Where’s the Beef?

In some countries, breakfast is an espresso and pastry. In others, it’s a massive sausage and beer. In still others, it’s feta cheese, olives, and cucumbers. Cheap hotels in this country also attempt something called “breakfast” —where you can find bad coffee and some yellow, powdered stuff they try to pass off as eggs. When in Rome, we do as the Romans do and eat what we are served.

But what if you have guests staying with you? Do you expect your guests to do breakfast the way you do?

We shouldn’t assume that our guests would be happy just eating a piece of fruit, or an energy bar, or (*blech*) pickled herring, especially if we don’t want them looking at your little Fifi like she’s a NY strip steak. But if you work full time like me, you can’t always be home with your guests to make the “big American” breakfast.

So what do I do to make sure my guests are fed, and Fifi isn’t served with a side of hashbrowns? (Okay, well, actually I don’t really have a dog. But my neighbor does, and I haven’t seen it lately, so…)

I love to make my guests a little yogurt station. I usually buy plain Greek yogurt, since it’s richer and creamier than regular yogurt, and serve it with an assortment of toppings: honey, fresh fruit, nuts, oat bran or flax seed, and maybe a little muesli or granola. I also have a Vita-mix on hand in case they want a smoothie.

I also get the mains—bacon, eggs, and toast—and show my guests where to retrieve the needed apparatus to make their own breakfast. I give my guests the tour of the kitchen as soon as they get to my home so they know that they are welcome in it.

Most importantly, for my caffeine-starved guests, I set up a coffee station, and right next to that, a water station. I find almost everyone is taking some kind of vitamin these days. The water station makes it easy for my guests to take their supplements so that they can then enjoy their morning cup of legally-addictive stimulants.

​A good idea for any host, if you’re able to do so, is to call your guests ahead of time and ask them what they like to eat in the morning. They may be on a special diet or have some food allergies that might require you to change your shopping list. (For other suggestions on how to make your guests feel welcome, read my blog, “Welcome Host or Hostel.”)

If I am home with my guests, I love to spoil them rotten and make them a big breakfast: fried eggs, bacon, gluten-free waffles with lemon curd yogurt sauce, and macerated berries. But if I have to work during their stay, I make sure breakfast is well in hand, because I like knowing that my guests are fed, feel loved and taken care of, and that my neighbor’s dog Fifi is safe.

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