What do you think of when I say, “breakfast”? Did you automatically think of the International House of Pancakes? Did waffles and French toast swimming in sugary syrup come to mind?
Or did you imagine a sea of a salads? Probably not.
To my pleasant surprise, salad is a mainstay in the Israeli hotel breakfast buffet. In addition to the leaf salads, there were cabbage, beet and eggplant salads. I have never seen so many kinds of salad displayed. I had no idea that beets could be made into so many various salads. The same goes for eggplant. Beets and eggplant tend to be served only one way in America, not so in Israel.
My husband, Dick, and I spent the first two weeks of May in Israel. Besides seeing the sights, the food is always an attraction for me. The breakfast buffet was an unbelievable delight found in Israel’s hotels. There had to be more than 100 choices laid out for breakfast.
To Israelis, “salads” are staples of diced vegetables. In some salads, you can sometimes find shredded strips of lettuce but they’re always accompanied by chopped peppers, sautéed mushrooms, sticks of cucumber, sprigs of parsley and chunks of goat cheese.
Four or five enormous breakfast buffet tables are loaded with salads, cucumbers, olives, fish, dried and fresh fruit like dates, cheese; grilled veggies including eggplant, tomatoes and red bell peppers. Usually, you can find hummus and tahini. Tasty granola is always available (not boxed cereals) and there is usually an omelet station, but why eat eggs when you have a smorgasbord of choices?
Dick can’t believe how delicious the cheese is in Israel. He’d pile interesting cheese on his plate: Gouda, mozzarella, Swiss, etc. I usually went for the olives first. Dick didn’t like that you had to eat around the pits, but I don’t care. I love olives. I have never seen so many varieties of olives in my life. I would also add a couple of Medjool dates to my plate. Dates are also a staple in the Mediterranean.
Breakfast tends to be an issue for healthy eating in most American homes. Moms and kids on the run make it difficult to eat a nourishing breakfast. Try serving salad instead of a toaster waffle or a bowl of sugary cereal. Just make large salads during the week for dinner, then serve planned-overs for breakfast. If you’re on the run, fill a falafel with some Israeli Salad and top with thinned Tahini (sesame paste) or even hummus (chick pea). Click Here for a Classic Israeli Salad Recipe.
L’Chaim (To Life), Nonna Joann