It’s a happy coincidence the most important meal of the day is also the best. There’s a reason IHOP is international — the appeal of a good breakfast crosses all boundaries. And that’s the great thing about it. While it does come with some go-to standbys, sizzling in any hotel’s continental buffet — bacon, eggs, pancakes, bacon, did we say bacon? — breakfast is a meal that relishes a broken rule or two. From the accidental drizzle of maple syrup on the sausage patty to cereal and milk at midnight to the whole-hearted defiance of waking up to last night’s Chinese takeout (in bachelordom squalor, even that has its charms), the glory of breakfast is that anything goes. When we break the breakfast rules, and fire up the waffle iron after noon, we go all out: bourbon in the pancakes, bananas in the jam, peanut butter in a powder, bacon in everything. So as if you needed any more, here’s a crate full of reasons to get up in the morning.
Bourbon Pecan Pancake & Waffle Mix // Southern Culture Artisan Foods // Decatur, GA
It’s a shame that the best hangover helping brunch munchies can be the hardest to manage for not-so-bright-eyed risers. Perfect fluffy pancakes and crunchy, buttery waffles are the stuff of drunken dreams, as long as we’re not manning the griddle. This is the breakfast food we imagine waking up to someone else preparing, the sizzle of batter on pan luring us out of bed and bleary-eyed into the kitchen. So if your morning calls for a hair of the dog — and worry-free cooking — open a bag of this pre-sifted mix, add eggs and milk (that wasn’t so hard, was it?) and let the sweet and savory blend of bourbon-smoked sea salt and rich Georgia pecans set you straight.
Drunken Monkey Jam // The Jam Stand // Brooklyn, NY
Stranded on a desert island with nothing but a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich sounds like something out of a *New Yorker* cartoon — or it could be the inspiration behind Jam Stand’s tropical spread. Other jellies are syrupy slimes of chemicals and artificial sweeteners; Drunken Monkey is a boozy mix of rich brown sugar, real pectin, and the all-natural sweetness of bananas, lime, and a spirited dose of rum. Use it to top your morning pastry, make a PB&J that turns snack time into an oasis worth lingering at, or even spoon a dollop onto your after dinner — er, breakfast — ice cream dessert. Hell, on a desert island, who’s to judge?
Bacon Pickle // Unbound Pickling // Portland, OR
When in doubt, pickle it. That’s what the Portland couple behind Unbound learned, when facing down an overabundance of backyard garden beans. To which we’d add: when in further doubt, add bacon. Hence Unbound’s hickory smoked, dill-and-garlic-laced cucumbers. As with any pickle worth its brine, these salty, savory, sour snacks are unbeatable straight from the jar, of course. But added to a homemade egg salad, the side dish steals the show: roughly chop a half dozen hard-boiled eggs and mix them together with a few tablespoons of yogurt or mayo, a dash of parsley, a drizzle of olive oil, and a handful of diced pickles. Serve on rye, and watch even the vegetarians line up for a smoky bite.
Powdered Peanut Butter // Tru-Nut // Atlanta, GA
Peanut butter makes everything better, from chocolate to (trust us) even pickles. The only problem is, while peanut butter surely goes *with* everything, it doesn’t always easily go *in* everything, as any guy who’s cursed that unblended blob at the bottom of his smoothie knows. Pound your protein shake in peace, gym rats — Tru-Nut is here to help. Their PB is powdered, which means it blends almost instantly, letting you pack extra protein, nutrients, and peanutty flavor into anything from cake batter to morning shakes. We like ours with a frozen banana or two, almond milk, ice, and a scoop of jelly. Use it with abandon and, with less fat and less calories than regular peanut butter, feel good about it.
Borsellino Salami // La Quercia // Norwalk, IA
Italian salami from Iowa? We warned you about breaking rules. The secret’s in the name: The oak trees under which Parma pigs fatten up on acorns is also the official tree of the company’s founders’ home state. But when you use local, sustainable meat (fennel-spiked Duroc-Berkshire butt), do your work in an energy efficient factory, and hawk the finished product in biodegradable plant-based packaging, well, who cares where it’s made? Don’t sweat the provenance — focus on the pan at hand. For a perfect meaty sandwich spread, fry a few salami slices in olive oil until crisp, toss in a handful of mushrooms, turn down the heat and simmer, adding butter as needed. Spoon onto thick-as-an-oak-trunk toast, and top with a fried egg.
Cereal + Milk // Fatty Sundays // Brooklyn, NY
These Brooklyn sisters named their company in honor of the weekly day of family feasting, based around mom’s deliciously decadent baking. Days that often started early, ended late, and bristled throughout with mom’s special chocolate-dipped pretzels, an anytime indulgence, morning or night. The family recipe book now bursts with more than two dozen flavors, including our favorite, this breakfast-themed masterpiece of white chocolate and cinnamon corn flakes, meant to taste like the delicious dregs of morning cereal. Because slurping the milk from your plain old shredded wheat might be fine on a Monday morning, but Sunday is about fun.