I always fiddle with ingredients and dishes, but rarely (I hope) to the point that they are unrecognizable by their forebears. This breakfast is one of those rare failures at respectful fusion: a tender Uzbek obi non; an ancient flatbread baked in a clay tandir — so old it was mentioned in the earliest Sumerian texts – this time filled with breakfast proteins instead of honey, onion or chickpeas. Why’d I do it? Uzbek cuisine is interesting enough on its own; Uzbekistan is a largely secular Muslim country with a steady population of Bukhari Jews that was incorporated into the Russian empire in the 19th century (just as my Volga German ancestors were fleeing). As such, there is a heavy Turkik influence with Russian breadbasket inflections. The Russian word for obi non is lepeshka (лепешка), and before I decided I’d try baking it myself, I did purchase this loaf from a Russian bakery.
The bread was a puffy disc, very flat in the center. That the soft, round loaf resembled a giant bialy (an Azhkenazi specialty) was reason enough for me to fill it with scrambled eggs, cheese and sausages. I carved it into wedges and served it thusly. I don’t think Gilgamesh would even bat an eye.
I also want to announce that I have gotten a book deal! I’m writing Breakfast: A History, to be published by Roman and Littlefield’s AltaMira Press probably sometime in 2013. So for now I’m busy conducting research and organizing my many thoughts on the subject. I have a year to complete my manuscript. This blurb is from my proposal; maybe it’ll be the blurb on the back jacket (if Jared Diamond and Michael Pollan are unavailable to provide accolades):
Whether it’s a bowlful of cloying, artificially fruit-flavored O’s with milk or a stinking pile of fermented soybeans on steamed rice, breakfast fuels our hungry brains. As the old adage says, breakfast is the most important meal of the day; it’s the meal that makes the champion. It “breaks the fast” of nighttime slumber, filling our raging bellies and providing us with the stamina to face the day—or the first few hours of it, at least. We’ve been eating breakfast since the Neolithic, when humans first invented a way to grind cereals, and until the advent of the mimosa, our day’s first meal has changed little.
Stay tuned for updates, and in the meanwhile, I will try to make time to keep the blog floating.