By now most of us have gone through quite a few crests and troughs. The stage of excitement and experimentation has been supplanted with a greater degree of fatigue and let’s-just-get-it-over-with. The overriding aim now is to maximise efficiency — especially when it comes to cooking and cleaning. But for many, breakfast, the meal that sets the tone for the day, is becoming more pivotal.
“Breakfast jumpstarts the gut. People who begin the day with a balanced meal of protein, carbohydrates and fiber tend to eat less junk food during the day,” says Bipasha Das, a senior nutritionist in Delhi. “A high-fiber breakfast of slow-release carbs prevents mid-morning sugar cravings. A fruity French toast with homemade juice or an apple-oats-berries-almond smoothie are good options.”
Most families eat egg-and-bread combinations with a glass of milk, tea or coffee. Some are using the lockdown to do more, as a means to buoy spirits and with an eye on practicality — lunch can then be small, simple or even skipped altogether.
Mumbai entrepreneur Manuja Shroff with her bacon-and-egg muffins. Breakfasts are a chance to easily repurpose leftovers and create hearty, enjoyable yet simple one-pan meals, she says.
Leftovers are now being looked upon favourably; the idea is to make them go two or three ways. “Chopped veggies, from dinner the previous night, mixed with leftover rajma and served with quinoa is breakfast,” says Manuja Shroff, a Mumbai entrepreneur in her 30s. “Or I throw spinach in with leftover veggies, add cheese, break a few eggs into the pan to do my version of a shakshuka.” At times, her breakfast options are decided by what will minimise the dishwashing. For instance, she makes egg-and-bacon muffins you can just pick off a platter and eat. “Instead of making a cheese omelette, fry bacon in a separate pan, toast the bread in the toaster, it’s all combined in the muffin tray,” she says.
Many families are using ingredients on their last legs, as improvised breakfast plans. “We had bananas and sliced bread not too far from their expiry dates, and milk, and they had to be consumed, that too with some style and taste. So we made a bread banana pudding,” says professor Sidharth Mishra, 52, from Kaushambi, Uttar Pradesh. “In this way nothing goes to waste and we cut down going on trips to the market too.”
Breakfast is also a time to draw in newer kitchen allies, says Gayatri Mundlye, 35, a Bengaluru-based content marketing professional. “My two-year-old son, Shaan, has learnt to mix his own milkshake. He has his own kitchen mat and tools. This is a good way to keep an eye on your child and make him pick up good habits.”
At Gurgaon-based Sona Mazumdar’s home too, the kids, aged 13 and 9, have been “broken into the kitchen” by having to make pancakes and fry sausages and hash browns to fancy up breakfasts. Mazumdar, 43, chief partnership officer at an entertainment company, plans to try her hand at Eggs Benedict someday. But what she is actually looking forward to is going back to ‘square one’: Eggs and bread.