The traditional full English breakfast is considered to be a national feature. If you travel around the world, you may find this kind of dish in most countries. For example, if you go on a vacation to Spain or any other Mediterranean resort, you will surely find full English breakfast in restaurants’ menus.
And this phenomenon does have reasons for existing. So-called ‘fry-up’ includes everything our body needs to start another active day. It consists of sausages, fried eggs, back bacon, mushrooms, tomatoes, fried bread and usually a slice of white or black pudding. Tea or coffee with buttered toast goes as the dessert. Nowadays English breakfast may also have baked beans and hash browns.
This is the regular variant, but there’re much more of them depending on the region and tastes of any actual person. For instance, Irish soda bread is a nice adding to the Ulster Fry; in the Scottish breakfast you can also find a tattie scone (potato scone), and sometimes a slice of haggis; the Welsh one can offer you laverbread (barra lawr, a bread made from seaweed); the Cornish breakfast nurtures you with special Cornish hogs pudding, which is like a sausage.
Breakfast Brief History
A breakfast became a sort of tradition in the Middle Ages. There were only two meals a day back then: breakfast and dinner. The first one was served mid or late morning and mostly consisted of bread and ale, sometimes with some cold meat or cheese.
As for the nobility and gentry, they served rich breakfast as a part of ceremonial occasions, like a wedding. A wedding mass always took place before noon, so the first meal for a new bride and groom had to be the breakfast. This meal even gained the name of a special ‘wedding breakfast’.
The importance of breakfast established in Georgian and Victorian epochs. It was a part of a shooting party, weekend house party, hunt or any other entertainment. The gentry adored lavish feasts.
Breakfast was a time to wake the mind up, it was always unhurried sort of leisure, usually served in silver or glass in order to impress guests and please them. Sometimes the table could groan from all the food offered. There always were newspapers for host and for guests to catch up with actual day’s news and find additional topics for discussion. Actually, the tradition of reading newspapers lasts until now, but it’s a taboo for any other meal.
A base of English breakfast since 18th century consists from eggs and bacon, but other dishes, like kidneys, cold meats (tongue, for example) and fish dishes (like kippers or kedgeree) could be served. Sometimes the breakfast table could offer some half-exotic dish, like spiced dish from colonial Indi, which consisted of rice, smoked fish and boiled eggs.
A wealthy middle class appeared in the Victorian era, people tried hard to copy the gentry’s lifestyle, which, of course, included the full English breakfast. But there was one difference: middle class had to work, so the breakfast was before 9 am and probably not as unhurried.
It may be a surprise, but English fry-up was also an important part of many of the working classes lives. The reason was a hard work that those people had to do every day. With this kind of a lifestyle, a nourishing breakfast was more than necessary. This tradition was constant up to the late 1950s.
Nowadays some people find English breakfast unhealthy because of a number of fries, but some scientists say that it boosts metabolism nicely and make our organism work, and if you can’t eat fried, you can change it with grilled food. Most will agree that it’s really tasty!
The full English breakfast is still pretty popular, and it’s not only because of its’ taste but also because it was kept as a tradition for centuries, people of different classes enjoyed that and it helped them to feel good during the day. It is served everywhere: in luxury hotels, country inns, guest houses, cafes and restaurants. At some places, you can find an ‘all day breakfast’, which can be ordered all the day long.