Chocolate for Family Breakfast

Weekend breakfast blog post

Written originally: August 15, 2019

Finished and edited: August 4, 2020.


Aug. 15, 2019 entry: One thing I’ve been trying to do is make a big breakfast in the morning. The cool thing about the sabbatical is I’ve been able to dive into reading and watching films on a true passion - international studies and cultures. And the one reoccurring thing is the importance of eating breakfast with others.


On the weekends, we make a considerable effort to eat breakfast together as a family. It’s like our thing. One that comforts my soul and reminds me of childhood. I often reflect on our post-church potluck in the middle of over-the-rhine in Cincinnati (pre-gentrification). It was this powerful moment of community, eating, and genuine fellowship. We met in a cemented abandoned building with a wire fence that separated us from a halfway house. Our pastor was a black Harvard graduate that left Merrill Lynch to do God's work smack dab in the center of a beautifully intricate neighborhood. On the ride to Church's fried chicken (or Richie's), you could witness love, struggle, homelessness, and exquisite home gardens. Those moments with our kinfolk (not biologically) was everything.


So, when I was reminded of the importance of family communing together as we broke the evening's fast, it made sense to be faithful in incorporating that into our flow. Now, to be honest, the big weekday breakfast has faded, but both boys eat breakfast together, each morning, at the table. In the evenings, we sit around our big wooden table to enjoy dinner as a family (and guests). But on the weekends, we allow for breakfast to be hours and indulge in whatever our hearts desire. Sometimes that even means donuts. Yes, donuts.


NOTE: When I was a child, I was not fond of donuts at all. But once, I started working in Chinatown on the lower east side of Manhattan, right by the Donut Plant, my love for donuts grew.


That said, there is nothing that I love more at breakfast than chocolate and coffee. A monumental moment in my life is when I was introduced to pain au chocolat in pastry school. But the truth is that chocolate for breakfast isn't a Steel thing. Children in Denmark are consistently voted the happiest children in the world and guess what they eat in the mornings - hagelslag. Hagelslag is literally white bread with chocolate sprinkles on it. Mind you, that Danish children "have the lowest obesity rates (8.36 percent of children aged 11, 13, and 15) of all 29 industrialized countries—despite the fact that they’re enjoying a sugary, fatty treat served atop white bread first thing in the morning." And, "a 2014 study by Oxfam put the Netherlands at the top of the list for having the most plentiful, nutritious, healthy and affordable diet, out of 125 countries."

Of course, I must point out that Danish children also eat breakfast "whole family" style daily (even before school). They are also encouraged to bike, share their opinions, spend tons of time with both parents (compared to other westernized countries), and have little pressure to perform at school. AND on top of that Danish parents are happy and so it's a family affair. You can read our article, Hygge, for more context on happiness measures.


Anyways, the point here is that sitting down and eating with your village (your family, your community, your friends, your "framily") makes everyone healthier (mentally and emotionally). Adding (fair trade, sustainable) chocolate to the mix makes us happier. And what's more nourishing than being healthy and happy?

Polepole, friends.

Shelby