By Carole

Photograph of French breakfast

Have you ever ordered a “cafe au lait” at a cafe here in the U.S.? Have you ever bought a “baguette” at a bakery or grocery store?  These are the two most important ingredients of a traditional French breakfast (well, at least when I was in France in the 1970s and 1980s).

Coffee is traditionally served in a huge cup (more like a bowl!) and milk and sugar are added to make a lovely brown liquid….so, cafe au lait (coffee with milk).

The baguette (special long, crusty loaf of bread) is cut into pieces, sliced open (like a hamburger bun here) and then butter and/or jam is spread on the length of the baguette. Then the baguette is usually dipped (or “dunked”) into the coffee and eaten.

Children often drink milk with chocolate syrup with their bread.

It’s fast, easy and delicious!


The dictionary says that a continental breakfast is a light breakfast, typically consisting of coffee and rolls with butter and jam.  Fruit and other baked goods could be included.

The British first used the term “continental breakfast” in the mid-19th century.  To them, it meant the kind of breakfast you would find in France and the Mediterranean.  It was a lighter breakfast, compared to the more traditional British breakfast with eggs, bacon, sausage, toast, beans, tomatoes, etc. (

Many American motels and hotels started including a continental breakfast as part of the room fee.  They are easy to prepare and serve.  Usually offered are bagels, toast, condiments, pastries, fruit, juice, cereals, beverages and perhaps eggs and meat, all served buffet style (

So, the next time you are looking for a motel or hotel to stay in the U.S., check to see if it includes a continental breakfast.  Then you can try it and decide whether or not you like that kind of breakfast!