Some of my favorite breakfasts are those spent at the family home of an Armenian friend. We sit around the table for hours, nibbling on an array of meze, or small dishes, as one after another brother, sister, aunt, uncle, or cousin arrives to eat and socialize. Friendship and family are important aspects of these meals, but even in my own home, where I usually make breakfast for one or two, I figured I could at least recreate the culinary aspect.
With those meals as inspiration, I laid out a spread of pita, farmer's cheese, labneh, olives, nuts, cucumbers and tomatoes (in March! – an unexpected treat from my CSA). I didn't have the ingredients to make the lemony fava beans that my friend's family usually serves, but I may add those next time, along with whatever crudités and pickles I happen to have.
The fresh ingredients and various colors, textures, and flavors stimulated my senses, compelling me to slow down and savor each carefully arranged bite. It was the antithesis of a grab-and-go breakfast. And yet, with a little advance preparation – cutting vegetables the night before, making dips and spreads on the weekend, keeping the pantry stocked with olives and nuts – a meze is actually quite simple to prepare. It's a beautiful way to begin the day and, for me, so much more fun that oatmeal!
Do you ever eat a meze-style breakfast?
Related: What Is A Meze?
(Image: Emily Ho)