Friday, October 09, 2009

Rice for Breakfast.

A final word, for the time being, on the vexed question of what shall we have for breakfast. Over the last two days we considered the breakfast problems posed by the shortage of wheat during WW I (which recurred in WW II). In the East of course, this would never be an issue as the breakfast of choice is rice, especially as rice ‘soup’. This has an almost an infinite number of manifestations, and is generally referred to in the West as congee, but is known by specific names in each country where it is enjoyed, such as jook (China), khao tom (Thailand), and lúgao (Phillipines).

Strangely, rice has never featured at breakfast in the West in spite of its easy availability  - with the exception of the Anglo-Indian dish beloved of the Victorians, called kedgeree, and perhaps the odd bowl of leftover rice pudding. At least one Western cookbook writer of the early twentieth century felt that rice should have more of a place on the table – the author of Rice for breakfast, dinner, supper (Chicago, c1919)

I give you a couple of suggestions from the book that would make fine breakfast dishes – and would be very useful ways of using up leftover rice.

Rice Spoon Bread.
1 cup cooked rice
1 pint sweet milk
2 eggs
½ cup corn meal
½ tablespoon butter
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons salt.
To the well-beaten eggs, add the rice, milk, and butter. Sift the dry ingredients together and add them to the first mixture. Pour the batter into a hot, well-greased pan and bake for 45 mintues in a moderate oven. Serve hot.

Soft Rice Bread.
1 cup cooked rice
1 cup milk
¾ teaspoon salt
½ cup corn meal
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 egg
1 tablespoon fat.
Mix the rice, fat, salt, and well-beaten yolk of egg. Add flour and milk. Mix thoroughly and fold well-beaten white of egg into mixture. Pour batter into greased baking dish and bake ½ hour in moderate oven. Serve hot or cold.

P.S if you have not had enough of the breakfast topic, perhaps you would like to re-visit the idea of Second Breakfast?

Quotation for the Day.
A bachelor's life is a fine breakfast, a flat lunch, and a miserable dinner.
Francis Bacon.


Anonymous said...

Your rice bread recipe specifies corn meal in the ingredients and flour in the directions.

The Old Foodie said...

Hello anonymous - recipe-writing was a much less exact science in those days, and innacuracies were common. I think "flour" just means the corn meal.

Judith said...

Rice porridge was a popular old-fashioned breakfast, or even 2nd breakfast, in Norway....regarded as a treat, really. It is white rice cooked with milk and a knob of butter until a fairly thick, creamy consistency is reached, then sweetened with a little vanilla sugar, and served hot with cinnamon and sugar to sprinkle on top. The leftovers are chilled and later, when stodgy, turned into a favourite dessert, 'riskrem', by folding in whipped cream sweetened with vanilla sugar, and slivered almonds (opt.). It is served with a sweet-tart strained raspberry sauce ('saft'). Delish!...used to be reserved for special occasions only, like Xmas.

The Old Foodie said...

Wow! Judith - that sounds fabulous! Not sure which I'd prefer - the first or the second incarnation!

mae said...

A number of prepared breakfast cereals have rice as the basis. Rice Chex, Quaker Puffed Rice, Rice Krispies, and others. My father liked leftover steamed white rice for breakfast: he put milk and salt on it the same as he did with oatmeal.

The Old Foodie said...

Hello Mae - you are right of course, packaged cereals (a late 19th C phenomenon) are often made from rice. I think I did not extend my historic perspective far enough!

Tri2Cook said...

Growing up, we were a large family with not a lot of money. Hot cereals were the standard breakfast fare (occasionally supplemented with one of those giant pillow-case size bags of puffed wheat). Breakfast was a shared morning before-school chore. One day, the boys cooked breakfast and the girls cleaned up. The next day it was switched. Those breakfasts were almost always oatmeal, grits, cream of wheat or the topic-at-hand... rice (usually eaten with a little butter, sugar and milk mixed in). At the time, we were always longing for Fruit Loops or Captain Crunch (or even the generic Fruity O's or Kaptain Krunchies) but, looking back, they really were enjoyable breakfasts.

The Old Foodie said...

Hello Tri2Cook: thanks for sharing those lovely family memories. This post seems to have inspired quite a bit of that process (there was similar feedback on my Facebook page) It seems that perhaps rice is the unsung hero of family breakfasts in many more places than I thought!

Julia @ Mélanger said...

I would be more than happy to have rice for breakfast. I was only thinking the other day how restricted the selection of food is that I typically have for breakfast. It is different all over the world!

Anonymous said...

I found my way to this post & the comments because I was looking for evidence of the story I was told growing as to why my family eats rice (in place of hash browns or grits) for breakfast. My mom grew up in the Smokey Mountains of NC. My dad grew up in the foothills. A big weekend breakfast included rice - plain white steamed rice. I was told there was some kind of advertising done to promote this because of shortages. I assumed it was because of the Depression but it could well have been either of the World Wars.

A co-worker who grew up in the same area said she also grew up eating rice for breakfast only her family ate it with milk and sugar.

The Old Foodie said...

Hello Anonymous - what an interesting personal story. Do you still regularly have rice for breakfast?

Anonymous said...

As we were eating rice for breakfast this morning with milk, sugar, butter, and crumbled breakfast sausage my partner and I were wondering why restaurants don't offer rice for breakfast. She grew up in the north east and had never heard if it before moving to Texas. I googled it and found this blog. Growing up in Texas in the '60s my family regularly had rice for breakfast with either bacon or sausage mixed in. My great grand parents and grandparents were East Texas share croppers with very large families (10+ kids). It was an economical way to feed them all. I never knew rice as anything but a breakfast food until I was in my late teens.