We thought that you would find the historical perspective of breakfasts in the Appalachian mountains interesting. Breakfast is an important meal. It gives us the energy we need after fasting for 12 hours or so during the night to go through the first half of our working day. The following is an excerpt from the cookbook, Mountain Country Cooking: A Gathering of the Best Recipes from the Smokies to the Blue Ridge by Mark Sohn.
"People may argue about what to serve for an old-fashioned mountain breakfast, but on one issue everyone agrees: Fifty to seventy-five years ago, mountain people ate gigantic breakfasts. Over the last seventy-five years, however, our lives and our breakfast have changed.
"I have observed three phases in the evolution of mountain country breakfasts. First, seventy-five years ago, just after the railroads pressed their steel tracks into mountain coal fields, breakfast was really big. The cook loaded the table with bacon, sausage, and pork chops – all at the same meal. If they were saving the pork chops for another day, they served ribs, back bones, fried chicken, or country ham. With this they often ate fried potatoes or hash browns, buttermilk biscuits, breakfast sausage gravy, homemade blackberry jam, grits or hominy, and eggs, eggs, eggs. To top it off, they may have eaten apple or pumpkin pie, milk, juice, and coffee. These foods, which they called victuals, stuck to the ribs and supported outdoor labor until the mid-day lunch.
"In the 1950’s breakfasts got smaller. We traded toast for biscuits, the pie disappeared, and bacon, sausage, or ham often stood alone with eggs. Hot cereal or sweet potatoes sometimes managed a place on the table. We served milk, juice, and coffee, and perhaps hot or cold cereal."In recent years – the fat fighting nineties – country cooks, like others, reserve eggs and bacon for special occasions. We worry about cholesterol. We cover dry cereal with skim or low-fat milk, we microwave a frozen bagel, or we lower a toaster pastry into the toaster. No time for hot cereal. No eggs. No pork chops. No cooking. It’s often an on-the-go breakfast."
After reading this account of the gigantic old-fashion mountain breakfast it got me to thinking. Should we change the order of the size of our meals with the largest meal at breakfast and the smallest meal in the evening? Does our body work best if it is operating off of the energy from the meal that we just ate, or does it work best refilling the body reserves with a big meal in the evening? Does eating a big meal in the evening and a small breakfast program our body to store the food we eat as fat for a reserve rather than flushing out the surplus? This is a subject worth researching and finding out more about it.