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The Humble Joy of Breakfast in a Time of Crisis

Breakfast is a thing of joy. It’s the meal I always look forward to the most. It’s the meal that brings me the most comfort. It’s the meal I’ve created the most ritual around in my life. And it’s the meal I’ve been overlooking the most since the outbreak began.

It’s hard to create a morning routine when you essentially get out of bed, walk seven feet to your couch and then begin working. My morning routine used to consist of waking up, getting dressed, frantically doing my hair and makeup before running out the door to catch the F train, ride that nine stops, walk 10 minutes and consider breakfast options, then stop in to any number of bakeries, coffee shops and/or one taco cart dedicated solely to Austin-style breakfast tacos, then head to the office. When I lived this routine, I didn’t appreciate it as much as I do now.

Since working from home, breakfast hasn’t been what it used to be for me. But all that changed this morning when I woke up and, on a whim, decided to make a breakfast bake. I didn’t have all the ingredients in the recipe, but I baked on. The result was a fluffy, eggy, sweet, savory semi-caramelized onion and cheese bake that honestly could not have turned out to be more perfect. The original recipe called for bacon and green onion, neither of which I had on hand, so I improvised and ended up attempting to caramelize onions (which I didn’t totally nail, but it’s the closest I’ve ever come to succeeding) and crushing up some fennel seeds in my hand and tossing them into the batter last minute. Not only was I extremely happy with what came out of my oven, but I also recognize that I would have never made this bake with its sweet, slightly burnt onions and its crushed fennel seeds under normal circumstances because I would’ve just gone to the store and bought bacon and green onions.

There’s something about the innovation, however small, that occurs in times like this that I think can’t be undervalued. And if I can come out of this weird, challenging period with a happy new recipe I otherwise would’ve been too busy, too tired or too uncreative to have made otherwise, I’ll take that as a small win.

Having a tasty little breakfast bake come out of my oven and a Starbucks iced caramel macchiato show up at my door is the closest I’ve come to rebuilding my breakfast ritual in weeks. It’s a small thing, I know, but it’s the small things that provide the most hope and relief right now. And reclaiming breakfast makes me feel hopeful that things might soon be okay again.