Mom always said breakfast was the most important meal of the day, and she was probably right. Breakfast (from the expression “to break fast”) gives you the energy to get going after a long night’s sleep. It should provide at least one fourth of the calories and nutrients consumed during the day.
Breakfast is often an on-the-go, rushed experience, hence the popularity of breakfast sandwiches, jumbo muffins and disposable coffee cups. Brunch, on the other hand, is a leisurely experience, combining breakfast foods along with almost anything else. Unlike breakfast, brunch is often accompanied by champagne or other alcoholic beverages and concludes with a pastry or desert.
Food service operations must offer a variety of breakfast options to appeal to a wide range of consumers. Hotels and resorts may offer a complimentary continental-style breakfast of coffee, juice and simple rolls; a full service a la carte dining room, a room service menu and a casual snack bar. The grand hotel Sunday and holiday brunch buffet is an American institution for celebrations and special occasions.
Office, retail and commercial complexes are peppered with small shops selling coffee, muffins, bagels and sweet rolls. Coffee houses offering a variety of coffee blends and drinks, pastries, breads and quiche are also popular. Even fast-food facilities have expanded their menus and hours of operation to meet the needs of early-morning diners.
No other breakfast food is as popular or as versatile as the egg. Eggs can be cooked by almost any method and served with a wide array of seasonings, accompaniments and garnishes. Whatever cooking method is selected, be sure to prepare the eggs carefully: Overcooked eggs and those cooked at too high a temperature will be tough and rubbery.
Shirred Eggs with Ham
Melted whole butter
½ oz. Baked ham, sliced thin
Salt and Pepper
1 Tbsp. Heavy cream, hot
1 Tbsp. Swiss cheese, grated
Brush the interior of a 6-ounce ramekin with melted butter. Line the ramekin with ham.
Break the eggs into a cup and pour them carefully into the ramekin on top of the ham. Season with salt and pepper.
Bake at 325 F until the eggs begin to set, approximately 8-10 minutes. Remove from the oven, add the cream and grated cheese. Return to the oven until the eggs are cooked and the cheese is melted. Serve immediately.