The egg, but not the chicken

Last updated 13:17 28/11/2012

I have recently been pondering, as I do, relatively pointlessly, the things that we do and do not eat for breakfast.

Across many cultures, some form of bread is a breakfast staple, often with some sort of spread or topping. Cereal seems to be a western fave, and many Asian nations favour some sort of rice or noodles. Fruit is often served. Bacon is popular, ham too in some places - notably Germany. Mushrooms, tomatoes, even potatoes, often in the form of some type of hash brown or potato cake. And, of course, eggs are a staple the world over. Even fish gets a look in, much beloved of the English - kippers, anyone?

But chicken? Nope. There are almost no breakfast chicken recipes. Why is this? I dunno.

There doesn't even seem to be any particular reason not to eat chicken at breakfast time - it's not like the Anthony Bourdain edict about not ordering fish in a restaurant on Tues after a public holiday (cos it will be old and a bit dodgy). We just don't. It is especially weird 'cos eggs are such a staple. Eggs, but not chicken. Weird.

Now, as I have professed before, on the rare occasion that I am out for breakfast (I think it is my least favourite meal, and it is certainly the least exciting meal to go out for, plus bacon and eggs for $20? You're havin' a laff...), I will always opt for something out of the ordinary - a Mexican-styled breakfast burrito, or pancakes. Going out for breakfast and having toast, or porridge, or even just cereal seems slightly depressing to me. Eggs benedict, omelettes - blah. Meh - boring. And I can make them. Easy peasy.

But chicken for breakfast? Nope, not many (if any). In Asian countries where noodle-y, soupy things are served at breakfast time, you might get a Vietnamese pho that has chicken in it (but more likely beef). You might also get some sort of stir-fried rice or noodle dish. But you are singularly unlikely to encounter a chicken dish on a Western eatery breakfast menu - despite the fact that it is one of the most popular proteins, and it is eaten in huge quantities the world over - especially in Hong Kong and the US.

So I ask of you all: suggestions for a breakfast chicken dish? I would perhaps nominate a simple favourite of mine: poached chicken in a wholegrain sandwich with fresh, chopped tarragon and mayo. I am a big fan of the "breakfast sandwich", and, while this would normally mean egg, or bacon, or bacon and egg, I think the chicken/tarragon/mayo number would be a good way to cross this chicken-free breakfast divide.

I also think some sort of Mexican chicken taco or burrito might be acceptable - beans, chilli, coriander. I can fully accept that roast chicken is probably not what most people feel like eating first thing in the morning, but with Mexican-type flavours - fresh, bright, citrusy, zingy - I reckon this could be a go.

While having an online search for chicken breakfast recipes, I found someone mooting a sort of chicken eggs benedict, which really doesn't appeal. Mostly, it would seem, people avoid bones at breakfast time, which is odd, when you think about it - perhaps they are just too hard to face?! 

I do quite like the idea of a big steak, with fried eggs and suchlike for breakfast, but this is only really justifiable if you have a long day of tough physical labour ahead of you (and working in a record shop probably doesn't really qualify).

So, over to you - suggestions for a chicken breakfast dish? One that you have made up, or one that you have tried already? Do you eat chicken for breakfast? Why do you reckon it is that people generally don't? 

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Picture: Stijn Ghesquiere

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