This short essay and recipe were published in spring 2020 as part of the Boston University Gastronomy Student community's "Cooking During Covid" virtual cookbook. The book captured covid cuisine and cooking for the BU Gastronomy community. It includes contributions from students, alumni (like me!), instructors, and more. To get your own copy, email email@example.com with proof of a donation to an organization working on COVID relief in the food system. Essential workers can email to receive a free copy. And be sure to check out @bugastronomy on Instagram for delicious content.
In my family, over breakfast we discuss what’s for lunch, over lunch we discuss what’s for dinner, and over dinner we discuss what’s for breakfast. Every occasion is marked by an abundance of food, each family member has their signature dish (whether they cook it or they request it). This love and passion for food, tradition, and cooking is what put me on the path of food blogging and led to my pursuit of my gastronomy degree. It has been important to me to instill this same love in my children. In our “regular” lives, I tried to squeeze it in wherever possible. Our new “regular,” being home all day, everyday, presents an opportunity for more.
With this extra time, food has become one of our primary subjects of TV watching, topics of discussion, and sources of activity. Every weekday morning I wake up my six and eight year old with, “It’s time to get up, Lidia is about to be on!” They rub their eyes, trying to remember what day it is, and then scurry to the couch to see what Italian dishes are on the menu this morning. Then, I head to the kitchen to make my breakfast. I have exactly 24 minutes to get my breakfast on the plate and hot coffee in my mug before their favorite, A Chef ’s Life, with Vivian Howard begins.
We watch together, talking about what we’re seeing. The kids are curious about all the new foods they see - Southern cuisine is almost brand new to them. While they know something about where their food comes from, this takes it to the next level. While we watch we talk about farming, ingredients, culture, and whatever other questions they bring up (What do they mean, process a chicken? What is a rutabaga?). We make a list of cooking projects to try - hand pies, porridge, new vegetables, biscuits. One of the frequent topics on the show is respecting ingredients and where they come from. That means from the ground up - the people growing and harvesting, to the cooking method, to not wasting any part of the item. This leads us to talk about the uncertainty of the current situation, and what that means for food. We don’t know what groceries will be available to us, and when. It’s important to not waste anything on our plates. We talk about how there are people that are in different situations than us who have to make do with very little food and stretch what they have as far as possible. I hope, beyond just the excitement of starting each day with TV, these lessons will inform my children’s relationship with their food going forward. Once we go back to our “regular” school and work life I hope they continue to be curious, creative, thoughtful, and engaged.
And now, for my morning breakfast, cooked between 8:00 and 8:24 am each weekday. It is a way to be creative in the kitchen, to be thoughtful about the food we have, and to start the day with a hot breakfast made just the way that I like. The flavors change each day, but the breakfast provides well-needed consistency to the uncertainty in the world. I invite you to open your refrigerator, get creative, and watch some good food TV.
Serve with a side of your favorite toast and a steaming cup of coffee
Good Cook Doris’ Use Up Your Ingredients Breakfast Skillet
1-2 eggs (depending on your current egg inventory, use more vegetables with one egg)
Leftover vegetables and/or meat, cut into bite sized pieces (suggestions below)
Cheese (for topping)
1 tablespooon olive oil or butter
Salt and /pepper or your favorite spice or herb blend
In a small skillet, heat oil or butter over medium heat
Add in leftover vegetables, meat, and spices, cooking until heated through and just starting to brown
Push the vegetables and meat to the sides of the skillet, leaving a space in the center
Crack egg(s) into the center of the skillet, reduce heat to medium-low
Cover with a lid and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until egg whites are just set and yolks are still runny
Slide onto a plate, top with fresh herbs and/or cheese (optional)
Enjoy while watching your favorite cooking show
A few of my favorite combinations:
Brussels sprouts + shallots/leeks/caramelized onions + goat cheese
Kale + bell peppers + shallots or onions
Potatoes + scallions + brisket/pot roast
Stir fried vegetables (spicy is better!)
Broccoli + onions + cheddar + everything seasoning
Spicy black beans + scallions + bell peppers + cheese
Greens (kale, spinach) + sun dried tomatoes + garlic + red pepper flakes