The Art of the Special Breakfast

Weekends call for morning meals above and beyond a bowl of cereal

Penny De Los Santos

I think it was my cousin's family who coined the term "special breakfast," which quickly became shorthanded down to "SB." Sunday mornings were SB days: too many plates crowding the table, all of us in our PJ's, lingering around until well past noon. Those were some of my favorite meals growing up: We worked our way through a rotating schedule of pancakes, waffles, crepes, and homemade pastries, always served along with yogurt, fruit, piles of bacon, eggs, tea, hot chocolate, juice, toast, jam, butter—the works.

Since leaving home, I've continued the weekend ritual of special breakfasts in my apartment kitchen. Sunday mornings—and sometimes even Sunday afternoons—are when pancakes are flipped, cakes are baked, coffee is ground and brewed, bacon is fried, and fruit is carefully sliced. I've wooed lovers and solidified friendships over these homemade breakfasts. But over the past year, these breakfasts have started to change. As I courted my now-boyfriend with the food of my family—pancakes drizzled in New England maple syrup—he courted me in turn with his: stories of foods like his mother's scrambled eggs with Mexican chorizo, served with her homemade salsa and tortillas. When I made my first visit to Mexico and tried those breakfasts in their place of origin, I was hooked. Rich, spicy, and invigorating, Mexican breakfast dishes are my new idea of a special breakfast. I've been practicing making salsas in my blender, and my boyfriend and I have even been making our own tortillas together, flipping them on the same skillet I use for pancakes.