Our Southern heritage is steeped in the rural lifestyle where a hearty breakfast was necessary for a day of work on the farm. Times have changed, but our love for a big country breakfast hasn’t and we often serve those once daily foods to celebrate special occasions.
In many families, a holiday breakfast is a much anticipated tradition passed down through generations – an almost reverent offering of special family recipes. It is often highlighted by Southern favorites, like country ham and biscuits served with red eye gravy, eggs, grits and assorted homemade fruit preserves or sorghum syrup. This great hearty meal is meant to be lingered over with good conversation and to tide you over until dinnertime.
Others take a different approach to breakfast by turning it into a festive brunch. Serving a casual buffet creates a relaxed setting for guests to visit and enjoy recipes often adapted from the traditional, like little country ham biscuits, cheese grits, egg casseroles and assorted sweet breads.
I think some of my favorite holiday breakfasts have been the leisurely unplanned ones around the kitchen table with friends or family who’ve stayed overnight. The menu usually starts as a simple breakfast for early risers, but as others wake up and join the group, you never know what will appear. Somebody grabs a half loaf of banana bread wrapped in crumpled foil, leftover ham may be paired with deviled eggs or a slice of pound cake is toasted with a little butter. And, best of all, those spontaneous moments create lasting memories.