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15 June 2009

the story of our breakfast

breakfast this morning

Skagit River Ranch bacon.

Whenever we go to the city for a farmers' market, we head straight for the Skagit River booth. Eiko comes from around the table, gives a cursory wave to us — sometimes not even that — and heads straight for Little Bean. She smiles and pokes dimples and claps her hands. So does Little Bean. We stand by, admiring, and then buy a pound of bacon from the other woman working the booth.

Yakima asparagus, snap peas, and Walla Walla sweet onions, picked two days before we ate them.

A retired couple on the island has begun their summer business again. They have connections with 20 farmers, in Yakima and Puyallup, with whom they talk each week. He drives to Yakima every Thursday to pick up bushels of produce, and she drives to Puyallup. They come home with cherries, strawberries, fresh garlic, and everything ripe that week. And then they set up a stand on the main intersection of town and sell it to the locals. Cash or check only, please.

Last Friday, after buying a pound of these snap peas, Danny sneaked a couple of snap peas from the produce section of the grocery store, so we could compare the taste. I expected them to taste flat on the tongue, nothing as vibrant as the ones picked more recently. Instead, they were so bloated with over-ripened sugars that I couldn't finish the entire snap pea. I never expected to be disgusted by the sweetness of a snap pea.

Olsen Family farms red bliss potatoes.

We love Brent Olsen's bushy beard, his shy smile, his weathered hands. And we love the potatoes he grows.

Eggs from Dana's chickens, ten minutes from our house.

My wonderful sister-in-law, Dana, has a brood of chickens full of personality. Dana feeds these chickens a complex, balanced diet. She's a talented veterinarian. She knows what she's doing. The chickens respond by producing enormous eggs with yolks orange as roasted butternut squash. Or maybe they're just mimicking the color of their carrot-orange chicken house, which has a painting of Ed Norton on the side. (That's my brother's work.)

We buy all our eggs from Dana now, to help pay for that feed. After starting to eat eggs from Dana's chickens, Little Bean refuses to eat the eggs we occasionally buy from the grocery store. It cracks us up — she purses her lips and turns her head away, after the first bite. We have to agree.

Danny in the kitchen, flipping eggs over easy.

When he was 20, Danny cooked breakfast in a family restaurant, with a bar full of colorful locals, in Breckenridge. This is where he learned to make eggs over easy. There's a muscle memory, a swirl, a kick back on the balls of his feet. I love watching him make those eggs. When he does, he watches the pan, closely. When the eggs flip easily, a glistening whole without a yolk breaking, he always says, "This is going to be a great day." It usually is.

About 11 am, the baby in her highchair, the two of us full of coffee, ready to eat.

We're ready. We take our first bite.

Yeah. This having to eat gluten-free really stinks, doesn't it?

What's the story of your breakfast?

p.s. I'm happy to announce that NPR's Morning Edition did a lovely piece on celiac yesterday, focusing on a family who has recently become gluten-free. You can listen to that story here.

A continuation of that coverage is in this On Health podcast, which contains an interview I did with Alison Aubrey, the health reporter for NPR.

(And if you want to hear a story about life doubling back, it turns out that Ms. Aubrey produced the NPR piece on celiac in 2005 that my friend Beverly heard on the radio, and then called me to tell about it. That piece is what led me to ask for a celiac test. Four years later, I'm doing an interview with that same reporter. Wow.)


At 11:26 AM, Anonymous matt wright said...

What a great homage to awesome local providers, and holy cow, what a wonderful looking breakfast!

For me, it is two eggs (poached, or over medium), wilted spinach, toast, and lots of sea salt. Heck, bake that lot in a pan if you want! I just love yolk and spinach together.

Before that, it was eggs and toast soldiers. Reliving my childhood!

At 11:41 AM, Blogger gB said...

When I travel I try to support local B&B's and breakfast can be a challenge--they go heavy on coffeecake, french toast, muffins, etc. Even when I call ahead and explain that neither my husband and I prefer no bread products for breakfast we are most often offered wheat/bread selections as the featured selection. Perhaps a focus on B&B's to encourage them to seek other choices would be most appreciated.

Thanks for this great story!

At 11:55 AM, Anonymous dänika said...

my stomach growled just now, seeing that breakfast, the delicious decadence.

I used to love dawdling over my first meal but lately, my breakfasts are hushed, quiet, quick affairs. a bowl of rice chex, 1 sliced organic banana, a little shredded coconut, and almond milk. balanced on my knee in the early morning dawn, light just starting to color the horizon. hurrying out the door to work, still wanting nothing more than to kick off my shoes and fall back in bed.

(but maybe, just maybe, tomorrow I will pull myself out of bed with enough time to make an actual breakfast; delicious free-range eggs are calling my name, as well as hashbrowns with cumin and red pepper.)

At 12:11 PM, Blogger Mair said...

This reminded me of my grandfather. Fried eggs (over easy) always in his cast iron skillet. No one else could touch that skillet. Breakfast was his meal to cook. I envy your local ingredients. It looks delicious.

At 12:18 PM, Blogger Sarah said...

Those eggs look incredible.

I'm not a morning person, so my breakfasts are always hurried as I run out the door. Lately I've taken to eating at my desk once I arrive at work. Two corn tortillas with peanut butter and cinnamon in between, microwaved for 40 seconds so the tortillas are soft and the PB is gooey. Plus a mug of decaf green tea.

On Sunday after church, I like a dill omelet with wilted spinach.

At 12:25 PM, Blogger Meagan said...

Now I want some eggs!

At 12:32 PM, Blogger Swiss said...

Love the info on our Islanders. Am so surious what Dana feeds her chickens. My yolks are lovely too but I thought it was the grass since we have a tractor house and move them to fresh grass all the time. My sister has been known to throw one dozen of my eggs in with 12 dozen of store bought (for cooking at the fraternity where she works)and they are still very vibrant.

BTW, the Minglement is buy my egss again, we are so happy for that.

At 12:35 PM, Blogger cottagesweet said...

When my hubby and I get up in the morning, while I give the dogs their breakfast (and it's always real food, not those kibbles), he goes out into our yard and cuts off whatever is growing outside for the season, brings it in and we whip it up to go with "right from under the hen" eggs or gluten free oatmeal, some freshly made tea from the garden and it's always good. No gluten in our breakfast! And with fresh foods from home gardens, it isn't missed. I'm so glad for you, Shauna that you can so enjoy your foods. And I'm with Little Bean. Who can possibly eat supermarket eggs after real eggs from healthy chickens?

At 12:46 PM, Blogger Allison the Meep said...

I don't really have a story to share about my breakfast, but just wanted to say that reading your blog is like taking nice slow sips of my favorite coffee as the morning light shines through the pale yellow curtains of our 1920's kitchen. It brightens my day and makes me feel full of hope and possibility. Thank you!

At 1:03 PM, Blogger Amanda on Maui said...

Breakfast this morning was leftover purple sweet potato and carrot quiche from Karina's Kitchen. I'll post about it later today.

Since moving to Hawaii I've fallen deeply into a warm, cozy, sweet love of Okinawan or Molokai sweet potatoes. I love making mashed potatoes with them and seeing a big bowl of purple mash (which looks like play-doh) waiting to be spooned into my mouth, little by little. I could eat the whole bowl, and I nearly have (it was Thanksgiving).

The carrots in my quiche came from the farm stand. I let them feed the carrot tops to the horses. I could have taken them home to add to a salad, or to mix into the quiche or a soup, but the horse wanted them more than I did.

I'm looking for a new source of free range local eggs, as the one I was buying seems to have pulled them from the stores (too high of a price).

Buying locally is a beautiful thing. So are over easy eggs.

At 1:10 PM, Blogger Erin S. said...

Weekday breakfasts are usually GF Rice or Corn Chex or some of that gluten-free cereal that comes in a big bag from Whole Foods. I always make a fruit smoothie with some GF flax seeds. Weekends allow for more time and a bigger appetite... a Joan's GF Great Bakes everything bagel (delicious!!) and an omelet loaded with veggies. I would love to try some of your eggs, though, based on Little Bean's reaction alone!

At 1:44 PM, Blogger Pearl said...

how wonderful!

At 2:04 PM, Anonymous Becky and the Beanstock said...

Very funny, about Little Bean. Funny how kids and cats instantly know the difference (or maybe that's just my food-snob cats, dunno). Love the post, love that the eggs are family grown, love this message and this way of life. Thanks so much for sharing.

At 2:18 PM, Blogger Seattle Yogini said...

Mmmmm, breakfast. It's our favorite meal of the day, and we endeavor to always eat it together. We often choose wheat-free, sometimes gluten-free foods at other meals, but bread is a morning staple in our household. Today we had:

* whole wheat sourdough toasted with Irish Butter (is there any other kind?) and topped with homemade organic, sugar-free Strawberry Jam that I made this weekend
* fried eggs fresh from our friend's farm in Olympia
* fresh organic raspberries (these had the longest journey to get to our table, coming from California)

Actually, this is basically what we eat every morning...with occasional variations. On the weekends, though, it's no-holds-barred bacon or sausage, waffles or pancakes or French Toast, Breakfast Tea, and fruit. Yum!

At 2:20 PM, Anonymous Muriel said...

I'm with Lucy- after having my own chickens in the backyard (fed mostly with the fallen cherries from the orchard next door) there is no going back to store bought eggs.

At 2:31 PM, Anonymous La Niña said...

My stomach is growling too. I guess the homemade GF granola has worn off. (oops I forgot to eat lunch!)

Now I want eggs. Island eggs. From chickens that were fed spot prawn heads by the Willows Inn. You can not believe how florescent orange their yolks are.

Our breakfast ritual always begins with the coffee. We are coffee freaks, having been in the coffee business in our past life. The new and greatest way to make coffee is the AeroPress by Aerobie. It makes THE smoothest joe you will ever drink. The darn thing only costs $25. It takes a little getting used to- you are basically making a coffee concentrate - like making an Americano, but there are YouTube videos to show you how to use it.

After the coffee- it can be anything- GF pancakes with fresh fruit, scrambled eggs with chives and Hempler's bacon... Heuvos Rancheros in homemade corn tortillas with Rancho Gordo midnight black beans... or just good old granola.

The food is important, and feeds your body... but in our house, the coffee feeds your soul.

At 2:54 PM, Blogger Allyson said...

Umm Farm fresh eggs. Once you go farm fresh you never go back. Its like the differnce between a good cheddar and a kraft single!

At 5:41 PM, Blogger Karen said...

Our little one is now 4 and will look at me when I have to serve him store bought eggs and say "but I wanted yellow eggs not white ones!"

Toast, eggs (sometimes with leftover greens or pesto), fresh strawberry-rhubarb jam from our kitchen garden, fresh strawberries and blueberries

At 8:51 PM, Blogger T.S. said...

Agreed! People are always telling me how much it must stink to eat gluten-free. Now armed with knowledge and learning to make truly great food, I pity them and their Twinkies! :)

Also, there is truly no comparison between a fresh, organic, free-range egg and the styrofoam container kind at the store. I can't WAIT for the neighbors' hens to lay enough that they have extra!

At 9:40 PM, Anonymous Sho said...

I have never eaten eggs that were hatched the day before. I also wonder what raw milk that was just milked tastes like.

About my eggs, I will eat them any time of day. They are not just for breakfast in my opinion, and you can do so much with them. In my Wonder Bread days, I used to make a cheese pie out of layered Wonder Bread with an egg and cream mixture poured all over and with cheese in layers and on top. Everyone said it was better than quiche.

You know one thing I love about the farmers' market is the smell. When I walk into a tent with all that fresh lettuce and chard, I don't even want to leave it. The smells at the farmers' market are heavenly. (I have not been to the farmers' market yet this year.)


At 10:13 PM, Blogger theater simpleton said...

The last time my mother in law flew to Seattle, she packed a dozen of her chickens eggs in her checked bag. She's been doing this for years. Nary a crack.

I love to poach em, then plop them in a bowl with cuban black beans or refrieds that we made earlier in the week with homemade stock in the pressure cooker. Spinach is TOTALLY addred when we have it, and bacom from A & J meats on Queen Anne makes it perfect. (Although we are currently 'settling' for some goft pancetta)
corn tortillas mops it all up - I first had this brekkie in new mexico made my my auntie's mom (sort of a mini-abuelita) and she would make home made tortillas... THAT is a flavor i carry in my head and heart, since I can't do them justice.

At 10:27 PM, Blogger Tori said...

I was excited to find out this morning that a friend of mine who is a rep for a company called Pharmax (they sell fish oil, probiotics and other naturopathic treatments) has an awesome allergy test for gluten that takes just a pinprick on the finger and a drop of blood. His test runs 129 allergens for grain, dairy etc. He lives in Seattle.

I immediately thought of you and the other celiacs I know who've endured multiple blood tests to find out they're allergic to gluten. Who knew someone had developed something so easy as a simple prick on the finger.

My breakfast this morning involved a drive to the coast, a bonfire on the beach and hanging out with family and friends. A great day indeed.

At 4:04 AM, Blogger sk said...

Your breakfast looks lovely! I think it's so great that Little Bean has such a discerning palate already. Cute!

At 7:00 AM, Anonymous Emma said...

I've been reading your food/life blog for some time now. A few months ago doctors suspected that I had celiacs. Turns out that I didn't, but in that time that I was being so cautious of what I ate I learned (with GREAT help from your stories) how to appreciate my food and the ingredients that goes into it.

Now I am cooking up a storm, and enjoying every bite, and I feel better than ever now that I have cut all of the processed food out of my diet.

You have helped so much to open my eyes to ENJOYING the moment at hand, and the food that brings that moment together.

Anyway, what I am really commenting to say, is that I saw a quick reference to you in SELF magazine this month, and it spoke briefly about celiacs. I showed it to my fiance and we were so happy to see yet another wonderful recognition of the beautiful Shauna (you have become a regular mention in our home, and my fiance now looks at your blog nearly as much as I do.)

Anyway, thank you for being you, and continuing to inspire all of us to live life to its absolute FULLEST!

At 11:55 AM, Blogger kate said...

Ah, the story of my breakfast, as of late, is that of a traveler. In Germany, they eat delicious brötchen with glistening slices of lunchmeat and perfect cheeses and wonderfully fatty butter. Which is all well and good, but I just cannot eat like that every day. I mean, yeah. The bread is something else, but due to some possible gluten resistance (I know nothing of what I say- only that my stomach is less bloopy when I eat less gluten, and I've been tested for celiac, which I don't have, so the doc says, gluten resistance. I don't know exactly- I just try to eat less gluten), I am eating other things.

And what wonderful other things they have. Delicious muesli (which I realize, having oats, is possibly party to cross-contamination, but for my purposes, it serves), studded with raisins and flax seeds, stirred in to thick, barely sweet yogurt topped with fruit so fresh that makes you understand for the first time what a plum is supposed to taste like. Mein GOTT. I could eat this every. single. day.

Ahem. That is my breakfast story as of late.

At 1:36 PM, Anonymous Carolyn said...

Recently I've been thinking a lot about my first few meals with personal stories like this, and how special and rare they felt. These days I will hardly take a bite of chicken without introducing myself first. What progress! I'm a crazy person, and so happy to be. Even happier to be crazy in such inspired company.

At 2:11 PM, Blogger Gorgeous Gluten-Free Girlfriend said...

I'm just starting to even think about food being wonderful and not just something I must eat. You make it easy to imagine, that's for sure!

I've never been a cook, but now that I have to be, I'm only starting to get creative after about two years of bland! Great story!

At 2:27 PM, Anonymous Jessamyn said...

Yesterday's breakfast: tabouli, made with parsley fresh-picked from my garden, and two tiny eggs from Laura at Urban Hennery, fried over easy.

At 6:59 PM, Anonymous cris said...

As I struggle to create meals for my very ill partner who has little appetite, cooking has become difficult, little joy.

As your words draw a better picture of your food than even the photo, I am able to find some joy your obvious joy.

Thank you. so. much

At 7:19 AM, Blogger Kim said...

I do not have a gluten allergy, but I adore your blog because it is a poignant portrayal of food.

This entry, however, struck a cord with me. I understand that as a parent you certainly want to feed Little Bean the best possible foods available. When she turns away from store bought eggs, you seem proud that she has discerning taste at such a young age. Has it occurred to you that she will not always have access to such food, and may be perceived as a food snob, and not a child of discerning taste? On a broader scale, what is she going to do when faced with dorm room cafeterias or business lunches that simply do not cater to specific food preferences?

Perhaps instilling such a demanding preference in a child so small is actually a disservice because her options are so limited.

At 9:58 AM, Anonymous Amy said...

Tori - please share the blood test information! I would like to take that test and have my toddler daughter take it as well. I love the Pharmax probiotics, by the way. They have improved my digestion quite a bit.

At 11:30 AM, Blogger Jennifer said...

I am jealous: I just went to the local farmer's market and I was able to aquire some Boston bibb lettuce and snap peas but no apples, aspargus, onions. There were herbs and pretty flowers. I have fresh produce envy right now.

At 5:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have you ever heard of a waxy gluten coating sometimes put on fruits and vegetables to maintain freshness? Trying to figure out if it's legit.

At 6:48 PM, Blogger jackie connelly photography said...

Hi there,
Love your blog, love this post. Looking forward to more.

p.s. added you to my blogroll, I hope that's agreeable to you ;)


At 8:59 AM, Anonymous Sho said...

I just read your old post, Learning to Love your Food Fully. When I was on Atkins, I felt great. I was flying high. Now I know it was the lack of gluten in my diet. I agree with your theory.

I clicked into that article about celiacs not being able to lose weight. I have always had struggles with weight. Someone once told me that if intestines are damaged, that short gut syndrome can develop. They said that certain villi will overgrow to absorb more nutrients, and that can lead to weight gain. When I mentioned that to my son's GI, she she yelled at me and said that celiac was her specialty and that I did not know more than her.

Now that I have Crohn's, the specific carbohydrate diet says that all grains, except for almond meal/flour is bad for me. I am so confused.

Your breakfast looks great, and so did your crustless quiche from the older post!


At 7:54 PM, Blogger gfe--gluten free easily said...

Ah, Little Bean, what a palate that child is going to have! Such good eggs really are something spectacular, aren't they? One of our support group families always serves eggs when they host our meeting because we all insist. Out of this world and the yolks are that wonderful orange color like you said.

My typical breakfasts are pretty simple affairs. Often leftovers or nuts and fruit, but lately I've been drinking green smoothies (Whole Life Nutrition recipe) and they are wonderful. Other special breakfasts are when we have out-of-town guests. That calls for dishes prepared ahead, but still spectacular when made that morning ... Denver Oven Omelet, Banana Maple-Nut Muffins, and Hash Brown Casserole. The best part is being together with our friends for the leisurely meal.

Note to Shoshannah--I hope you found another doctor for your son. We have a person in our support group with Crohn's who has been healing using the SCD and no drugs. Her skeptical GI is amazed, but he sees the proof on her pill cam "reviews."


At 6:25 AM, Anonymous Ana said...

Wonderful NPR interview! It was great to hear you, even though I already knew what you'd say from reading this blog :)

At 9:15 AM, Anonymous Gluten Free said...

for my breakfast I have been using a Gluten free whey protein from Top Form Nutrition, personally i like the chocolate flavor the best, but the vanilla is good also !


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