By Lisa

If it didn’t make the kids happy, you’d call it a rut because they’ve been eating the same thing for breakfast nearly 5 days a week since August. It’s true, that on weekends we mix it up with pancakes, and there’s french toast, or oatmeal, or granola thrown in on occasion, but for the most part, they eat the same thing every single school morning.

This is familiar to me: as a child I ate pb & j on cocktail rye for at least a year straight, along with probably 5 other foods.  My kids aren’t picky, and there’s some variety in their lunches and lots in the dinners.   It seems they’re just hungry for the same thing at this particular meal. Also what changed is that I am now making breakfast. This used to be the husband’s domain, but I took over when we was on deadline illustrating this book, working around the clock.  I figured I could pitch in, and for now, its stuck.

For me, the advantages of consistency are just that: I have a routine. No decisions, no second-guessing, no options.  I know exactly what dishes to pull in what order and how to assemble and cook the parts so that there is food in front of them in less than five minutes, which is less than the time it takes to brew the pot of coffee. I pre-slice and freeze the bagels. I use the same dishes. I pour and slice in the same order every single. I am a breakfast machine.

The magic meal is a fried egg, over easy, a mini-bagel and cream cheese, fresh fruit. and juice. Some times they get toast instead of a bagel.  If we’re out of juice they have milk.  And  plums have replaced the berries of summer, but basically, this is the meal.  I get the eggs at the farmers market, so I feel okay about eating a lot of them.  As I’ve written before, we’ve discovered that small amounts of protein really make a difference in the energy and mood of our athlete daughter, which is how eggs on a weekday first came about.

And this morning, I discovered that unbeknownst to me, they have been competing over this meal. Not only do the eat the same thing every day, they eat the same thing in the same way every day. First they eat all the white away until only the round eye of the yolk is left, then they carefully scoop up the yolk and eat it in one bite. Whoever manages not to spill or break any of the yolk is the winner.  The score is now 27-22, in Ella’s favor. Which proves I’m not exaggerating about how many eggs they eat. Repetition. Routine. Consistency. We don’t think much about these things, and certainly, they’re not as easy to write about, but they’re as a much a part of how we eat as new food, traditional food, celebratory food.

It’s true, he’s not winning the breakfast series, but his picture came out better.