The Breakfast Hour

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“The Breakfast Hour,” Ensign, May 1971, 78–79

The Breakfast Hour

Is breakfast a hit-and-run, do-it-yourself project at your home? A questionnaire returned from one hundred Latter-day Saint homes indicates the answer is no. More than half of the families reported that they meet together at the same time for the morning meal and include family prayer in the breakfast hour. Some also enjoy playing sacred music or scriptural records. Few use the time for reading the scriptures together, but one family that does wrote, “Reading scripture for just a few minutes makes the day special.” Early morning seminary, school schedules, work hours, and baby-care needs cause the breakfast hours to be staggered for some families.

What makes a good breakfast? Something to rebuild and repair yesterday’s wear, something to provide fuel for today’s needed energy, something refreshing to taste, inviting in looks, nutritious in vitamins and minerals.

All of this and more were included in the breakfast menus sent in.

Fruit was included in almost every breakfast pattern, especially citrus fruit for vitamin C. Suggestions included broiled half grapefruit, sectioned and sprinkled with brown sugar and butter; hot spiced tomato juice or warm tomato soup (remember, tomato juice gives only about half the amount of vitamin C as does the same amount of orange juice); matched or mixed flavors and colors of fresh or canned fruits, such as strawberries, grapes, cantaloupe, watermelon, avocado, and pears. Raisins, dates, apples, and nuts were added to cooked whole wheat cereal. One family suggested apricot cobbler.

Cereals and breads are basic energy foods. Whole grain and enriched grains were suggested for their B vitamins and minerals. Among the cereals, steamed whole wheat or bulgur was suggested, and granola was a favorite. In one home the father makes a joyful ritual of preparing pancakes or French toast each morning. Enchiladas, whole wheat muffins, and warmed-over tortillas were listed on the questionnaire as occasional favorites; and scones, hot and buttered, with jam or jelly. Sourdough pancakes are considered special. French toast is prepared in one family by dipping the bread in tomato juice and browning it on both sides. Sweet rolls with ice cream is reportedly great as a holiday treat. One family thoughtfully included the recipe for preparing polenta, their breakfast favorite.

Milk is part of breakfast for most of the families reporting. It is used with cereal, in warm chocolate, in Postum, or in warm tomato soup. Cottage cheese also adds something different to a breakfast menu.

Protein, included in most breakfasts, provides body-building material for the day’s needed energy. Bacon, sausages, ham, and fish are all included in the menus among our families. Eggs are reportedly prepared in many ways, such as scrambled with chopped-up wieners, poached and riding high on whole wheat toast, scrambled with diced cooked potatoes, cooked in cheese omelette, and scrambled and simmered with tomatoes. One favorite is called “toad in the hole,” made by removing the center from a piece of bread, placing it in a buttered skillet, and breaking a fresh egg into the hole in the bread, then browning it lightly on both sides. One report suggests, “Simmer tomatoes and mushrooms with chopped-up bacon—yum, yum, yum.” Cheese also gives flavor to cereals and fruits.

In one home the questionnaire was filled out by a young daughter, who said, “Our mother never really cares for breakfast foods, so we are not surprised to have steak, pizza, tomato soup, or sandwiches served in the morning.” Whatever the menu, the breakfast should be inviting, nourishing, and sustaining.

Our question, Do you have any special ways of making this morning hour a time of physical and spiritual fortification for the day ahead?—gave interesting glimpses into our Latter-day Saint homes.

Because the morning hour is “just too rushed,” the dinner hour in most homes seems to be the togetherness time when families read the scriptures. The morning hour is the time for family prayer, for review of schedules for the day, and for discussion of plans to see what will be going on and who will be where the rest of the day. Members of one family, consisting of adults whose hours are staggered because of work and school, leave notes for each other. At the breakfast hour, members of another family set specific goals for each day, such as “Contact someone we care about.” Another family reports that they exercise together before breakfast each day.

One report, written in a feminine hand, indicated that before anyone left the house, the writer “just let them all know they are loved and will be thought about during the day.” The tone of many reports was: “maintain an atmosphere of love, admiration, and support for each other”; “try to be my most cheerful and happy self in the morning”; “never leave with misunderstandings unresolved”; “seldom if ever part without telling each other of our love”; “send everyone away with a cheerful ‘Have a good day. I love you.’”

We like the report that said the family did nothing special, but the father was always happy when he called the children to get up, and that started the day out right. And we could agree many mornings with the report that said, “We do well to get off—suggestions appreciated.” This most interesting observation was encountered on many reports: “I wish you could ask me these questions a month from today—the answers might be different.”

How blessed are those who go out into the world each day from our Latter-day Saint homes where the breakfast hour is one of love and unity and reassurance. Physically the members are strengthened with balanced breakfast foods, and spiritually they are fortified with prayer and love and concern.


3 cups boiling water

1 cup cornmeal

1 cup cold water

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 tablespoon butter


Bring the three cups of water to a rolling boil. Combine cornmeal with 1 cup cold water and salt. Stir into boiling water and cook about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Refrigerate in greased loaf pans till firm. Cut into slices 1/2-inch thick and place in shallow baking pan. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and dot with butter and a touch of paprika. Broil 4 inches from broiler till brown, about four or five minutes.

Dear Joan,

Tonight I have brought you a little teacup. I want it to stand as a symbol of strength to you. This cup was not always as beautiful and as translucent as it is now.

In the beginning it was fashioned of clay—carefully fashioned to be sure, for the potter took great pride in his work. To him the teacup had to be an expression of the beauty that he felt within himself. So he worked carefully, painstakingly; and when it was finished, he was proud of his work.

He knew, however, that no matter how carefully he worked, the teacup could not show its true beauty until the impurities in the clay from which it was fashioned had been burned out. Trembling, he put it in the kiln, for he knew full well that many other teacups had broken under such heat. He waited with great impatience. When the allotted time had passed, he looked in the kiln and to his joy found his teacup still whole. How beautiful it was!

Yet his practiced eye could still see flaws and he was not satisfied. He returned it to the kiln and subjected it to an even hotter fire. Again with trembling he waited, for he loved the teacup. How grateful he was when the second time he found it still in one piece, and how overjoyed he felt to see how the clay had been refined.

And yet he knew that there was still need for another firing. With some trepidation he subjected it to even greater heat. At last he held the teacup in his hand. He was satisfied. All the ugliness had been burned out of the clay, and the teacup showed the inner beauty that he had known was there all of the time.

Joan, dear, remember this little teacup when you are fired in the furnace of life. Remember that the “potter” is only trying to bring to light the true beauty that he can see in you.

Your loving Mother