Friday, January 13, 2012

Breakfast Potatoes

The history of the American breakfast is a reflection of the history of our country. What people ate for breakfast, how much, and when evolved as our country progressed from native culture to agrarian society, through the industrial revolution and onto modern days. Most traditional American breakfast items were brought here by the people who settled our country. Historians confirm eggs (esp. omeletes), sausage, and pancake-type foods have been enjoyed since Ancient Rome and Greece. 

Breakfast also tells the story of social interaction and scientific advancement:

colonists learned to incorporate "new world" foods into their diets (corn muffins, grits)

  • immigrants brought traditional foods (kuchen, potato pancakes, doughnuts)
  • pioneers learned to adapt their foods for wagon cooking (cowboy coffee, biscuits)
  • 19th century food reformers advocated a healthy diet (corn flakes, granola)
  • modern convenience (pop tarts, Egg McMuffins, frozen bagels)
  • nutrition legislation (school breakfast programs)
  • scientific advancement (instant oatmeal, cholesterol-free egg beaters, low-fat bacon)
  • restaurant business (doughnut shops, 24 hour diners, elaborate Sunday brunches)

What time was breakfast? What was typically consumed at this meal throughout American history? This is a fascinating study. The answers depend upon who you were, where you lived, how much money you had, and what you did for a living. As a rule, the more money you had, the more you ate, the later you ate it, and the more time you spent around the table. Throughout our country's history, it is not unusual for many hard workers to put in a couple of hours of work before breakfast.

"Even more elusive is the evidence for breakfast. Judging from cookbooks and dietary literature there was no such meal, or at least it was only recommended for children, invalids and the elderly who have weak digestive systems and must eat smaller meals more frequently. Nevertheless, there was such a meal, and some people took it regularly. The word itself comes from the late Latin disjejunare, meaning "to un-fast' or break the fast of the evening. Remarkably, the word was contracted in the Romance languages to disnare or disner in Olde French, or dinner in English. Thus the word dinner actually means breakfast. But the word is not recorded in English until 1463 in a royal account book that records expenses for breakfast, but it is not entirely clear whether this was an early dinner or another meal, the one we know know as breakfast, eaten first thing in the morning."
Food in Early Modern Europe, Ken Albala [Greenwood Press:Westport CT] 2003 (p. 232)

"Breakfast...Native American breakfast consisted of cornmeal mush and perhaps cornbread, both items the first European settlers adapted for their own breakfasts. The settlers also breakfasted on a quickly prepared porridge called "hasty pudding," made with cornmeal and molasses. Later bread or toast and coffee or tea were the usual breakfast, while in the nineteenth century affluence brought more variety to the diet and larger portions of meats, fish, cheese, bread, jams, and often a tot of rum or cider. Also popular were pancakes, especially buckwheat pancakes, which were consumed in stacks with butter and molasses or maple syrup... In different parts of the United States different food items are served for breakfast, although a meals of eggs, bacon, toast, and coffee seem ubiquitious, with the addition in the South of grits, ham, or biscuits, in the West with chile peppers, and in the Northeast with sausages and hash-brown potatoes, and in urban restaurants with preparations of eggs benedict, finnan haddie, melon, french toast, caviar, waffles, Danish pastry, fruit, English muffins, and many other items In Jewish communities breakfast may consist of bagels and cream cheese. The popularity of breakfast cereals began in the middle of the nineteenth century and has continued since then, especially a children's breakfast item."
Encyclopedia of American Food and Drink, John F. Mariani [Lebhar-Friedman:New York] 1999 (p. 41-2)


Breakfast Potatoes

Copyright 2012 Christine's Pantry. All rights reserved.


2 large potatoes, cubed

1 small onion, chopped

1 red bell pepper, seeds removed and chopped

salt and pepper, to taste

1 tablespoon steak seasoning

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 tablespoon butter


Place potatoes in large pot, bring to boil, add salt, cook until fork tender. Drain. Once the potatoes are ready, dice them into 1 inch pieces.

In large skillet, heat oil and butter over medium heat. Place the onions and bell pepper in the skillet, cook until tender. Add potatoes, stir well, slightly press potatoes. Add salt, pepper and steak seasoning. Cook about 8 to 10 minutes, then flip the potatoes. Cook until desired brownness. Place fried egg on top. Enjoy!

Cooks note: If you like, you may omit the fried egg. You could serve these potatoes with your favorite breakfast sausage.

You may also like these recipes:


  1. Sounds delicious, Christine! I love breakfast foods and these look yummy! Definitely would keep the fried egg

  2. After seeing your recipe, I know what my husband and I are having for breakfast tomorrow. Can't wait for breakfast. Thanks for sharing.

  3. My favorite meal of the day! I swear, my man would eat this sort of breakfast every. single. day!

  4. My favorite part of breakfast is usually the potatoes. These look good. :)

  5. I want to come to your house for breakfast.

  6. I'm "co-signing" what others have already said about breakfast! That's a really delicious-looking breakfast in the photo.

  7. The most important meal of the day!

  8. I love breakfast potatoes (hash)! I normally cook it for brunch with family and friends :D

    BTW, thanks for visiting my blog :)

  9. I love love breakfast potatoes! These look so yummy :)

  10. I am a big fan of potatoes. This dish is bookmarked and buzzed!

  11. This looks like perfect hubby food...he would love it!

  12. Thank you Crunchy Creamy Sweet! I hope you enjoy.

  13. Interesting post with lots of info. This recipe sounds delicious. Diane

  14. Yumm! I could eat these potatoes at any point of the day! :)

  15. That looks so good. I love potatoes for breakfast!!! I think our breakfast was largely influenced by the British!!!


Why not leave a comment or a suggestion? Be the first to leave a comment.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...