For breakfast, Europeans created a new world

Ipsos has conducted a survey on the eating habits of French people, and the results show that the traditional continental breakfast is still very popular in France. More than 80% of French people drink coffee, tea and cocoa every morning, three exciting drinks that have sprouted and rooted here since the 18th century. Half of them drink coffee (this figure adds people who drink chicory coffee, this type of coffee originated from Napoleon’s continental blockade policy. This policy caused a shortage of coffee in France, so the common French chicory tastes similar to coffee. , It is used as a substitute, or mixed with a small amount of coffee to drink); 22% of people drink tea; 9% of people drink hot cocoa (mostly children). Among the 80% of the people, 25% only drink beverages and do not eat any solid food; 44% eat spread bread, some bread must be baked, some are not baked, and some people choose dry bread slices with butter Or jam; 10% of people are accustomed to eating sweet bread, mostly industrial mass-produced products, especially Brio butter bread; 8% of people will also eat a bowl of cereals. Twenty percent of French people don’t care about tea, coffee, cocoa, these hot drinks, and choose to drink milk or juice. According to the statistics, there is almost no salty food on the breakfast table, which makes people sigh that now French citizens have forgotten the morning eating habits of their ancestors.

In fact, the first surprising thing about the continental breakfast is that it is so young, no more than 300 years old. It uses hot drinks-tea, coffee and hot cocoa as the main axis, and the raw materials of these drinks are not local European products, sugar It plays an important role in breakfast. Not only hot drinks are added with sugar, jams, sweet breads and cereals also contain sugar. Sugarcane is the most important raw material for sugar production, but the sweetness enjoyed by Europeans before the great geographical discovery came mainly from beets and honey.

Coffee, cocoa and tea are mostly in tropical and subtropical regions regardless of their origin or artificially grown production areas. The main production area of ​​cocoa is in West Africa. Côte d’Ivoire alone accounts for one-third of the world’s production. Coffee was first grown in Africa. Today, most of the production areas are located in the Americas, and Brazil has the largest output in the world. Only the cultivation of tea trees is largely retained in the original area. China and India produce about half of the world’s output, followed by Kenya’s output.

A Dutch girl in the 18th century was having breakfast. The copper pot on the table was filled with coffee.

Although the continental breakfast cannot summarize the history of world evolution, it does reflect the geography of the world. How did the three beverages far from Europe come to the breakfast table in Europe and even the world? For coffee, sugar, tea and cocoa to enter Europeans’ cups, European countries must open up new routes, build powerful navies and shipping, crush competitors, open plantations, forcibly take some people away and squeeze them. Become a slave. In order to enhance the taste of drinks, it is necessary to improve planting techniques, to design utensils for drinking them, and even to steal porcelain secrets and tea tree seedlings from China. It can be said that Europeans have created a new world for the three drinks on the breakfast table.

The world gets smaller, breakfast gets bigger
In fact, as early as the 14th century, explorers and botanists from Europe already knew about coffee, cocoa, and tea. It was only until the end of the 17th century that the consumption of these three beverages became a commercial practice. These morning drinks not only replace other liquid foods traditionally eaten by Europeans, especially Western Europeans-such as soup, to meet the need to replenish moisture in the morning. More importantly, coffee, cocoa and tea have refreshing effects. , Can make people clear the mind, these drinks contain alkaloids, have the effect of stimulating nerves.

At the beginning of the 18th century, the first meal that Western Europeans ate during the day was no different from the diet at other times, and the same food was mainly salty. Whether in the city or the country, rice porridge, wheat paste and thick soup with bread have always been foods to fill an empty stomach. Later, with the expansion of European colonists, tea and coffee slowly invaded the hazy moments after Europeans got up.

At the beginning of the 18th century, Western European upper-class society had already popularized a refreshing drink before bed. Some famous aristocrats and urban bourgeoisie in London, Amsterdam, Paris and other places are used to drinking a cup of hot drink every morning. The tea, coffee and cocoa they are obsessed with come from far away countries. The transportation process is very risky, so the raw material prices of these drinks amazing. Drinking refreshing drinks may have been a temporary trend, but it has gradually become popular and spread.

Driven by commercial interests, these drinks have gradually become popular, their prices have dropped rapidly, and ordinary urban residents have begun to afford them. By the middle of the 18th century, people who drink these drinks have slowly expanded from London, Amsterdam, and Paris to Western Europe. other places. Ordinary people, especially ordinary urban residents, quickly accepted them. Throughout the 19th century, tea, coffee and hot cocoa swept Western society and began to spread.

From the very beginning, Europeans’ cups were not just the juices of the basic ingredients that were simply brewed with hot water, because there are two important additives added to them, that is, milk and sugar. After adding milk and sugar, the brewed beverage is completely European style. The tea drunk by the British are seldom similar to the tea drunk by the Chinese, the hot cocoa drunk by the French and the cocoa drunk by the Mexican Indians. The coffee that Europeans drink may be closer to the coffee that Turks drink, but there are still significant differences.

Three tropical trees or shrubs, together with sugar cane, constitute the basic material for the new morning diet in Western Europe. It is undeniable that the rise of the new Western European breakfast is indeed the result of Europe’s control of the tropics. Therefore, it can also be called a combination meal of tropical ingredients. These drinks are indeed the result of blood and tears. The tea, coffee, hot cocoa and sugar enjoyed by Europeans are often exchanged for the blood and sweat of slaves.

Voltaire has such a description in the novel “The Honest Man”: Honest man saw a black man lying on the road in the Dutch colony of Suriname, wearing only a pair of blue cloth shorts. He lost a left leg and a right hand. The honest man asked him in Dutch if the owner had punished him. The black man replied: “Yes, sir, this is the old rule. They give us two blue cloth shorts every year, which is all clothes. If we are ground in a sugar factory When the child ran a finger off, they cut off our hand; if they wanted to escape, they cut off a leg. I met both of them. We paid the price, and you Europeans have sugar to eat.”

It is undeniable that the birth of the new breakfast drink does bear the shadow of the slave trade on the Atlantic coast and other regions. It is not only the cruel squeezing in sugarcane plantations, but also the brutality of slavery in the tea-producing areas of the Asian colonies.

Therefore, it can be said that in these tropical drinks that Europeans drink, we can see crowd communication, economic exploitation and cultural interaction, as well as the formation of modern society. The moment you pick up a similar breakfast drink and start drinking, you are also participating in the process of globalization.

A personal meal under group work and rest
Since the 18th century, in the traditional English gentleman’s family, those servants or maids who were responsible for opening the curtains for the jazz or the lady and declaring “it’s fine this morning” would never forget that they were in the noble family. There is a cup of tea next to the host’s bedside table. Today, the habit of morning tea or bed tea can still be seen in the British colonies in the past, especially in India. Morning tea allows tourists who have suffered from jet lag but are awakened by the sun’s heat to enjoy a cup of hot tea with milk and spices. .

Like a British gentleman, a rich man in continental Europe wakes up to drink a cup of exotic hot drink, which is also a thing to show off. The most basic requirement for this cup of hot drink is to be able to serve it immediately. As long as the host speaks, the hot drink must be delivered within a few minutes. In addition to drinks, many foods for breakfast must also have the characteristics of being able to be cooked quickly, so eggs, toast and other foods that can be served quickly are added to the breakfast mix.

In other words, while the cooking preparation process for lunch and dinner is becoming cumbersome, breakfast has taken a different approach and has become more convenient. The necessary cooking utensils and culinary knowledge derived from the gradual refinement of lunch and dinner also allows breakfast to be quickly prepared.

1. Chicory is a medicinal and edible plant. In the 17th century, Europeans became fascinated by coffee. Due to the limited number of incoming goods and the Holy See’s ban, some people tended to choose coffee alternatives, and chicory was one of the alternatives. 2. Turkish coffee is a kind of coffee using the original brewing method. The taste is mainly divided into bitter, slightly sweet and sweet. 3. Cinnamon, star anise, and anise are added to the raw Mexican hot cocoa, which has a spicy flavor of spices. 4. French hot cocoa has a rich chocolate flavor and is loved by children. 5. Breakfast tea, popular in early Europe, was only enjoyed in the upper-class aristocratic society.

The pursuit of breakfast preparation speed has gradually become a basic principle among ordinary urban residents. With the development of urbanization and industrialization in Europe, the time for each member of the family to wake up may not be synchronized. Time is tight and the distance to work is long. The family under the same roof alternately washes, dresses, and eats breakfast while working on the farm and handicrafts. The market era was different, when the rhythm of work followed the rise and fall of the sun. Therefore, after entering the industrial age, in this morning meal, everyone follows their own schedule, drinking their own coffee and tea, and eating their own jam and bread.

In the industrial age, the dishes in the morning meal should be as simple as possible, with hot drinks. There are different choices in different parts of Western Europe, but they are basically bread-based. It is usually eaten with coffee so that overnight bread can be easily eaten. However, buying bread from the bakery in the city has gradually become a daily routine. The bread is dipped in a hot drink to eat, this way of eating is conducive to the growth of demand for long bread. So in France, there is almost one baguette in hand.

Public spaces for group living, such as nursing homes, hospitals, and military camps, gradually adopted a new type of breakfast with milk, coffee and bread in the 19th century. At the end of the 19th century, with the improvement of living standards, jam appeared in breakfast. Schools and military camps not only contribute to the unification of the national language, but also contribute to the unification of eating habits. Because of the influence of these public spaces, what makes Europe most similar is the morning meal.

Of course, after entering the age of industrialization, the concept of a family gathering for breakfast has not been completely eliminated. But relatively, under the pressure of increasingly irregular work and rest schedules, it is really difficult for the whole family to eat for the first meal of the day. However, everyone can go home and have dinner together, so dinner becomes very special and table manners become very important. People began to associate specific foods with specific meals. To some extent, breakfast is regarded as the other side of high-end dining, abandoning its diversity and exquisiteness. It is a light but energetic diet that can relieve the burden of the other two meals. The role of lunch became a bridge between breakfast and dinner, and the rule of three meals a day took shape.

It can be said that the main reason for the change in eating habits in the early morning is the stressful life brought about by modernization. What happened in Europe in the 19th century can now be seen in every city in the world. Today, if an Ivorian leaves his hometown and heads to Abidjan, the largest city, his breakfast will probably change from plantain mantou (a dough based on plantain and yam) and cassava rice (fermented from grated cassava). Baguettes and coffee.

Today, in some developing countries, rural exodus has accelerated changes in eating habits, coupled with the growth of international trade, making food easier to circulate. All this seems to be the situation faced by Britain and some Western European countries since the end of the 18th century: farmers have become workers, and hot soup has become hot drinks.

Alternative schedule?
The fast cooking speed, the continuous shortening of meal time, and the rapid development of the industrialization of agricultural products all seem to promote the conversion of breakfast into a meal that is standardized and globalized and deviates from the food culture as much as possible. However, there are signs that the standardized “breakfast” created by Europeans seems to be in danger of extinction. The first sign is that brunch is popular.

Young people in modern cities are becoming more and more enthusiastic about going out for breakfast. This is a major change in breakfast in recent years. In addition, breakfast has gradually become a form of business meetings or social gatherings, and is often combined with lunch to form brunch.

The word brunch has firmly taken a place in the French vocabulary, just like many other languages. The word “brunch” was first included in the Oxford English Dictionary in 1896. At the end of the 19th century, brunch first occupied the more advanced areas of London, and then expanded to all of Europe, and finally became a major feature of major cities around the world, but at that time brunch was still mainly seen on weekends. It was not until the 1980s that France was influenced by brunch, but the term quickly penetrated into the folk.

However, the birthplace of brunch is the United States, to be precise, New York. Originally it refers to the meal that was eaten late on Sunday morning after the Saturday night party. “Sex and the City” said, “One of the favorites of Shangdong people is weekend brunch.”

While eating out brings social pressure, it also brings opportunities to try unfamiliar foods. The word brunch clearly points out that this is a combination of two meals. Indeed, the meal includes all the elements of a continental breakfast, plus the classic dishes for lunch (or dinner): salad, savoury pie, steak, chicken or cold fish. Melbourne real estate tycoon Tim Gunner said in an interview with Australia’s “Sixty Minutes” program that if young people curb their free spending, such as not eating avocado toast for brunch, they may be more likely to buy a house. His words offended young people all over the world, because the sumptuous brunch has long been deeply rooted in this group of people.

The world wakes up: a storm in the teacup
In addition, what affects the status of continental breakfast are new dietary concepts and diet trends, such as the “living diet”. Living diet refers to eating vegan or vegetarian food with more meat and less, not eating or eating less animal food, strictly avoiding contaminated food (such as not eating food containing fertilizers, pesticides, chemical additives), and less Eat refined and processed foods, try to eat fresh and clean vegetables, organic fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, seaweeds, and cooked whole grains. Adhere to the principle of less oil, less salt, and less sugar, and strive for a diversified diet.

The vitality diet usually penetrates the breakfast table through cereals. The so-called cereals include barley, spelt, quinoa, chia seeds, flax seeds, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds. Some major food companies quickly sensed business opportunities and invested heavily. In 2006, Kellogg launched a brand-new vitality diet series, which is a cooked solid grain product: cereals (with oatmeal, nuts and honey as the main raw materials). Baked food).

1. In the globalized breakfast in the 19th century, bread, jam, coffee, milk, and juice are indispensable. 2. The word brunch, clearly point out that this is a combination of two meals. Indeed, the meal includes all the elements of a continental breakfast, plus the classic dishes for lunch (or dinner): salad, savoury pie, steak, chicken or cold fish.

Continental breakfast has another rival, and that is the concept of “localization” that has gradually become popular in European and American countries. Localization is another trend and trend that comes from globalization. It advocates eating more locally produced food. In recent years, the concept of environmental protection and sustainable consumption has gradually attracted attention. Many people have begun to care about the carbon emissions and carbon mileage caused by the manufacturing and delivery of goods. Consumers are also willing to pay a little more for “locally produced” goods.

As a pioneer of food globalization, breakfast is of course the number one target for the promotion of “local ingredients”, not to mention that it has also strengthened the power of the food industry. So far, there are no plans to genetically modify tea, coffee and cocoa trees so that they can survive the harsh winters in Europe. “Localization” is the most controversial core issue of the new breakfast.

Nevertheless, the good days of drinking tea, coffee or cocoa in the morning seem to be quite long. However, it is like everything in history. It has a beginning and an end. Perhaps, in this era of all-round promotion of postmodernism, we are also moving towards the post-breakfast era.