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Mexican breakfast

How you define a traditional Mexican breakfast depends on how far back in history you want to look. Aztecs thought themselves fortunate to have the first meal of the day be a nice grilled Iguana. A Mayan may well have regarded a raw grasshopper as a delicious fat-rich meal in the morning. While Mexican breakfast from the past few centuries may be a little more recognizable to the gringo eye, it will still have a flavor and style distinctive of this colorful land.

One very simple option is a great French roll. France dominated Mexico for a few years around the time of the American civil war. The influence can still be felt in the consumption of bolillos, which can be eaten plain or dipped in cafe con leche.

As in many countries, breakfast just wouldn't be the same without eggs. The Arroz con Huevos dish is a great example. Very simple to make and also very healthy, it's at base poached eggs. But, oh, how that base is enhanced to produce a delicious breakfast. Add rice, tomato and green peppers, then top with cheddar cheese and you've got a recipe that everyone will want at least once a week.

If you want something a little lighter, you could just do what many down south do and have some fruit for breakfast. Mangos and papaya are among the favorites, but may also be watermelon, limes or even guava. Oranges are everywhere, thanks to the long days of hot sun.

A Mexican breakfast may very well be entirely liquid. Chocolate is a favorite of those in this Latin land. Here it often takes the form of a spicy, dark brown, granular bar that is often more bitter than usual. But that bar is just as often melted into a delicious hot chocolate drink consumed on a cold morning.

There's another Mexican breakfast drink that the uninitiated will want to try: horchata. Made from milk, water and sugar just add some cinnamon and vanilla then mix. One popular variation uses rice and mixes the whole concoction in a blender. Sweet and full of energy to get you started for the day.

A sausage burrito is a common Mexican breakfast in many households. But for something a little less common, experiment with a yogurt crepe. Unlike its French cousin, this delightful breakfast dish uses flour tortillas (and to great effect). Filled with vanilla yogurt and stuffed with apricots and peaches it's healthy, low fat and great tasting.

But for those who simply must have those eggs in the morning, try a variation on the omelette. Down Cabo way they spice it up with cilantro and garlic, then throw in some diced jalapeños and green chiles. If that doesn't wake you up in the morning, nothing will.

Sure, you can always have refried beans on a tortilla and call it breakfast. Many do and they should know. But there's a whole country full of Mexican breakfast dishes and only so many mornings in life. Go for some variety and add a little spice to life, Mexican style.