Montana Public Radio

The History Of Breakfast

Dec 22, 2019

"But on Sunday morning, there's the time when a man has time to eat..."

Radio listeners can enjoy an excerpt of Cole Porter's "Sunday Morning Breakfast Time" at the top of every Food Guys broadcast. Breakfast-odes notwithstanding, when Jon Jackson did a little digging, he discovered that breakfast's role as "the most important meal of the day" is new-fangled. In fact, in 13th century Europe, breakfast carried vulgar connotations: Thomas Aquinas declared that meals eaten early in the day bordered on gluttony. Breakfast belonged to farmers and manual laborers, children, the elderly, and the infirm.

Not everyone's breakfast is bacon, eggs and toast, or grits, or Cap'n Crunch. There's miso soup in Japan, congee in China, yogurt and cheese in cattle-herding regions of Africa.

So: IS breakfast the most important meal of the day? "It's an accepted axiom, but many people aren't hungry in the morning," concludes Greg Patent.

(Broadcast: "The Food Guys," 12/22/19. Listen weekly on the radio at 9:53 a.m. Sundays, or via podcast.)