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May 19, 2008

Green breakfast

Filed under: American Food,Asian Food,Breakfast,Mrs. Henry,Sushi — Mr. Henry @ 6:11 pm

It is the year of change, indeed. Among Mr. Henry’s friends and relations long-established eating habits are giving way to new ones.

No meal is more culture-specific than breakfast. On your first trip to Japan, you won’t have trouble finding an acceptable lunch or dinner for anyone in the party. Breakfast is another story. Pickles, sashimi, raw quail egg on rice, tofu, miso soup, nori, daikon – none of these ever graced Mr. Henry’s grandmother’s table.japanesebreakfast.jpg

Mr. Henry’s German grandmother, who graduated from Iowa State University in 1912, rose early and started her day with a tablespoon of corn oil and a glass of hot water. She swore it prevented asthma, but Mr. Henry believes it contributed to regular evacuation, as well. She never missed her morning dose and she lived to be 97.


Mr. Henry’s Irish grandmother, the most beautiful girl in 1920’s New York, rose late and started with a strong cup of tea (and occasionally with a little hair of the dog, too). She departed this life at age 57.


Mother Henry is approaching her 77th birthday and charges around town like Hillary Clinton on energy drink. Recently she shared an unusual dietary secret. She starts her day with spinach. (Was that Popeye’s secret, too?)

While Father Henry squeezes the orange juice, Mother downs a few spoonfuls of cold spinach in between bites of hard-boiled egg. Later comes coffee and toast. She claims she needs to eat leafy greens every single day, and sometimes she gets so busy running around town that she doesn’t get an opportunity to sit down to a proper lunch. Dinner selections are variable and don’t always include leafy greens.

Over spring vacation Little Henry and posse shocked the grown-ups by starting their vacation morning with avocado on toast. (Mr. Henry blames the Food Network for these departures from normalcy.) Mr. Henry tried it too, but needed to add goat cheese and honey before it assumed the appearance of a morning repast.avocado.jpg

Mrs. Henry has been making fruit smoothies with seaweed powder – morning green goop. She claims it will change your life. Consider yourself warned.


  1. I perceive from the evidence that beauty and brains has run in Mr. Henry’s family for several generations. He is to be congratulated!

    I have found on many mornings that what I truly crave is a spinach croissant to start the day. Spinach croissant and an apple would be lovely; spinach croissant and hot apples would be perfect. (Actually, I find that hot apples are always perfect.)

    Comment by La BellaDonna — May 21, 2008 @ 4:39 pm

  2. Fresh spinach in an omelet – Yum!

    Comment by Phyllis — May 21, 2008 @ 4:56 pm

  3. I have recently discovered that although I hate breakfast, if it is Pane Frattau I love it. I know it is supposed to be a first course of a Sardinian meal, but I think it is the first and finest course of an expat day.

    I can’t tell you for sure, but from evidence presented at my mother’s table, my two grandmothers ate eggs, eggs, eggs, oatmeal, bacon and pancakes every morning. Bleaugh, bleaugh, bleaugh.

    Comment by Judith in Umbria — May 22, 2008 @ 4:20 am

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