Mar 7, 2011

The breakfast evolution

Most weeks, there is one morning I find myself in the kitchen in the early hours, often before the sun comes up, creating a batch of sausage and biscuits. I make up a week's worth and freeze them for my hungry crew to heat up on their way out the door.  It's my way of helping them prepare to face the world fortified by some protein and carbs, made with love.  Since this time involves just me, my coffee and the stove, I recently found myself contemplating how different this process is from a few generations ago.

Can you imagine cooking in this kitchen?
In our great-grandmother's day, putting sausage and biscuits on the breakfast table meant year-round hard work; she had to continuously raise and butcher hogs, grind and season and stuff the sausage into casings.  In some cases, it also meant growing her own wheat, having it ground into flour, and milking a cow to make the biscuits.  And before she could think about starting breakfast, the wood stove would need to be fired up.  It makes me tired just to think about how her day began.

In our grandmother's day, the process became slightly easier, at least for some women.  She could make patties from her own sausage or buy bulk sausage from the butcher, and make biscuits from scratch using store-bought flour (unless your grandmother was really progressive and used that new-fangled Bisquick) and milk delivered by the milkman. Stoves were still temperamental but at least they didn't require firewood for heat.

The ultra-modern mom!
Our mother's generation took convenience to a whole new level; she could buy rolled sausage from the grocery store, slice it neatly into patties, then sandwich the cooked sausage between fresh-baked biscuits from a can.  Suddenly it was possible to make breakfast on the spur of the moment, as long as biscuits and sausage were in the refrigerator.  (Arguably, a fair amount of taste and wholesomeness was sacrificed for the sake of this convenience.)

Our generation has two more choices:  pre-made frozen sausage and biscuits that only need to be microwaved for a  few seconds to heat up.  (Some are better than others.  Some are downright nasty.)

For those of us who yearn for something a little closer to homemade, we can bake up some frozen biscuits (they are much better than canned, and almost better than my from-scratch biscuits) while pre-formed frozen sausage patties are sizzling away on the stove.

It makes me wonder, what will the next generation of sausage and biscuits look like?

Happy Monday,