The Most Important Part of the Day

by Tamra Portalla (University of Rhode Island)
OH HOW I MISS THEE: breakfast. Blueberry Pancakes with maple syrup, waffles, omelets or bacon and eggs. They all sound so sweet to me! One of the hardest things to get used to since coming to Cagli is the lack of a traditional American breakfast. For myself, breakfast is a social time to catch up, bond or even relax together. My roommate and I always go to this amazing breakfast place every Sunday and wait in a 20-minute line to sit. There we can chat about the week ahead and tease each other about the ridiculous mistakes we have made during the previous week. Breakfast for me is the time of day where I can just take my time and prepare for the day or week ahead.

Here in Cagli, breakfast does not exist; lunch is the biggest meal of the day. What happened to morning preparation and downtime? The town seems to come alive so early in the morning. Woman are opening up the shutters and putting plants out to catch the day’s sunlight, children are going to school, but no one is eating breakfast. Instead they sit down and have a morning cup of espresso or cappuccino and perhaps eat a couple of crackers or a small pastry.

There is something that is amazing though: the people come out together and sit and socialize. Instead of eating they are busy chatting, gossiping, or simply people watching. They might not be eating, but they are laughing and engaging in their community. In America I often hear that breakfast is the most important part of the day. In some ways I would argue that breakfast is equally important here. Its important not for the food, but for the time taken to start your day and socialize with others. Here in Cagli, the town is so close and social. No one sits alone or appears to need “me” time. The time is spent together laughing, venting or simply drinking espresso together.

Although I miss a great omelet and a cup of orange juice, I can equally appreciate the value of a small panini and a cup of café.