Egg heads: The Food Channel's top ten breakfast trends for 2011

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If you hear it from the Food Channel, then it must be true. Every week, the network serves up another list, hoping that bloggers and other publications will bite. Which we did last week -- right before we gagged over the Food Channel's top ten breakfast trends.

As Food Channel editor Kay Logsdon wrote, "In our breakfast survey of Food Channel readers, one thing quickly became clear. Most of us still recognize breakfast as the most important meal of the day. It's all new, though. Now it's OK to eat chocolate for breakfast, and we are eating our morning meal in two parts -- grabbing that first cup of coffee at home and adding to it with something at the office."

Okay, so we've all been getting smacked with "breakfast is the most important meal of the day, blah blah" since we were in grade school, but that hasn't slowed down the steady stream of breakfast skippers, people who scarf cold Pop-Tarts on light rail, or the always popular Starbucks-and-Marlboro Lights repast. But chocolate for breakfast? Now my breakfast Snickers bar is apparently haute cuisine -- and from a gas station, no less. When nachos from 7-Eleven become the new eggs Benedict, I hope I'll be the first to know.

And while adding grindage from the office to augment one's morning cuppa joe is pretty common, depending on what kind of an office you work in, this trend may not be nutritious or helpful in any way. The last office where i spent time had a beer cooler (fully stocked, with deliveries every Friday) and occasionally some stale birthday cake in the break room.

Here are the rest of the Food Channel's wakey-wakey-eggs-and-steaky predictions:

1.Oatmeal in overdrive -- oatmeal is becoming a real mainstream staple. Umm...okay. It's true that a few chains have embraced oatmeal as a menu option for breakfast, but they have to dump a shload of toppings on it and/or sweeten it up to the point where many of the good-intentioned health benefits are lost under mountains of fruit and sugar. If that's what people want, why not save a few clams and just dump a couple of packets of the instant fruit and cream stuff into a coffee cup with hot water?

2.Chocolate for breakfast -- with its healthful benefits, chocolate is being promoted as a breakfast product. If slathering my hand with Nutella and washing it down with a tankard of Swiss Miss is a trend, then sign me up.

3.Fast foods battle over breakfast -- the breakfast has become the key battleground in the quick service restaurant category. Really? If Burger King and McDoo cashiers are going to take to the streets and sword-fight over who has the best bacon muffins, then I may start getting up earlier in the day.

4.Haute coffee comes home -- to save money, caffeine-seekers are opting to brew their own coffee at home. I know, right? Let's not harsh the Food Channel-ers for showing up to the java party late, but simply embrace the fact that they showed up at all. "Knock knock?" "Who's there?" "Food Channel fans who are just catching on to the fact that most people buy their junk coffee and brew it at home, otherwise Keurig wouldn't exist..."

5.Ethnic Invasion -- global influences start to creep into the morning meal. Oh, goody! I can't wait for restaurants to sprinkle garam masala on everything and jack up the prices.

6.Beverage choice choke -- breakfast drink menus keep expanding beyond coffee and O.J. Finally, there's hope of getting a shot of vodka in my a.m. tomato and/or orange juice!?!

7. Hot pizza in the a.m. -- pizza is predicted to be one of the hottest menu items for breakfast. No spluh...college kids have been on to this one since Domino's started delivering. Oh, wait...they said hot pizza. If a restaurant could produce a breakfast pizza that was not a frozen Sysco failure-pie, then I'll get interested.

8.Breakfast ingredients all day long -- breakfast ingredients work their way into other parts of the daily menu. Awesome possum. Pancake burgers, French toast fries and Froot Loop casserole? We already have the anytime breakfast fave here in Denver: the ubiquitous breakfast burrito. In France, people talk about how their daily baguettes were too crunchy, too chewy or just right; in Denver, people compare the ratio of meat/potatoes/egg and whether or not the chile was hot enough.

9.The Breakfast Two-Step -- a pattern of people fueling up with caffeine and protein in a two-stage process. Okay, this one took a minute for me to figure out because I hadn't had my stage one coffee yet. Here's how Foodchannel.com explained this: "We're starting to see a pattern of people getting their breakfast in two phases. It starts with the early morning hit of caffeine at home or Starbucks (or similar), with maybe some toast, a banana or small muffin. That's followed up later by Phase 2: a mid-morning break of yogurt, granola, fruit, or maybe a power bar... something to propel us forward till lunchtime. Call it the morning graze. Rather than getting weighed down by a big bountiful breakfast, we just top off our tank by fueling up with caffeine and protein in a two-stage process. It's becoming a common workday solution for those of us who keep our nose to the grindstone, and we see it continuing in the year ahead." I've been doing this for years (with one additional phase: antacids), and had no idea I was being trendy when I force-feed myself a yogurt around 11 a.m. to combat the effects of my phase 4-12 diet of liquor from the night before.

10. Eggs crack the top ten -- eggs to hatch a big comeback this year. Comeback from where? Did eggs ever leave? Even when eggs were bad for you, people were still sucking them down like jello shots. Now that they are good for you again, the only change I've noticed is that instead of two eggs, people order three or four. Eggs are delicious.

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