Not everyone eats breakfast. But among those who do, many believe that it is the most important meal of the day. Unfortunately, there’s no definitive study to either support or argue against the importance of breakfast—or any meal, for that matter.
Whether breakfast is a daily ritual in which you always indulge, or it is an occasional weekend treat you just call “brunch,” there are a few ways to make that morning meal particularly special. One of those is—you guessed it—cheese.
Now you could sit down at the table with a bunch of cheeses, cured meats, bread, and some fruit with your coffee; there’s no shame in that. In fact, that’s the type of breakfast I was introduced to early on visiting my grandparents in Germany. While meat was the main attraction on that table, cheese was the supporting character, and a mighty important one at that.
The all-American breakfast archetype is something like bacon, eggs and toast, waffles or pancakes, cereal, maybe some oatmeal, and the occasional fruit salad. Have you ever thought of adding cheese to your waffles? Your pancakes? Your oatmeal?
Some people already do with their cereal. You know, cottage cheese and granola? Cottage cheese and fruit? Oh, and omelets and quiches are almost always cheesy.
We’re not that far off already, folks.
Here are four easy ways you can start changing the landscape of your breakfast table, one serving of cheese at a time. (And don’t forget, cheese is a good source of protein!)
- Parmesan-dusted bacon and eggs
Cook up your bacon or sausage and eggs as you normally would. Throw a piece of toast in the toaster for good measure, too.
Once everything is done to your preferences, steamy and hot, grate some Reggiano over everything. Heck, even the toast—even if you buttered it already. It’s so easy to cheese up these staples, you’ll wonder why you haven’t already been doing so for ages.
- Toast, eggs, and camembert
Toast your bread and cook your eggs as usual. (I like my eggs sunny-side-up for this one, but you could prepare them any which way.) While the toast is still hot, smear camembert or brie across the surface instead of butter.
Top the cheese and the toast with the hot egg, add salt and pepper if you like, and enjoy. The cheese will melt, and if your egg yolk isn’t solid, the yolk with drip out with the cheese and you can sop it all up with the bread. You might even go back for seconds.
- Apples and cheddar without the pie
So apple pie with cheddar in it is a regional thing which I had never heard of until college, and I still can’t say I’ve ever eaten it. But the idea follows that if cheddar is quite at home in a pie, in a fruit salad it will be just as fine.
Cut up apples, oranges, maybe even some bananas and pineapple, and dump all the bite-size pieces into a bowl. Make sure everything isn’t too juicy, and mix it just enough to evenly distribute the colors.
Get a block of the cheddar of your choice and shave it over the salad. Shavings will allow you to get an even bite of cheese along with the chunks of fruit, without every surface of the fruit having to touch the cheese as it might with grated or shredded cheese.
You can even add some honey for an extra splash of flavor. Or try hot honey to kick it up a notch.
- Waffles with rosemary and Gruyère
When you make your usual breakfast waffle recipe, add a bit of rosemary into the batter—say, a tablespoon or so. Then, while the waffles are still piping hot and a little moist from the waffle iron, shred Gruyère all over the entire top surface.
The cheese will melt into all the waffle’s nooks, so you won’t even miss your maple syrup. If you want to be extra decadent, top the waffle with a slice of bacon—or crumble the bacon across the surface so that it intermingles with the cheese.
In all of these instances, you can substitute vegetarian bacon or sausage, and gluten-free bread or grains. Cheese is an equal-opportunity flavor-ator.
Next time you eat breakfast, whether that be tomorrow’s Sunday brunch, Monday’s pre-work kickstart, or the next time you have hunger pangs that you send you into a breakfast-food craving, just add cheese.