Maureen Mancini Amaturo


There’s nothing easy about eggs over easy. Usually, I miss the pan. Often, I flip only half, and always, I leave some of it drooling onto something it shouldn’t. And I hate frying bacon because then the house smells all day. So, I don’t do it. Pancakes throw my schedule off. My family will eat cereal, but only as a snack at the most unexpected times. They always ask me to buy cream cheese, but I think it’s just to see how long they have to wait to see the mold grow. And my kids will never forgive Kellogg’s for frozen waffles. Not the biggest issue in my life. Strangely, breakfast doesn’t have rules in my house, though eating and cooking for my family is my core focus as it was for the all the mothers on my family tree. Breakfast just isn’t popular. Let’s be honest. It’s not the most social meal, in America anyway. But sometimes, I think if American breakfasts were more like those in Europe–except Germany where they serve salami and blood sausage at 7 am–I could make breakfast a thing again. Like in Paris, a croissant, a crusty roll, orange marmalade, and hot chocolate daily. Yes and yum, and that’s why thirty million French men can’t be wrong. 

     Come to think of it, I don’t even remember eating breakfast in Italy. Was probably still full from those nine-course, 10 pm dinners. Forget England. Nothing was edible in England. Or Scotland. I tried a Scotch egg. What a surprise, and not in a good way. Could this be where Dr. Seuss discovered green eggs and ham? I couldn’t eat breakfast in Wales. Too early in the morning to deal with a menu that doesn’t use vowels. 

     Never once did I yearn for an American Breakfast in Belgium. That was all chocolate all the time. Sometimes on a waffle, but not necessarily in the morning. I’m giving Madrid a half star–chorizo and a cup of chocolate to dip it in. Guess which part gets the star. Denmark was wedges of cheese and a side of jelly. In Austria, someone said the food on the dish was rabbit. No thank you. I don’t know what was on the breakfast table in Sweden. I couldn’t look. Lichenstein, lovely, little Lichenstein. They don’t eat breakfast. It’s a small country. Amsterdam. I remember two things about Amsterdam. We were not allowed to eat French fries on the canal boats, and there was a marijuana store on every corner. I think people eat breakfast all day there. I remember something else. There was a local pub named Café Hell, but I don’t think they served breakfast. Portugal was a problem. Seafaring people that they are, they built every meal around fish. I hate seafood, and everything was cooked in 10W 40. Luckily, I had my gall bladder removed before that trip. 

     But none of that is my daily reality. I live with the American breakfast, whatever that is. Last I heard, I think it’s anything with at least 15 grams of protein and a carton of coconut water, but maybe that trend ended earlier today. Hold on, it just switched to avocado toast. Stay tuned. American food trends change every hour on the half hour. Definitely not as reliable as Paris’ morning bread and marmalade. Anyway, I hold this truth to be self-evident: like most things in America, breakfast can be whatever I make of it. So, the American breakfast is not as romantic or exotic as some of the vacation breakfasts I’ve faced. At home, I may wake up to a tub of moldy cream cheese, (wait, does mold count as a houseplant?) but I’m still grateful I don’t live in Portugal waking up to oily fish. 



Maureen Mancini Amaturo, though named after Maureen O’Hara, is 200% southern Italian. Her heritage taught her well to eat, love, and pray. She’s obsessed with cooking for her Italian husband and pure-pedigree children, was first in her family to graduate college (BA in English, MFA in Creative Writing,) and wears black frequently, as much a symptom of her 30+ years as a fashion/ beauty writer as it is of her Italian heritage.