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Chef Marcela Valladolid Has Breakfast Down to a Science

Photo: Courtesy of Isabella Martinez Funcke

With your large family, how do you find time to prioritize breakfast? 

I have a teenager, Fausto, a 2-year-old, David, and a 1-year-old, Anna. Breakfast is nuts around here. I’m up by 5:30 in the morning. The rest of the family is up at 6:00, and we all head to the kitchen at 6:30. Sticking to routine is key. The babies like scrambled eggs with spinach and we have that every single day. In the morning we have no time to experiment, so it’s only what we know will work. Fausto usually likes scrambled eggs and tortillas. I can’t do breakfast that early, so I have 16 ounces of fresh-pressed organic celery juice. I’ll have breakfast at around 10:00 am and it’s usually some sort of vegan dish. 

Are there traditions or customs in Mexican breakfasts that you have continued to incorporate into the meals you make for yourself and for your children?

Tortillas are always on the table just like at my house growing up in Mexico. Fresh salsas and bottled hot sauces are mandatory. Sliced avocados also accompany almost every meal. In terms of traditions or customs, I’d say the dishes of my childhood make it on the table every week. Some favorites are albondigas, flautas, chilaquiles, fideo, caldo de res (beef and veggie stew) and milanesas. Everything is made from scratch. I’m okay with my children eating processed food while out and about, but at home it’s mostly clean and organic foods from the garden.

Today most American families favor grab-and-go breakfast foods. Is this the case in Mexico?

Breakfast was seriously on the go. We used to cross the international border daily to go to school in San Diego, so breakfast was whatever we could get into a container in time and take it with us on the journey north. We’d be in the car for a while, so we’d have our quesadillas to go. We have different eating schedules in Mexico. The main meal as a family, la comida, starts at 2:00 pm and ends a few hours after that. 

What’s your personal favorite breakfast recipe?

My personal favorite is a huitlacoche (corn fungus) waffle with smoked salmon, a cracked egg and some chive cream. I made a waffle batter but added the pureed huitlacoche. The batter turns jet black, so it’s an earthy and spectacular black waffle. For a while I was making veggie frittatas for the children and they loved them. 

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