[ Breakfast in Bed - 2016 ] ~ from Monterey Bay Herb Company
Breakfast in Bed Shadow Header
"Springing ahead" an hour in March is winter's last gasp. It is a final hurdle before spring that strips us of our hard-won early morning light and plunges our wake up time back into darkness. The Monday after its arrival is frought with somnolent workers and mismatched clocks. In defense the day has been proclaimed National Nap Day.

This antidote suits us, and we salute its efforts by also encouraging a March full of extended time in bed lounging and lingering over everyone's favorite comfort meal—Breakfast. In this spirit we hope you enjoy digesting our articles on Breakfast in Bed and that you find inspiration to add some spice to your morning meal.

[ Breakfast in Bed: Breaking Fast ] ~ from Monterey Bay Spice

a. upstairs, downstairs

If you’re a fan of Downton Abbey (and who isn’t?), you may have noticed that in grand houses married ladies of the time period took their breakfast in bed, while their husbands dressed and joined the rest of the male household (and single women) in the dining room downstairs. This was traditional protocol on both sides of the pond from the mid-19th century through the early 1920s.

Men were also permitted the luxury of breaking fast in bed, but they were usually eager to set out for a day of shooting in the field or fishing at a nearby stream. In contrast, the women weren’t expected to make an appearance downstairs until after 10:30 a.m., when they would typically take up letter writing or reading in the parlor, or venture a stroll through the gardens.

While the sideboard in the breakfast room or dining room downstairs offered an assortment of menu choices, such as eggs (made fresh as diners appeared), pheasant, sliced ham, creamed beef, kippered herring, kedgeree (recipe below), codfish balls or hominy grits, depending on the region, the breakfast in bed tray provided much simpler fare—cereal and toast, or eggs and bacon, sometimes served with fruit.

However, no matter what was served upstairs, it was crucial that the tableware it came in matched the bedroom decor it was assigned to, and, most importantly, each piece on the tray. As Emily Post reminds us in Etiquette in Society, in Business, in Politics, and at Home, published in 1922, “…it is far better to send a complete set of blue china to a rose-colored room than a rose set that has pieces missing. Nothing looks worse than odd crockery. It is like unmatched paper and envelopes, or odd shoes, or a woman's skirt and waist that do not meet in the back.”

[ Breakfast in Bed: Egg-Cellent Ideas ] ~ from Monterey Bay Spice

b. how do you like your eggs?

People have been eating eggs as long as birds of every kind of feather have been laying them, and there are more ways to cook them than you can shake toast tongs at. Whether your preference is scrambled, fried, poached, soft-boiled, hard-boiled, shirred (baked and served in the same dish) or whisked into an omelet or frittata, eggs are a satisfying source of protein.

They also pair well with a wide assortment of seasonings, from thyme and parsley to cayenne and turmeric. Other add-ins and toppers: sage, rosemary, chives, basil, dill, oregano...the list goes on.

Another way to prepare eggs that works well on the breakfast tray is “eggs in a basket,” also known as “one-eyed jacks”, “spit in the ocean", "gashouse eggs", “Adam & Eve on a Raft” and by various other names. This dish consists of an egg dropped onto a piece of bread in which a hole has been made at the center with a biscuit cutter or similar tool. The egg and bread “basket” are then pan-fried in butter until the egg is set and the bread toasted to a golden brown. Give your guests a giggle: toast and serve the cut out piece on the breakfast plate as a little hat (and dipper) for the egg.

"I am convinced that the Muses and the Graces never thought of having breakfast anywhere but in bed."

—Elizabeth Russell
(Countess von Arnim)

English novelist

[ Breakfast in Bed: Pancakes and Waffles ] ~ from Monterey Bay Spice

c. hot off the griddle
(or iron)

Pancakes, or some near resemblance to what we know of them, have been slid off a hot rock or griddle for centuries. In fact, there’s archaeological evidence that Stone Age pancake fans were making flat cakes from ground einkorn wheat, the oldest species of cultivated wheat. Also known as hotcakes, griddle cakes, Johnny cakes and flapjacks, pancakes were once traditionally served on Shrove Tuesday because it presented an opportunity to use up the last of the household lard, eggs and other animal products before the start of fasting for Lent on the following day, Ash Wednesday. In the United States, Canada, Australia, Ireland and the UK, the day came to be known as Pancake Day.

The ancient Greeks produced a wafer-like cake on heated plates known as obleios, an early version of the beloved honeycombed waffle that we know today. But we can thank the Puritans for introducing Dutch-style waffles to American colonists in the early 17th century, having experienced the doughy treats in Holland while en route to America – and it was here that waffle and maple syrup became partners. They were so popular among the colonists that waffle parties were common. Then, in 1789, after retiring from his second term as French Ambassador, Thomas Jefferson returned home with the first long-handled waffle iron to cross American shores. It would be nearly another century before Cornelius Swarthout, a Dutch-American living in New York, patented the first stovetop waffle iron on August 24th, 1869. Today, in the U.S., the date is celebrated each year as National Waffle Day.

[ Breakfast in Bed: Continental Breakfast ] ~ from Monterey Bay Spice

d. the lighter side...

In the early 19th century, especially for farming families, a hearty breakfast was necessary to provide sufficient calories to labor through the working day. In England, Ireland and Wales, the meal typically included kippers, beef kidneys or blood sausage (or all three), as well as eggs, potatoes or groats and toasted bread. With expanding migration to the U.S. from these countries, this style of “full Monty” breakfast followed.

However, as the population increased five-fold by the end of the century in America, the breakfast menu changed. Greater urbanization meant a growing middle class largely consisting of merchants and shopkeepers that didn’t require so many calories to perform their occupational duties. Hence, the continental breakfast—a muffin, pastry or toast with butter and jam washed down with juice and coffee or tea, sometimes served with a small bowl of cereal—was born.

As Emily Post points out, “Most people who breakfast “in bed” take only coffee or tea, an egg, toast and possibly fruit.” Undoubtedly, the etiquette expert wrote this with latter-half 19th century American urbanites in mind. But the continental breakfast wasn’t limited to city dentists and bankers who broke fast at home; it emerged in the hotel industry as a marketing strategy to include the cost of the meal in the price of the room, a model that persists today. The style preference was equally popular with visiting Europeans at the time. Perhaps because the term “continental,” which translated to distinctly American, strung together with “breakfast,” still suggested a European flair.

You're the best book I ever read.
You're the smartest thing I ever said.
You're breakfast in bed.


[ Herbal Happy Hour: 2013 - Mulling it Over ] ~ from Monterey Bay Spice

e. more food for thought

If you happen to enjoy your breakfast in bed on the morning of National Napping Day, you can roll over and return to snoozing after sweeping away the crumbs without so much as a twinge of guilt. This unofficial and much overlooked holiday, which lands on March 14th this year, is the brainchild of William and Camille Anthony, a husband and wife pair who timed the day to coincide with Americans returning to work the day after clocks “spring” ahead an hour, marking the end of Daylight Savings Time. William, a Professor Emeritus retired from the College of Health & Rehabilitation Sciences at Boston University, and known to friends and colleagues as “Napman,” advocates a power nap of 20 minutes to two hours during the day to reduce stress and enhance productivity and memory.

If pangs of shame over lingering under the linens until lunch (or later) insist on showing up, quell them with the knowledge that napping boosts concentration and memory while reducing cortisol levels, which translates to less anxiety and depression and lower blood sugar. There’s also the fact that lack of sleep deprives the average U.S. worker of 11.3 work days, or $2,280 in wages each year.* On a national scale, this loss equates to $63 billion annually. Thanks to Napman, some employers are investing in nap pods and actually encourage their employees to sleep on the job. Among them: Procter & Gamble, Google, Cisco and Ben & Jerry's.

* Kessler, Ronald C.; Berglund,Patricia A.; Coulouvrat, Catherine; et al.; Insomnia and the Performance of US Workers: Results from the America Insomnia Survey; Journal of Sleep; 2011 Sep 1; 34(9): 1161–1171.

[ Breakfast in Bed: Recipes ] ~ from Monterey Bay Spice

f. breakfast recipes

Kedgeree, also known as khichuri, is an Indian dish that dates to the 14th century and originally consisted of rice, smoked haddock, legumes and vegetables. It was modified and adopted as a breakfast item in England during the mid-19th century. This version is inspired from a recipe published in House and Garden in 1996.
view the recipe >

mushroom, scallion, & herb frittata
A frittata is an Italian dish that’s like a cross between an omelet and a quiche, except there is no crust and it cooks in a skillet in the oven. A cast iron skillet is best (and traditional) to make a frittata, but a 2-quart baking dish will work too.
view the recipe >

breakfast burritos
Breakfast burritos are flavorful and hearty. For a vegetarian version, swap out the sausage for a can of drained black beans.
view the recipe >

baked oatmeal with bananas and blueberries
This classic comfort food gets a new twist with a touch of sweetness from honey and fresh fruit and the warm flavors of vanilla and cinnamon.
view the recipe >

baked eggs with spinach & feta
Easy to make and a breeze to clean up, this recipe gets an elegant breakfast on the bed tray in minutes. Consider adding cooked and crumbled bacon and/or sliced, cooked potato to the recipe for heartier fare.
view the recipe >

spiced pancakes
Ginger, cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon come together to make this traditional breakfast treat extra special. The addition of applesauce not only adds sweetness, but it means less fat (in this case, oil) is needed.
view the recipe >

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