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Photo by Kate Gross-Whitaker

Breakfast

I’m starting to really love breakfast. It’s evolved from most neglected to most anticipated meal of the day. Every morning I wake up to a combination of steamed buns, meatbuns, sweet honey, eggs poached in red sugar water, congee, and soy milk. Everything is served warm, or, if we time our morning routines just right, piping hot. Breakfast is served to the family. My homestay mom, sister, and myself all gather at the table to eat. I feel warm — physically from the food, emotionally from sharing a meal with others — before I leave the house.

The Chinese have this saying about food: “早上吃好,中午吃饱,晚上吃少”。It translates roughly to “Eat well at morning, eat full at noon, eat less at night”. The wisdom in the saying has dawned upon me. I appreciate time in the morning to savor food, collect my thoughts, and feel replenished. As opposed to whisking in and out of the kitchen, grabbing a banana, a few hasty bites of cereal, and anything else that’s edible and within arms’ reach.

I’ve started shadowing my homestay mom in the kitchen. The first thing I learned how to make is also my favorite: soy milk. It’s really simple, made with three ingredients and a blender. The hardest part of making soy milk is the time commitment to each morning, a little more than half an hour, that I’m now ready to make.

I share with you: Soy Milk Recipe (serves 3):

1. Fill 1/3 of a small bowl with soy beans

2. (optional) Add a half a layer of peanuts for fragrance

3. (optional) Add a half spoonful of black sesame for fragrance

4. Rinse the bowl of ingredients

5. Pour ingredients into the blender

6. Add sugar to taste (my family likes 3 spoonfuls)

6. Fill blender with 1000 mL of water

7. Blend for 31 minutes

8. Serve while hot!