Lockdown meal 3: breakfast tacos
There's something giddily subversive for Americans about eating breakfast outside of its appointed hours. I think I have some ideas why.
American breakfast is in general sweeter than lunch or supper. Whether it's pancakes or waffles or cinnamon rolls or fruit or Pop-Tarts, we eat a lot more sugar in our first meal than we allow ourselves in later ones.
American breakfast is also generally a hasty meal: you hopefully have time to defrost the breakfast burrito in the microwave before you have to sprint out to catch the bus. The days where breakfast is leisurely and involved are kind of necessarily special: you don't have to go to work, nor are you so overwhelmed from work that you slept in until 11. This progression ultimately leads to the concept of brunch, which I am not currently chartered to examine.
For our first post-lockdown lunch, A. made breakfast tacos. While they lacked the maple-spattered mellitissima of a tall stack of pancakes, they reminded me of Saturdays back in the States when we would roll to one of Albisu's Taco Bamba locations for an absurdly decadent late breakfast.
The breakfast taco is a simple creature: take a corn tortilla, put eggs and cheese and possibly meat in it, top it like a non-breakfast taco, and eat. In this case it was Spanish chorizo with A.'s homemade salsa, our last few hash browns, some British sour creme, and guac A. made last night.
The taco itself is an amazing invention, to which I hope to devote a blog post at some point. It is the first globalized food: Hapsburg meats in Amerindian spices and wrap. The breakfast version is much more recent, but shows no signs of going away any time soon.
The French don't understand breakfast. This much is clear. The word itself inspires disbelief: petit-dejeuner, "small lunch". There is literally nothing about proper breakfast that can be described as "small lunch".
This is the American in me, of course: we, the UK, and the rest of the mostly-white Commonwealth countries are the only ones who are so obsessed with the first meal of the day being substantively different than the rest. Also our insistence on eggs.
Eggs are very popular in France. But an omelette here is something you would order for lunch or a light dinner. (Or even dessert -- don't get me started.) But the idea of a meaty breakfast simply doesn't reach across the channel at all: you will have your espresso and two ciagrettes while you choke down a croissant, and that is all.