BreakfastA History

How did the ‘most important meal of the day’ become what it is? With it’s own unique foods and customs. And what do people around the world do for this same meal?

From corn flakes to pancakes, Breakfast: A History explores this “most important meal of the day” as a social and gastronomic phenomenon. It explains how and why the meal emerged, what is eaten commonly in this meal across the globe, why certain foods are considered indispensable, and how it has been depicted in art and media. Heather Arndt Anderson’s detail-rich, culturally revealing, and entertaining narrative thoroughly satisfies.
Heather Arndt Anderson is a Portland, Oregon–based food writer. Her recipes have been published in the cookbook One Big Table: 600 Recipes from the Nation’s Best Home Cooks, Farmers, Fishermen, Pit-Masters, and Chefs, and she is a contributing writer to the magazines The Farmer General and Remedy Quarterly. In her food blog, Voodoo & Sauce, the most popular posts are about breakfast. 



“Heather Arndt Anderson gives us an entertaining and lucid account of the world’s most important meal! We’ve been waiting for an expert like her to shed light on the ways that people around the world break their fast.”
— Andrea Broomfield


“I started reading Heather Arndt Anderson’s Breakfast: A History while sipping my morning coffee and chewing on a bagel schmeared with cream cheese. I couldn’t put the book down. It is well researched and brims with surprising facts placed into a broader historical and global context. It’s a must-read for culinary historians as well as for breakfast lovers.”

— Andrew F. Smith, editor-in-chief, Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America


Breakfast: A History is at once sweet and savory as well as witty and well informed. It’s enough to make this confirmed night-owl think about rising earlier each morning.”
— Gary Allen


Modern nutritionists proclaim breakfast the day’s most important meal, yet many Americans eat it on the run, if at all, and they exhibit little consistency in the foods they consume. In that, they’re much like people the world over. Arndt-Anderson surveys the history of breakfast, finding that over the centuries ideas about breakfast foods have run the gamut from simple cereals to elaborate repasts of meat, eggs, cheese, fruits, and vegetables. She recounts the story of the Kelloggs, whose unintended invention of cornflakes made dry cereal a staple in Western culture. The Chinese have always exhibited a fondness for rice gruel as their source of morning energy. Where people consume breakfast has evolved over the years, yielding a twentieth-century architectural innovation: the breakfast nook. Today people often dine out for breakfast, so the author catalogs various breakfast settings from fast-food restaurants to elegant venues for power breakfasts. She even details breakfasts in space and on death row.

— Booklist


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