Something Special: Breakfast Out with Kids

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When I was younger, my father would occasionally pick one of us — me, one of my two sisters, or my brother — and take us out to breakfast before school. This was a treat in more ways than one. Time alone with one parent was always special, getting to sleep a little later and not having to take the bus was heavenly, and he usually took us to McDonald's, a rare occurrence as my mother was a bit of a health nut (in a good way!). He's maintained the tradition with my children and so have I.

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If you do the math, this means my children get to enjoy breakfast out more than twice as often as I did, since there are only three of them and two people taking them out. (Sorry. I have math on the brain, since my kids are busy working on those math sheets they were supposed to work on all summer. I should make a word problem out of this for sure.)

Every region has their morning spots. The best ones in the south are often "meat and three" places that also serve breakfast. This is great for me, because I love a side of collards with my bacon and eggs. The menus are all similar, with some notable exceptions. One of our favorite spots, Nathan's, has an excellent liver pudding, for example.

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During the lazy days of summer, I take at least one of my children out for breakfast at least once a week. I enjoy the way the conversation unfolds. As often as we have gone for breakfast in the last few months, it still feels like a novelty, a short vacation at the beginning of the day.

While breakfast at home is simple and predictable — spinach scrambled eggs, egg in a hole, bananas topped with peanut butter — breakfast in a restaurant is decadent and the possibilities are endless, at least in the eyes of a child. My older kids think catfish for breakfast is a filling delight, while the younger one believes he's getting away with eating dessert for breakfast with pancakes and plenty of syrup. And bacon! The only time I usually make bacon in the morning is on vacation.

How often do you eat breakfast away from home? And are you maintaining any of your parents' food traditions with your own kids?

(Images: Anne Postic)