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The Best Brunch Ever

Memories of the best breakfasts from Hormel Foods employees and friends
By
  • Lena Katz

April 16, 2018

Category
Story

Wake up and smell the coffee, then pour a large mug of it, grab a bagel or an energy bar and skedaddle off to work. That’s the play-by-play of the grownup Monday through Friday version of breakfast. Yes, it’s the most important meal of the day for health reasons. But, rarely can we relax and enjoy the really great things about it, like the wonderful smell of sizzling bacon that draws everyone from all corners of the house, the simple culinary comfort of toast or piping-hot pancakes with melting butter, the morning sun coming in through the windows promising that it’s going to be a great day, or maybe the rain beating down outside and making everyone feel cozy.

Brunch has gotten a lot of recent spotlight and dinner around the table is a longstanding family tradition, but breakfast tends to get pushed aside in the modern rush. So, to inspire everyone to re-introduce it to your daily (or at least just weekend) programming, we’ve collected some highlights on the lifetime breakfast reel. Read on and enjoy memories of the best breakfast ever from Hormel Foods employees and friends. We’ve discovered that these best breakfasts aren’t once in a lifetime; they’re recurring moments where food and family create unforgettable magic.

Chef & TV Expert Ted Reader

My wife does the breakfast around here. She’s a divorce lawyer; she’s in charge. I have a 9- and a 10-year-old, and when they turn into teenagers I’m certain we’re going to be seeing them a lot less, so I want to see them as much as I can now. I’m thankful that breakfast is a family favorite. My kids get up and the first thing that comes out of their mouths is, “What’s for breakfast?” Then as soon as they’re done, it’s “What’s for dinner?”

My favorite breakfast memory from childhood is what I call my “mucked-up eggs.” Take the largest glass you can find, like a beer mug, fill it with chopped up buttered toast triangles, then add bacon, mushrooms and whatever else you want. Then, throw in a couple soft-boiled eggs, take a spoon, muck it all up and eat it.

A breakfast memory in the making at our house is that my son is forever writing breakfast notes to his mother. There’s one on the nightstand right now that reads, “To mummy from Jordan, tomorrow for breakfast, a sunny-side up egg with lots of pineapple and apple juice.”

Ted is a chef and TV expert in Toronto, Canada.

The York Café Gregory Collier

A lot of chefs or cooks say, “I cooked in the kitchen with my granny.” I did not. When I got into cooking, she had Alzheimer’s and would always confuse me with my cousin. Granny was the person who did all the cooking when I was a kid, and she made these delicious butter rolls. The recipe for those is the thing I most wish she taught me before she passed.

Remembering back to those days, the kids would wake up in the morning, pick peaches from the trees and play at planting things in the yard, and I remember that I was always playing with my toys under the kitchen table when Granny was making a big lunch for the day. I remember staying with her when she was making the butter rolls, and she would always let us have a treat while the meal was cooking. She always made juice and baked us oatmeal cookies. A lot of times when I’m alone or in a bad place, I think about drinking juice and eating oatmeal cookies.

I’ve been trying to work on a butter roll recipe, but I need to get all my aunts in the same room to critique me and tell me what I’m doing wrong. I have to get approval from the family before I actually start serving them.

Gregory is the chef at The Yolk Café in Rock Hill, S.C.

Senior Lab Technician Susan Weber

Susan Weber

The best breakfasts, for me, had little to do with the food. During my high school years, my dad made breakfast every weekday. My parents, brother and I ate breakfast together before going off to work and school.

During those important formative years, I went to school nourished with not only a hot breakfast, but also the knowledge that I was valued and supported by my family. I didn’t know it at the time, but I’m sure this made the stresses and peer pressure of high school easier to handle. We often had supper together too, but looking back now as an adult, those family breakfasts are more memorable.

My dad loves pancakes and he would have made them five days a week if he thought the rest of us would eat them that often. When even two or three days of pancakes a week got to be too much, my brother and I would put butter and cinnamon sugar on them and roll them up like crepes. The fun of that was to skip the forks and eat them with our fingers. Now when I visit, Dad still makes breakfast, usually one day it’s oatmeal made fancy with fruit and yogurt on top and another day it’ll be something that takes more effort, like French toast or sausage gravy with homemade biscuits baked in the Dutch oven.

Susan is a senior lab technician in the chemistry lab at Hormel Foods.

Financial Analysis Tech. Jillian Rech

When I was a kid, I enjoyed camping with my family, but what I looked forward to most was my dad’s Saturday morning breakfast skillet. I think it was special to me because it was made by my dad, but there was also something about outdoor cooking on a Minnesota morning that brought all of us together. As adults, we continue this tradition with an annual family gathering in the fall. Last year, more than 30 of us gathered for a weekend of outdoor fun and family activities. Our family has gotten quite a bit bigger, and so has my dad’s frying pan.

Jillian is a financial analysis technician at Hormel Foods.

Marketing Director Nicole Behne

Nicole Behne

One of my favorite breakfast memories stems from our annual trip to a family friend’s home on a lake in Northern Minnesota – Thomas Lake. My family has been visiting there in the summer or winter, or some years both, for over 22 years. Carlene, our family friend, picks wild blueberries and raspberries in the woods near the cabin, and then treats us to homemade blueberry pancakes and homemade bread topped with a wild berry jam from those same handpicked berries. We also have bacon (Hormel® Black Label® bacon, of course) that has been crisped up in the oven. Talk about a breakfast made with love! Even when we visit in the winter months for our snowmobiling trips, Carlene uses berries that she has frozen from the year before.

I love thinking about all of the blueberry pancake breakfasts we have shared around that table at the cabin on Thomas Lake. What started out as a weekend winter ski getaway for my Dad and me during my senior year of high school has now turned into a place where I make memories with my little girls and focus on amazing food, family, friends and outdoor fun!

Here’s the famous recipe for Thomas Lake Pancakes
1 ½ cups flour
3 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 ¼ cups milk
1 egg
3 tablespoons melted butter

Sift flour, powder, salt and sugar. Make a well in the center. Mix together egg and melted butter, then add to dry mixture and mix until smooth. Scoop batter onto an oiled, hot skillet. Add blueberries to the top and flip when golden brown.

Nicole is a marketing director in Grocery Products at Hormel Foods.

Sales Support Specialist Saralyn Whalen

It was always tradition on both Mother’s Day and Father’s Day to give both parents breakfast in bed. The seven of us children would get up very early because we had to get things done before we all went to church. We would sneak up stairs and surprise my parents with a very large, well-balanced meal including eggs (fried and scrambled), bacon, sausage, toast, pancakes, cereal, fruit, juice, milk and coffee. We prepared cream and sugar for the coffee, even though they both drank black. We would bring the newspaper and our homemade cards to them in bed too. Then we would all sit there while they tried to eat it all. Memories like these mean more than anything else in my life, now more than ever; I was blessed to have them. Let’s not mention how the kitchen looked after we were done! Mom reminded us of this many times as we grew up.

Saralyn is a sales support specialist at Hormel Foods.

Customer Service Rep. Kasey Snater

Kasey Snater

My husband and I started fostering two children on Halloween of 2014 and adopted them on November 25, 2015. They are now 9 and 7 years old. My husband, Noah, worked at Camp Riley near Brainerd, Minn., and he was home only for six days a month. We started a tradition of having cinnamon rolls and bacon for breakfast every Saturday morning that he was home. Noah would get up early with the kids and they would make breakfast together. The kids would take turns on who got to lick the frosting container clean. The kids could tell when Noah was going to be home when they saw me buying cinnamon rolls. He left for deployment last summer and we had to put that breakfast on hold until Noah came home. Eleven months later we got to have that cinnamon roll breakfast again on June 17! Marketing director in Grocery Products My husband and I started fostering two children on Halloween of 2014 and adopted them on November 25, 2015. They are now 9 and 7 years old. My husband, Noah, worked at Camp Riley near Brainerd, Minn., and he was home only for six days a month. We started a tradition of having cinnamon rolls and bacon for breakfast every Saturday morning that he was home. Noah would get up early with the kids and they would make breakfast together. The kids would take turns on who got to lick the frosting container clean. The kids could tell when Noah was going to be home when they saw me buying cinnamon rolls. He left for deployment last summer and we had to put that breakfast on hold until Noah came home. Eleven months later we got to have that cinnamon roll breakfast again on June 17!

Kasey is a customer service representative in logistics at Hormel Foods.

Production Planning John Hilgers

Being born and raised in a small town in central Wisconsin, the 3 o’clock in the morning breakfast on the Saturday before Thanksgiving, marking the start of deer season, was a tradition in our family. My dad would fire up the stove and get the skillet sizzling as we strategically put on layers of clothes, preparing to spend the next eight to 12 hours sitting in our deer stands. Then, eight evenly-sliced pieces of SPAM® classic would be cooked along with some eggs and toast for our ceremonial breakfast kick off to the season. I’ll never forget when I was 17 years old, during this annual tradition, my dad looked over at me and said, “Who knows, maybe you’ll be making this stuff one day,” as he examined the SPAM® Classic can. Fifteen years later and 11 years into my Hormel Foods career, I can’t help but think back and smile.

John is the corporate manager of production planning and raw material procurement at Hormel Foods.

Intl. Marketing Intern Gabriela Poveda Posada

Gabriela

March 27th is the best breakfast day of the year. For the past 21 years of my life, every birthday starts out the same way, with breakfast in bed made by my loving family. My family wakes up early in the morning before I wake up and creates the best meal of the day every year. My dad is always in charge of making cheese arepas, which are made up of corn dough with sprinkled cheese on top. My mom specializes in making fresh-squeezed orange juice while my little sister just sits on the counter and tastes everything while it is being prepared. My dad also cooks up some huevos pericos, which are scrambled eggs with cut up tomatoes and onions. There is nothing like waking up to this delicious breakfast on your birthday! We do this breakfast as a family for every Mother’s Day, Father’s day and birthday, and on other special occasions.

Gabriela is an International marketing intern at Hormel Foods.

Author Allison Robicelli

I’ve never been a traditional bacon and eggs type. In fact, when I do the usual breakfast suspects, it’s normally for dinner when I’m just too tired to cook (eggs take but a minute, after all). First thing in the morning I’m more likely to be eating cold, leftover Chinese food.

But my favorite breakfast is one I wait all year for: bed pie, a tradition my husband and I have been engaging in for the past twelve years. It is true that pie is available all year, but bed pie has a particular set of requirements: it must be autumn, it must be cold enough that you require a blanket, it must be something custard-based like pumpkin or sweet potato (we learned our messy lesson with apple pie the hard way), it must be eaten on a morning where there is no reason to get out of bed and it must be shared with one fork.

It’s about nesting and sharing and being lazy, a perfect excuse for spending the day cuddling beneath the covers while watching TV. We’re not allowed to leave the bed until the whole pie has been eaten. We have never had a problem with this.

Allison is the co-founder of Robicelli’s Bakery, a James Beard award nominee and contributing writer to Food52, Epicurious and Extra Crispy.