Best Breakfast, No. 2
If you can't have the best oatmeal granola in the world, this is a nice substitute: some crunchy cereal flakes, a few dollops of thick Greek yogurt, a sprinkling of sugar (the yogurt is unsweetened), and mango chunks, plus some milk. It helps if you have it in a bright blue latte bowl, on a sunny morning.
The yogurt reminds me of something I ate on my first trip to France, when I was about 20. I actually wasn't even in France yet, but my friend and I were on our way there, flying from London to Paris for New Year's Eve. The time we saved by flying seemed worth the expense, but we had to compensate for our extravagance by eating nothing but bread and cheese once we arrived.
On our way there, however, as short a flight as it was, they served us a beautiful little lunch, and the dessert was a container of this thick, creamy yogurty stuff with a paper straw full of sugar to sprinkle over it. I later learned from my housemate's French girlfriend that it was a kind of fresh cheese called fromage blanc. It was one of the best things I'd ever tasted, in a way only the things you experience in the midst of the exciting and new can be. When the French gentleman sitting in our row observed our ecstasy, he graciously offered us his untouched portion. "You two will clearly appreciate this more than I ever could," his eyes seemed to say.
The associations some foods carry matters almost as much as the way they taste; in this case, it's telling that I prefer to serve this concoction in a French latte bowl, n'est ce pas? The Greek yogurt I use (the brand is Fage, and seems to be cropping up in all our local markets now) isn't exactly the same as that original fromage blanc, but it comes close enough to conjure up the mood of a holiday adventure with my friend, the first sublime taste of a simple new food, and the kindness of a stranger. Which is not too shabby of an accomplishment, for breakfast.