The residents of the great state of New Jersey do so many things so well. For example, we are very good at fitting 1,175 people on one square mile of land, we excel at spoon collecting (Don’t believe me? Check out the Lambert Castle Museum), and we make a damn good breakfast. Accordingly, my expectations for population density, silverware hoarding, and breakfast complexity are high. Some of my earliest food memories are in diners where massive breakfast spreads would fill a food pyramid many times over with their incredible diversity: pancakes, sausage links, scrambled eggs, toast with butter, hash browns, and bacon, just for starters.
It was not until I visited Turkey that I realized another place on this planet could compete with the fair Garden State by serving a ridiculous number of things on one plate and calling it the first meal of the day. But kahvaltı, Turkish breakfast, is almost healthy. Sliced cucumbers and peeled tomatoes are a staple, as are olives and cheeses. So far so good, right? Well, instead of butter and jam, there is kaymak and honey. And let’s not mention that I eat all the kaymak until it is gone (read: I eat an entire loaf of bread first thing in the morning). In conclusion, I love Turkish breakfast because it provides diversity that awakens my nostalgia for home, but does so in a way that throws in some healthy things, to mitigate the impact of all those carbs and pure fat. What a way to start the day.