Daily Rituals is a series celebrating the various little everyday routines that both comprise and sustain the human condition. Here, our writers share their own everyday habits and best-kept secrets.
Firsts always tend to be the most important: first impressions, first trips, first concerts… and yes, breakfast, the first meal of the day.
However, I've noticed that when it comes to breakfast—eggs, waffles, yogurt, and coffee—we are all a little bit scrambled. Making breakfast is a hassle many of us don’t want to face. There are buses and trains to catch, outfits to be planned, and classes to go to before you miss out on the next exam's material. No one has time to prepare breakfast.
Few of us still firmly believe breakfast is an age-old ritual. Unlike the experience of venturing into the state of flux that characterizes the morning rush, the experience of preparing and eating breakfast exists in the optimism of the morning, shifting from ingredient to ingredient and from bite to bite.
I was brought up to think that breakfast is not only the most important meal of the day, but also the one where I get to be the most creative. So much so, that every night, the last thing I think about before going to sleep is my big wooden table, trembling with the weight of my homemade granola, eggs, warm bread, and colorful bowls of fresh fruit. And I still haven’t been able to shake the feeling that grabbing a cup of orange juice and a piece of bread in the morning is an unforgivable act of rebellion.
Morning is a special time for me. My mood, my feelings, and my productivity throughout the day are influenced by how I start my day. Through my breakfast morning ritual, I have realized that adopting rituals before eating makes food a lot better. And trust me, it gets easier and even more delicious every time you do!
Create a ritual dining space
Call me crazy, but to me, food tastes a lot better when I eat it at a place that brings me joy. I believe that taste is a fusion of all five senses: taste, touch, smell, sound, and sight. When I combine the comfortable slink of my favorite cushion with the flowery aroma of the plants that surround me and the feel of my bare feet against the cold marble ground as my sleepy eyes stare at the explosion of garden colors, my breakfast tastes even better than if it had been prepared by the world’s best chef. You don’t need a formal dining space to enjoy your food. Just go with what you think could take your meal to a whole new level!
Pay attention to detail
Unfortunately, eating is probably the most mindless thing we do. But even the most casual meal can become more meaningful when we are conscious from the moment we buy the ingredients, to the moment we enjoy our last bite. Words do not do it justice when describing the heavenly flavors inside my breakfast ritual: munching to still-muddy radishes from my garden as I mop up the runny egg yolk of my poached egg against the golden borders of my avocado toast and (best for last) the salted coconut flakes from my homemade granola tasting like a crunchy explosion against the soft creaminess of the Greek yogurt. Paying attention to the details in what I eat really allows me to appreciate and enjoy the flavors, textures, and different aspects of my meals.
Share the meal
One of the biggest culture shocks I experienced in college was eating by myself, surrounded by a multitude of people sitting alone, staring down at the table, shifting their glances from their unappetizing meal to the screens of their phones. Back home, I would prepare and eat meals with my family and friends. We would sit around our small kitchen table surrounded by a buffet of dishes that would satisfy all our different cravings, talking about experiences, ideas, or simply about how good the food was. To this day, the moment of simply sitting down together for a meal, talking, laughing, and even arguing as we eat is something that I will always value. Sharing meals is not really about the food you consume, but about the experience you create. Meals don’t have to come from the fanciest or most expensive restaurant in town; savoring the process of cooking and eating with others makes for the best food experience.