Food & Drink Magazine

the Cinderella Meal

By Ally @allykitchen

Most everyone remembers the tale, 'Cinderella'. Neglected, ignored and abused, she was taken for granted and got no love and attention. This heart-warming folk tale is the effervescent story of abject oppression turning into victorious reward! Mythical and magical, this story has the triumphant ending that brings happiness and love.

I call this post 'the cinderella meal' because I'm talking about breakfast. The first meal of the day. The meal that gets neglected because we're too busy to eat. The meal that is ignored because we're in a hurry to get where we need to be, start our work, run the carpool, get the kids to school, catch a flight. Whatever it might be. It is the meal that's probably more abused than other meal of the day. We grab whatever we can, if we eat at all. We might think that a sticky bun, cookie, donut or fast food breakfast will be the ticket.

In actuality, we've all heard repeatedly that breakfast is, indeed, the most important meal of the day. It's the meal that sets the stage for the rest of our day. It's the meal that can shape our mood as we walk out the door to wherever it is we have to go. Then why in Sam hill do we treat this meal like Cinderella was treated!

I'm on a quest to help you look at breakfast differently. Now, really, I know you can't create a breakfast nirvana every single day of the week. All I'm saying is why not try to do it at least one day of the week. For a lot of us, that day is on the weekend. Now, don't confuse this breakfast with brunch. Oh, yes, the glorious step-sister of breakfast and lunch. She's, for sure, in the 'it' meal group, the meal that's glorified, trendy and sexxy. No, make this a true breakfast!

So here are six easy ideas to get your started. Ideas that will shift breakfast from the 'cinderella' meal to the after-the-glass-slipper meal. Yes, a celebration. A gathering. An event. Just like brunch. Just like dinner. Just like lunch (sometimes)! Pick your day then create a meal that brings friends and family together, maybe house guests and even neighbors, to share laughter, friendship, stories and happiness.

Life is about making your own dreams come true. You don't have to wait for your prince or princess charming! Write your own script. Make it happen. Even if it's just you or you and one other person, you can create the fantasy!

Create an inviting table. Set the table as you would the dinner meal. Ambiance. Candles. Votives with tea candle lights. Placemats. Cloth napkins. Make it festive. Make it happy. Make it sparkle!
the cinderella meal
Think outside the box with what you're serving. Go beyond the typical eggs and bacon. Pancakes. Waffles. Grits, gravy, biscuits. Not that these aren't great, just don't limit the 'cinderella' breakfast meal to the expected.
the cinderella meal
With a little planning and preparation, the 'princess' or 'prince' meal can be pulled off with relative ease. Do some night before preparation. Maybe fix a casserole that you bake right before serving. Precut potatoes for home fries. If you aren't a biscuit making machine, then buy frozen biscuits and bake. Just pull together some of your meal elements the day before, even down to setting your table.
the cinderella meal
Lay out a buffet on your kitchen counter. Let everyone pick and choose and fill their plates. Lay beautiful tea towels. Overlap them. Create depth and interest in the breakfast extravaganza. Have the plates, napkins, silverware all available, then everyone gathers round the table be it inside or outside!
the cinderella meal
Get creative with food styling. For instance, if you're serving soft and/or hard boiled eggs, put them in an egg tray. In this case, it's a wooden one. Make 'mini' elements of foods. Rather than large muffins, make mini muffins. That way everyone can have a taste of everything and not feel like they're being pigzilla!
the cinderella meal
Finally, step out of your comfort zone with what you serve. Make it easy. Make it gorgeous. Make it simple. These are English muffins with melted cheese, chopped deli ham, heirloom tomatoes, some sea salt, pepper, olive oil and lemon juice, then a sprinkle of fresh Italian parsley. Yes, you can have two!
the cinderella meal

Tags:breakfast, brunch, cinderella meal, eating healthy, entertaining, first meal of the day, meal planning, starting the day right with breakfast, table setting, tablescapes

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