Breakfast To Go, Illinois, 2003


I found my favorite breakfast in America in 2003, while I was attending a small liberal art boarding college, located deep into a little town near Mississippi river. It was during my very first year I spent in U.S. as a grown-up (I’m saying this because I spent two years in U.S. in my infancy when my family was living in Ohio, which of course I don’t remember).

As much as I loved the life on campus – surrounded by nature, very supportive and safe environment, lifelong friends and great teachers – I was also struggling to adjust to a completely new life and culture, far, far away from my beloved families and friends who I left behind in S.Korea. The little town and the small campus had absolutely no Korean around, and I was very often homesick from not being able to speak my mother tongue. Though my friends and classmates were more than wonderful, having to have a conversation in English all the time drained my energy sometimes and I just wanted to be alone. Being alone wasn’t easy though in a small and intimate setting of a boarding school campus where everyone knew everyone. (This must have been an ideal setting though for a first timer in US, I later realized. It is horrifying to imagine coming to NY as a first timer, where people are too busy and quite indifferent in others.)

Then there was this Thursday morning breakfast when everything came together perfectly for the relaxation of my body and soul. I had one hour class from 9am. My roommate had three hour class and was gone for the entire morning. (Come to think of it, I was a horrible, awkward roommate, especially for the first semester.) And the school cafeteria, where most of students came for three meals a day, or two, if you skip one, served my favorite breakfast every Thursday! Their breakfast menu was on a weekly routine, and I couldn’t have loved this Thursday breakfast more. It was buttery biscuits with sausage gravy on top. Mmm…so yum! I actually didn’t miss Korean food that much during my first year in US, and adjusted quite well to American food (which I’m not so sure if it was a good thing or a bad thing). But that biscuit with sausage gravy was especially so good and even now it makes my mouth water. I often skipped breakfast, but on Thursdays, as soon as the morning class was over, I would run to the cafeteria, being very impatient, got the biscuit with sausage gravy on top to go, came back to a quiet empty room, and slowly indulged in eating the delicious, peaceful breakfast all by myself.

I’m not sure if I will still like the food now if I have that again (oh, I will like it!!) – but in any case, back then, it was the most perfect comfort food for a tired and lonely foreign student who sought the peace of mind and body.




Author: Aram Kim

Children's book author/illustrator and designer. Debut picture book Cat on the Bus (2016, Holiday House); Second picture book No Kimchi for Me! (2017, Holiday House). This blog is for a record of memories through simple illustrations and memos, mostly on food.

25 thoughts on “Breakfast To Go, Illinois, 2003”

  1. Breakfast to go Illinois. I loved reading your short and simple post… Because it bought flashback of my past life. No matter we live in which country or city in the world,the journey is almost same for many of us who are new to the city & are struggling students but are the ones who learn a lot turning strong and enjoy the student life 🙂
    Happy Breakfasting 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yum, biscuits and gravy. I imagine it would be a challenge to live in another language with no option to speak your own. And the food – that would seem as big a loss. I’m still looking for a place for korean short-ribs in my vicinity. Blessings to you, Debra

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow! Your illustrations are amazing, I absolutely love your technique!
    I now what you mean when you are talking about how much you felt drained by talking all day long in a language that wasn’t your native one.
    I like the little magic things you were finding in your life to feel good, watching the bright side. Your illustration is relaxed and balanced as your story, a great mix of image and words, thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi! We love your blog, it’s beautifully illustrated and one of the most interesting to read that we’ve seen in a while! We’ve been recently nominated for the Liebster Award, and we were sure you deserved to be nominated back! If you want you can find more info about it here:

    Thanks and congrats for your amazing works! Cheers!


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