Breakfast: Israeli vs. American

Today, 13 years ago I had my first American breakfast.  It was also my first visit to the USA. I was very excited to explore the great American culture, which I heard so much about, read about, and of course watched many movies about. I was curious to finally get personally acquainted with this civilization that colonized the world with its culture. 

I was sitting at a dinner in Historic Folsom, California, flipping through the breakfast menu pages and not finding anything similar to the breakfast I knew in Israel. Yes, there were the familiar eggs, bread, and coffee on the menu. There were also steaks, bacon, ham, links, sausages, potatoes, French fries, pancakes, and waffles. What I could not find was a salad, fresh cheeses, and olives. This heavy breakfast did not make sense to me. In my mind, potatoes and meats belong to lunch or dinner. A nice waitress who saw my confusion offered to help. I ended up with a custom made breakfast of eggs, cottage cheese and some slices of tomatoes.

As a teenager I used to read Janet Dailey’s romance novels. I found the most shocking details in her books to be the descriptions of the cowboys breakfast. The first shock was the time – 4am in the morning. I could not imagine wanting to do anything in this hour besides to sleep. The second shock was the menu – eggs, steaks and potatoes. My only explanation for that was that Cowboys must need their energy.  What I could not understand that morning at the dinner, is why would anyone who is not very physically active eat such food. 

As much as eating meat for breakfast is foreign to me, I know that for many Americans the thought of eating a salad for breakfast is very strange, even unappealing. It is really hard to find meats in a typical Israeli breakfast, because of kosher reasons. According to Jewish law there should be a separation between dairy and meat. Some people even wait 7 hours after eating meet before they can have dairy.  

What I love about the Israeli breakfast is the freshness and vivid colors. I find the American breakfast to be very monochromatic: white, yellow, and brown. The Israeli breakfast on the other hand offers a wide range of colors, which is a feast for the eyes as much as for the palate (in my opinion).  Besides eggs, salad, and fresh bread, Israeli breakfast is also rich with a variety of local cheeses; most are unfamiliar here, fish (sardines, mackerel, salmon), and olives. 

Fresh fruits and vegetables contain enzymes that help the body break and absorb protein. There are many enzymes supplements in the market and yet, why not have a salad. It is so easy and quick to make, and it adds a lot of flavor to the meal.  

Ingredients for an individual salad:

1/2 cup green leaves
2 slices of tomato
2 inches of cucumber
1/4 or 1/2 avocado
olive oil
salt and pepper
Feta cheese - optional

Prep: chop, mix, and add flavor (oil, salt, pepper and lemon).

Add feta cheese on top.