Greeks have their own habits. They enjoy pastry, tyropita, spanakopita or bougasta…not to forget their Greek coffee or Frappe with fresh bread and butter or yoghurt.

In Denmark breakfast consists of cereals, bread or bread rolls, cheeses, fruit, skimmed milk ,tea or coffee.

I was disappointed and shocked to be served plain loose yoghurt at a hotel in Istanbul. You have to ask for toast and coffee. Thankfully, in India they offered us a buffet of Indian delicacies and another of typical American dishes. They even had chefs who made your eggs to order as you liked them/

In Cuba we had ‘café con leche’ (coffee and milk) which they tried to embellish by a pinch of salt. It was not for me. Toasted bread cut in long slices and dipped into the coffee suited me well. I passed on the roast pork, beans and white rice.

We recently returned from Mexico. I rarely ate breakfast in a restaurant, unless it was pancakes and syrup. Hold the beans, cheese and tortillas.

I felt quite at home in Russia. There I ate pancakes fried and crispy on the edge which I covered with honey and fresh berries. I can always swap coffee for tea. But then again, I am of Russian origin and we’re all creatures of habit.

The coffee break is a perfect time to get the muffin and coffee we didn’t have before work…and speaking of coffee, my move to Vancouver has shown me a city where there’s a coffee shop and most intersections downtown and young and old walk around with insulated cups of coffee of every description. Coffee, at all times of the day is king.

Now as I reach a ripe old age and find myself on the pacific coast, I frequent a restaurant chain that specializes in morning food. It’s called De Dutch. No, that’s not a spelling error. In De store, you can have De eggs, De pancakes and De coffee early in DE morning or until de middle of de afternoon.

They even sell coffee mugs with the name DE DUTCH printed on the side. I bought one for a Dutch friend.

There are these quaint eateries in all areas of the city. My favorite is only a few blocks from where I now live. Go to 1725 Robson Street for a great meal. It’s a “PANKOEK” house ad they have sachets of DE SUGAR. I ordered a walnut and banana pancake…DE-licious…

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You can Contact Professor Arnie Greenberg at


Over the past few years, Professor Greenberg has traveled with groups to France, Italy, Spain, Greece, Budapest, Vienna, Salzburg, Prague and both Sorrento and the Bay of Naples plus most of Sicily. His tours traveled to the far reaches of the globe including Italy and most of China (Beijing -Hong Kong) and to Russia where his group cruised the waters from St.Petersburg to Moscow. 

"He took a group to Greece and another to northern Russia. In Nov 07 he took a tour group to much of India and ended his tour groups by revisiting France. He now travels with his wife and friends. They winter in Argentina or San Miguel Mexico.  His newly found spare time is taken up with his painting and writing. "I must write every day." His current work is a cautionary manual for would-be tour leaders..  "So You Want To Be A Tour Leader." 

Arnie now travels with friends. He continues writing Travel articles about unusual places but often concentrates on novel writing. Two books based on French Art will be published this year.  Keep reading his web for travel ideas.  His next novel HELLSTORM'S Folly, will be available this fall. He now lives in British Columbia.

Go to: or contact him directly at

(More about the writer.)


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