Kick start your day with a good breakfast

What We Need Right Now–Grit(s)

Grit will get you through anything: keep your head, focus on your work, and “illegitimi non carborundum.”


Grits will get your through the day. At work, a colleague brought us a lovely basket of goodies from Charleston’s Own®, a specialty store in South Carolina. The Pecan Pralines went like the wind, the Cheese Zingers disappeared in a second, but the grits were left like an old stray hound at the shelter. Really?! I thought after a day or two and snagged them.

Does it get any better than a fresh bowl of hot stone-ground grits with cheese, ham, and spicy peppers? What’s the matter with people that they don’t have the time to stir a pot of this awesomeness for a half-hour or less (2 cups of water, a half-cup of grits, 1/4 tsp of salt and 1 TBSP of butter took 20 minutes).

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They were heavenly. I’m ready for whatever this day brings me!


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Betty & Nick’s, Seaside Park

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Betty & Nick’s Bait & Tackle, Seaside Park, New Jersey

Believe me, this classic diner was the bright spot in a week of gray skies and a fierce, gnarly ocean. As a kid, my husband, the Yankee fan, came regularly to this “family destination” (not to be confused with Seaside Heights, the location of the reality TV show “Jersey Shore” starring “Snooki” Polizzi about a mile down the boardwalk)  We started coming as a “family” (Mom, Dad, and corgi Grace) about 10 years ago.


Barnegat Bay

After Labor Day, it’s always been serene, clear, and sunny. This year? Not so much.

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Thank God for Beth, Tammy, and their servers at this beloved SSP institution on Central Avenue. Friendly and cheerful, they are terrific cooks, serving up innovative items with classic New Jersey roots, like this breakfast burger with pork roll (among other caloric delights). The side of scrapple is gilding the lily, but we can’t find this spicy pork loaf anywhere near where we live.

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If you’re “down the shore,” give Betty & Nick’s a try–they’re eager to meet you from 5 AM to 3PM year ’round.





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Surprise Inside!

When I’m admonished to eat breakfast because “it’s good for you!” I think of my wonderful mother who ate the skins of her baked potatoes with great gusto so that we might do the same. We balked, she wheedled, we nibbled, she conceded. It left a bad taste in my mouth.

And, in the odd way my minds works, that leads me to remember the cereals of my youth–with a prize inside!


So sugary, these cereals sent more dentists’ kids through college than Claiborne Pell. Why did we need the school bus? On those sugar highs, we could’ve run all the way there ourselves.

Now, as a reasonably responsible adult, I try to balance flavor with some modicum of nutrition and a little bit of fun.

That brings me to the breakfast taco.


I happened to have some ready-made taco shells on the shelf into which I spooned some drained, crumbled breakfast sausage. I added some green salsa and a couple of dollops of sour cream. Downed it with an icy glass of lime water.


Try it, you’ll like it!


As American as…

colonial era fireplace

Pearlash? According to Feeding America, “the Historic American Cookbook Project,” America’s second Declaration of Independence was Amelia Simmons’ American Cookery, originally published in 1796, the first cookbook by an American for us Americans. Simmons’s baking recipes used pearlash, a potassium carbonate obtained from wood ashes and a common household staple in America’s kitchens, as a chemical leavener. It’s the precursor to today’s baking powder.  Amelia, I raise my tricorner hat to you!

A tip of the coonskin cap goes to the pioneer women who settled the frontier. Their ingenuity was severely tested. We can thank them and their men for cornbread, mush (gee, swell!), and distilled whiskey. 

And that is my President’s Day post, composed over a plate of blueberry focaccia with vanilla yogurt and strawberries. 


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Breakfast on the Jersey Shore

I’m baaaaack…bronzed and relaxed and…full! Nick & Betty’s slings a real he-man breakfast pretty much every morning of the year, starting at 4:30am on the weekend for fishermen.

If you're in the area...807 SW Central Ave  Seaside Park, NJ

If you’re in the area…807 SW Central Ave Seaside Park, NJ

Here’s my he-man husband striding in for his first serving of scrapple of the week. Does anybody know where scrapple comes from? My Chuck is convinced it’s a close relative of Scotland’s famous haggis which leads to me to believe the Scots brought it with them when they immigrated to the ore-rich mountains of Pennsylvania.

For those of you who have never had the pleasure of downing a deep-fried slab of ground pork, grain, and spices, here’s a photo. Delicious, no?

Did I tell you they serve he-man portions?

Did I tell you they serve he-man portions?

That’s the scrapple on the left. May I say it again? It’s delicious.

Now some people in the Jersey Shore/Philly nexus swear by pork roll.

This is the more ladylike order: fried egg, cheese, and pork roll on a Kaiser roll.

This is the more ladylike order: fried egg, cheese, and pork roll on a Kaiser roll.

Me? My mother’s mother’s family was Scottish, so I’m going with the scrapple. But either is hearty enough to send anyone out on a boat before dawn to battle the forces of nature and bring home the riches of the sea.






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Breakfast RX: Waldorf Salad

Back to the apple-a-day theme: here’s a Big Apple classic: Waldorf Salad.

Before the Empire State Building scraped the sky

Before the Empire State Building scraped the sky

Created early in the twentieth century by “Oscar of the Waldorf” when the hotel graced Fifth Avenue and 34th Street, this salad is a combination of apples, walnuts, and celery in mayonnaise. I once had a version with grapes and marshmallows, and I’ve had an aversion to it ever since. Keep it to the original three ingredients and the mayonnaise thin and light, and it’s very refreshing.

One of the Waldorf Towers' chicest residents

One of the Waldorf Towers’ chicest residents

Since I share a birthday with Cole Porter, the most glamorous thing ever to come out of Peru, Indiana, whose talent for smart lyrics and jaunty melodies made the gaudy Great White Way glow with class, I have to reprint his tribute to the dish in “You’re the Top.”

You’re the top!
You’re a Waldorf salad.
You’re the top!
You’re a Berlin ballad.
You’re the boats that glide
On the sleepy Zuider Zee,
You’re an old Dutch master,
You’re Lady Astor,
You’re broccoli!

When it comes to broccoli or Lady Astor, I’ll take the title, thank you!

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Labor Day Morning Toast

A souvenir of Miss Bellows Falls in Bellows Falls, VT

A souvenir of Miss Bellows Falls in Bellows Falls, VT

Here’s to the cooks who sling hash and the waitresses who pour coffee,

the men who fry eggs and the women who man the till.

Here’s to the friendly “What’ll you have?” and the “Adam and Eve on a raft!”

Here’s to the bakers who fill the pie case and the grillmen who flap the jacks.

Happy Labor Day and thank you for the best start to a day anyone on the move could ever have.

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Rise & Shine, New Mexico! Huevos Rancheros

I’m kicking off a regular feature on the breakfast specialties of our United States with a state with the dreamy nickname, “Land of Enchantment.”

October 5-13, 2013 Albuquerque, NM

October 5-13, 2013 Albuquerque, NM

You’ve got to love a place with an annual internationally renowned hot-air balloon festival, whose state bird is the roadrunner, and who can claim as a native my second-favorite TV character, Ethel Mertz. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I’m talking about New Mexico. Colonized by Spain, its breakfast specialty is huevos rancheros.

The basic recipe is warmed corn or wheat tortillas topped with fried eggs, salsa, refried beans, sometimes queso fresco and avocado. I adapted the basic recipe to make a breakfast pizza this morning: whole wheat crust, hot salsa, fried eggs, and feta cheese.

Muy delicioso!

Muy delicioso!

I know, I know…I just didn’t have any baker’s parchment this morning. Didn’t look this good when I finally got it off the foil, but it sure tasted yummy.

Good enough for my little roadrunner.

Grace demands a little nibble from my breakfast and who am I to refuse?

Grace demands a little nibble from my breakfast and who am I to refuse?


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