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Food + Cooking

The Endorsement: Fish for Breakfast


What are you eating?" said my friend, entering the kitchen this morning. My mouth was full, and I didn't realize she had woken up yet. I felt a slight tinge of embarrassment, as if I had been caught with my hand in the proverbial cookie jar. Except that it wasn't a jar full of cookies—it was a jar full of pickled herring. "Ew," was my friend's reaction, and needless to say, she abstained from sharing my breakfast with me. After all, who wouldn't think pickled herring deserved an ew at 7:15 in the morning?

Well, Scandinavians, for one, for whom pickled herring is a breakfast staple. Is it a coincidence that Scandinavian countries consistently rank among the top places to live in quality-of-life surveys? I think not; the benefits of eating fish on a regular basis are well known (and are also said to outweigh the potential risks that are commonly associated with eating too much fish, according to two major federally funded reports). But putting the health hooey aside, the more important fact is that fish is just plain good for breakfast. Even if pickled herring isn't your thing (it's perfect on whole-grain toast, by the way), there are a ton of amazing options that often go overlooked. Lox and whitefish salad, for example, are not only delicious but also ready-to-eat, which is important to those of us who are rushed in the morning. If you have more time, go all out and substitute some creamy, salty brandade for the Canadian bacon in eggs Benedict (many French claim that this is actually the original version of eggs Benedict, but that debate is better saved for another blog post). As my friend poured herself a bowl of Crunchberries, I couldn't help but wonder if Cap'N Crunch, seafaring man that he is, might prefer some smoked salmon, folded into soft scrambled eggs, to those fluorescent, spherical sugar bombs that he peddles to America's youth. Just look at those things.