Book Friendly Breakfast

“You know you’re a book lover when your choice of breakfast foods is determined by the ability to eat with one hand while holding the book with the other.” – Jen Eaton, Math Teacher, Book Reader, Uber-Awesome-Nerd.

One of the great dilemmas in life, especially as a single person, is how to balance reading while eating.

The delicate art of book placement, food choice, and ability to turn the page are all essential factors to consider.

1. Book placement

You should place the book at a comfortable distance from your eyes.  This depends on your vision and vision correction equipment.  Most people place their book opposite themselves and on the other side of their plate.  This both diminishes the risk of crumbs or liquids falling on the book, while also allows the plate to be a page holder and hold the book open.

Others prefer to keep the book in their hand and hold it closer to their face.  While this is more necessary with paperbacks, and their lack of a sturdy spine, it creates more limitations on potential breakfast items.


2. Food Choice

There are many multi-cultural options for breakfast in this day and age of the Food Network and other reality shows introducing diverse cuisine.  Here are a few questions while considering your breakfast options:

  • Does it fit on a single or plate? 
    • If it fits on multiple plates, this is an ambitious meal and may be better served for catching up on television.
  • Does it go in a bowl?
    • As long as you have a reasonably high table to rest your bowl on, anything in a bowl is likely to be a book-friendly item.
  • How many utensils does it require?
    • Just a spoon?  Very book friendly.  A fork and knife?  Maybe you should reconsider.  Although, you could always cut up your food before beginning your meal.
  • How long does it take to chew?
    • Chewing time and breaks between bites are your ideal moments to read.  A lingering bite pattern will extend the “I’m still eating breakfast” excuse.  There are advantages to being a slow eater.
  • How messy is the item?
    • For example, if given the choice of a sprinkle donut and a powder donut, go with the sprinkle.  The powder is difficult to shake off the book, whereas the sprinkles are easy to remove and may leave a decorative smudge.

3. Ability To Turn The Page

This is essential to the entire book-reading set-up.  While you may only be using a spoon, you may not be able to put it down once you finish a page.  Also, if your fingers are covered in powdered sugar, syrup, or jelly, you will leave smudges on the precious book, or the pages will stick to your fingers.

With the combination of appropriate book placement and a smartly chosen breakfast item, one can easily breeze through the pages.  However, if one thing is imbalanced, you may not reach the end of the chapter.

A Helpful Guide

Here are some of my favorite breakfast foods rated by book-friendliness.  (1 = a sloupy mess which is incredibly unfriendly, 10 = I could read the entire Lord of the Rings Trilogy just while eating this)

  • Pancakes – 7 – As mentioned before, you can always cut your food up at the beginning of the meal, thus eliminating the need for two utensils.  A free hand is essential to enjoying your book.  However, pancakes and their toppings can be quite messy.

  • Waffles – 5 – Waffles are meant to be savored and enjoyed, and also tend to be slightly messier than pancakes.  The reader can be so distracted by crunchy goodness, they won’t be able to pay attention to their book.


  • Sausage, eggs, and hash browns – 6 – This is a rich breakfast, which can go simply, but often requires the use of the knife to push food onto the fork.  Reading time is possible, but diminished.

  • Toast – 8 – Toast is a one-handed food, and appears deceptively simple.  However, due to its crumbliness and potential for jelly on the fingers, it is lowered a couple notches.

Toaster And Slices Of Bread

  • Fruit and yogurt – 7 – a healthy breakfast.  While yogurt is easy to eat while reading, the fruit is the real challenge depending on juiciness.  Apple slices are easier to work with than a ripe, juicy orange.

  • Cereal – 9 – Easy to make, which adds to potential reading time, and easy to eat.  All you need is a spoon, a bowl, and a table.
Rice Cereal Rings

I am drowning in a sea of cereal.

  • Burrito – 10 – My brother’s philosophy in life is that any food will be better in burrito format.  Part of this is because a burrito is a compact, fully portable, one-handed eating device.  Larger burritos may require two hands, but, if done right, everything is contained within the tortilla.  Very little mess, and your hands are easily free to turn the page.

  • Chicken and Waffles – 0 – Delicious, if done right.  However, your fingers will be covered in grease from your nice, fried chicken, and your plate will be covered in delicious syrup for your waffle.  Put away that book and just enjoy your meal.

Crispy Fried ChickenA Waffle

What are your favorite reading friendly foods?  What is your prime reading position while eating?  What books go best with which breakfast?  Who is hungry and wants to go get waffles, right now?

11 thoughts on “Book Friendly Breakfast

  1. Um, yeah, thanks a lot. Now I’m craving waffles. It’s a good thing I haven’t perfected that teleportation machine, or I’d be on your doorstep demanding we head out for waffles. 😉

  2. Major hazard when eating cereal: small splashes leave behind little dots of milk, possibly with a shred of cereal in it.

    And do we need even tougher rules for e-books?

    • E-book rules depend on the device. They do make bags for I-pads which you can use the touchscreen through while cooking. I don’t mind using my tablet while eating. I just set it away from my plate and wipe off the screen afterwards. So, I think the rules actually lower for e-books.

  3. I find I’m more careful with library books; I can never bring myself to touch them when I’m eating a messy finger food, for fear I’ll leave smudges. If it were just a paperback of my own, I think I’d be less cautious. I read while eating constantly. My favorite is bringing a hardback to Panera–the book sits flat open on the table while I enjoy my salad and no one looks at me oddly for reading/eating alone!

  4. I love the simple fact that you wrote a blog post about this! And that it is so incredibly accurate. 🙂 I can’t say that I have a favorite food, but I have certainly spent my fair share of time eating and reading.

  5. My grandmother gave me a little book stand. Its precise purpose is to make it easier to eat and read at the same time. It works pretty well unless the book is too big for it.

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