Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

English breakfast

Recommended Posts

how a nation continued to perpetuate its existence by contributing to the gene pool after consuming a breakfast with fried eggs, fried bacon, blood pudding, smoked kippers(does anyone else remember the smoked kipper episode in fawlty towers?) AND devilled kidneys is beyond me. apparently, its great after a particularly indulgent evening at the bar. this was demonstrated by a very puzzled french chef at school. the full english breakfast, that is..

i mention this to a friend of mine whom i assumed was english(apparently not. "i am SCOTTISH", he objected)...and i found out that there is such a thing as a 'full scottish' which includes haggis. *cough* then i get thumped on the back and he casually mentions..or just a "bowl of porridge with salt". pause. "splash of scotch, optional"

what do the english *really* have for breakfast?

Edited by Lalitha (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Growing up in a traditional middle class English family, breakfast was two-course. It might be bacon and fried egg or scrambled egg, or bacon and kidneys, or bacon and sausage, or bacon and tomatoes, or bacon/sausage and fried potatoes, or kippers, or poached smoked haddock, or porridge with sugar and cream. Never all. Followed by toast, butter and home-made marmalade.

The big buffet spreads were for the upper class, probably when there were lots of guests.

The beans on toast were post WWII and (dare I say it?) for breakfast probably one step down the social scale. Even though Heathrow and Gatwick both serve them. Yuk,


Rachel Caroline Laudan

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For me just a mug of coffee or the full thing, especially on a Sunday

(Eggs, Bacon, Sausage, Black Pudding, Tomato, Mushroom, Fried Potato, Fried bread Beans, then toast marmelade etc). Porridge or cereal, Fruit juice.

Occaisionally a croissant, or Kedgeree. Quite often leftovers from the night before, especially cold sausages, eaten while clearing up

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Cereal/toast with tea/coffee is fairly standard these days.

The full English spread is restricted to high days and holidays and is often available in hotels and also in the dreaded motorway service area - that's not a recommendation you understand :wink:


Edited by daw (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Cereal/toast with tea/coffee is fairly standard these days. 

The full English spread is restricted to high days and holidays and is often available in hotels and also in the dreaded motorway service area -

I would agree with this. Undoubtedly while there are some people who enjoy a 'fry up' every day, my guess would be that they are of a slightly older generation. 'Fry ups' on a daily basis simply aren't practical for a number of reasons:

1. Most working people don't have the time or inclination in the morning to cook themselves a massive breakfast

2. health consciousness - (yes, we do have it here) - dictates that a daily fry up is not so good if you plan on living past retirement age

3. Unless you are going to be walking the peaks of Derbyshire or attempting to overcome a hang-over, lining your stomach with such a large meal tends to be rather superfluous and uncomfortable so early in the morning (in my opinion at least...)

The whole thing about devilled kidneys (which I have never been served), black pudding and kippers is that you don't usually find them all on the same plate at the same time. Your average fry up generally features: eggs, 1 or 2 rashers of bacon, 1 or 2 sausages and possibly a selection of one or more of the following: grilled tomatoes, fried mushrooms, beans, fried bread.

There are also regional variations. I noticed while I was living in Yorkshire that black pudding did feature (as did white pudding...don't even get me started on that or I might be sick...). In Northern Ireland they have a slightly different version where the fried bread becomes fried soda farls.

Having said all of that, I think that you'll find the majority of us stick to one or more of the following: cereal, porridge, yogurt, fruit, toast, eggs, coffee or tea on any average morning.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mug of Tea and a fag, breakfast of champions :raz: !

Really enjoy a good fry up, but not at breakfast, later in the day.

My wife does a nice warm salad of bacon ,black pudding and poached egg, the salad leaves make you think its healthy than it is

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I envy anyone who can get good kippers. In the States all I can find are the wretched canned ones and some that are far too salty and stiff as shoe leather.

Edited by bobmac (log)

"Last week Uncle Vinnie came over from Sicily and we took him to the Olive Garden. The next day the family car exploded."

--Nick DePaolo

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I should add that there are at least two, if not three traditions.

Working people, blue collar and northerners eat a substantial breakfast early, start work at 8am (farmers earlier), break for half an hour |"breakfast"0 at 10am, lunch 12.30-1pm, stop work at 4pm, go home for 5pm High Tea and maybe a snack before bed at 10pm. Second breakfast at 10am is sacrosant, for example to the people doing building work on my house.

White collar workers, soft southerners and the like take a light breakfast at 8am, maybe have coffee at 11am, working lunch at 1pm, tea and biscuits at 4pm, at dinner at 7pm.

Those with leisure and country houses may breakfast well at 10, lunch at 2, and dine at 8

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I grew up in my grandfather's home, on a farm in western Kentucky. However my grandfather, born in 1875 and his mother, born in 1844, emigrated from England in 1919. Things were done the way my great grandmother wanted them done and that included a typical "country" breakfast. "Breakfast is the foundation of the day." was her motto.

There were few late sleepers in the family because the food was set out for a certain period of time and if one did not make it downstairs to the breakfast room before it was taken away, too bad.

This was a huge extended family and a lot of food was served because there were so many. If you were late, the sausages were usually gone. Only a few liked kippers, but except for during the war, my grandfather used to get regular shipments (in an odoriforus wood box) of real kippers from England. I remember that they had to be soaked for some time before cooking.

I did not get to have breakfast downstairs until I was about 6 and was considered old enough to behave myself in company.

I loved getting to look into the serving dishes ranged along the sideboard to see the differnt things I could choose. I wasn't allowed to serve myself because I tended to take more than I could eat, but it was fun to be able to pick. One of the grownups would serve us kids but we had to clean our plates, even if we chose something we found we didn't care for. Otherwise we got the standard lecture about the starving children in Europe....

There was a lot of food consumed but for some reason no one was ever overweight.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett


Link to comment
Share on other sites

thanks!...altho' wondering why a 'fry-up' is a particularly appealing cure for a hang over.

on another note....was doing some research on that breakfast haggis reference...found a book..actually...make it a booklet..on scottish fish and game recipes. fascinating. oatmeal makes a lot of appearances. especially in fish recipes.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Basildog is of course referring to a healthy option version of the full Blackpool breakfast: 20 cigarettes and a pot of tea. :laugh:

For the mainstream, the full English breakfast is definitely relegated to a holiday breakfast. That said, if you look near any bus garage, milk depot, postal sorting office or working market, you still find examples of those exceptionally good greasy spoon cafes serving full breakfasts for 3 or 4 pounds.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm a fan of the Full English Breakfast and dive in at least once a trip to the UK. But there is just one think I don't get. The beans. Even at a place reputed for its breakfast, like Simpsons-in-the-Strand, the beans appear to be straight out of a No. 10 sized institutional can with no effort taken to make them interesting.

Holly Moore

"I eat, therefore I am."



Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm a fan of the Full English Breakfast and dive in at least once a trip to the UK.  But there is just one think I don't get.  The beans.  Even at a place reputed for its breakfast, like Simpsons-in-the-Strand, the beans appear to be straight out of a No. 10 sized institutional can with no effort taken to make them interesting.

Yes, the beans. I've traveled the continent trying to avoid them, and wondering why they keep trying to serve Americans British-style breakfasts. Is it because we speak English? The tomatoes I can do, but those beans? And where are my potatoes? It's not breakfast without potatoes!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Full English arose out of necessity, to provide whatever energy was needed for the day's work - fields, mines, factories, whatever. Same rationale as the Americans' ' "lumberjack" or "cowboy" breakfast of more or less all of the above minus the beans and stewed tomatoes/saute'ed shrooms/black pudding - plus pancakes, French toast, etc. Who's been to I-Hop or similar - puts the Full English or Scottish (haggis 'n' all) to shame.

Sadly this girl had to give up her traditional New York breakfast - cold pizza out of the box or leftover Chinese food (en containeur). I'm almost -but not quite - over my withdrawal.

Edited by magnolia (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm a fan of the Full English Breakfast and dive in at least once a trip to the UK.  But there is just one think I don't get.  The beans.  Even at a place reputed for its breakfast, like Simpsons-in-the-Strand, the beans appear to be straight out of a No. 10 sized institutional can with no effort taken to make them interesting.

Anyway, aren't those beans AMerican!!?? Aren't they 'Heinz Boston Baked beans'?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Anyway, aren't those beans AMerican!!?? Aren't they 'Heinz Boston Baked beans'?

They do indeed appear to be American. Not our proudest export. And if that is the case why are Brits allowing them to muck up such a grand tradition as the Full English Breakfast?

Holly Moore

"I eat, therefore I am."



Link to comment
Share on other sites

They do indeed appear to be American.  Not our proudest export.  And if that is the case why are Brits allowing them to muck up such a grand tradition as the Full English Breakfast?

I'd *never* eat them under any other circumstances. But I have to say there's something perversely yummy about toast that has been sogged up with beans in molasses or whatever they swimming in. Plus there must be at least three food groups in there: protein, carbs and...molasses.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My wife favors the traditional English breakfast because of the view.

Let me explain...

During a visit to the south of England two years ago we stayed overnight at a lovely hotel in the New Forest (the Forest Park), complete with forest ponies hanging about by the front door.

The hotel featured a full English breakfast in a very pleasant dining room overlooking the gardens. From the dining room one could see a wing of the hotel, where the rooms included a small balcony. As we breakfasted, one guest in that wing greeted the new morn by strolling onto the balcony in his altogether -- until he noticed the presence of the occupied dining room with picture windows, and my wife enjoying the view.

Breakfast back home in Philadelphia has never been as eye-opening.

Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

Link to comment
Share on other sites

what the brits really eat?

toasted bacon sandwich

or sausage sandwich

just two bits of buttered toasted filled with sausage or bacon, maybe an egg, but no cheese

i love sausage rolls - buttered crusty roll with sausage and black pepper

fish for breakfast is delicious

kippers with a knob of butter and some fresh crusty bread, buttered of course

for me, a full breakfast is sausage, egg, bacon, tomatoes, black pudding, two fried slice, cup of a tea and some toast and jam/marmalade - visit any cafe and order it just like that and you'll have blended right in.

also a big favourite is bubble and squeek, has anybody mentioned this? bit like home fries but not as fried and has some kind of greens in it, no peppers though, best made with leftovers from sunday roast dinner

Edited by intraining (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I noticed that Leon, the new "fast" food place that a number of the critics have been championing, does a very yummy sounding bacon sandwich. I reckon a poll would suggest this is the modern day Brit's fave fat boy breakfast.

Suzi Edwards aka "Tarka"

"the only thing larger than her bum is her ego"

Blogito ergo sum

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As a teenager, engaging in the small-boat gillnet fishery in northern Newfoundland, breakfast was a half-dozen fishcakes, a large plateful of homemade baked beans, half a loaf of bread, and a large quantity of hot, sweet tea.

You needed to fuel up pretty well for 20 hours in a 25-foot boat.

“Who loves a garden, loves a greenhouse too.” - William Cowper, The Task, Book Three


"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Re beans: Does no one else remember the cover of "The Who Sell Out?" Of course they're just plain old Heinz Baked Beans. I love them at breakfast, with the bacon and eggs and grilled tomatoes.

The "Full English Breakfast" allowed a friend and me to actually stay in London for three weeks back in the day when "Europe on Five Dollars a Day" was feasible. We stayed at the Galpert Hotel on Tavistock Square, where the charming Galpert Bros. threw in the FEB . We chowed heartily in the morning, ate in a pub at lunch, and saved a Scotch Egg for dinner, along with a chocolate digestive. Five bucks a day.

Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel


A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites


Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Full English Breakfast - AKA the 10 Deadly Sins - as served at Simpsons-In-The-Strand. Note the Heinz-like beans. Also appearing in supporting roles: Cumberland sausage, fried egg, streaky and back bacon, black pudding, lamb's kidneys, fried bread, grilled tomato, bubble and squeak, and grilled mushrooms.


I assume the single egg is to limit cholesterol.

Holly Moore

"I eat, therefore I am."



Link to comment
Share on other sites


  • Similar Content

    • By liuzhou
      When my mother recently passed away, because we are a scattered family, one of my younger brothers had the great idea of setting up a private Facebook page for the immediate family to talk in – mainly about funeral arrangements but also just in general.
      One topic, which I inadvertently started, was about her cooking. It’s fair to say, and she would agree, that cooking was not her forte. She was able to feed us but it was never exciting. That’s me being respectful.
      So we were joking amongst ourselves about that when the subject of her two most ‘original’ recipes came up and we each tried to remember exactly what was in them. Here, to the best of our ability, is what we agreed on.
      Pasta Mish-Mash
      Pasta. This had to be Marshall’s macaroni, a Scottish speciality and the only pasta I ever ate until I was about 18 years-old, apart from tinned spaghetti, usually in the form of spaghetti hoops.

      Bacon. This would normally be unsmoked Ayrshire back bacon. Not American bacon!

      Onions. White onions. We didn’t know they came in other colours.
      Tomatoes. Scottish tomatoes are surprisingly good.
      Salt. Common iodised table salt. You know. Natural salt. None of your fancy sea flavoured salt nonsense!

      Pepper. Black pre-ground and stale.

      Boil pasta according to pack instructions. Or a bit longer if you get distracted. Drain.
      Cut bacon into pieces. Chop onion approximately finely. Chop tomatoes into eighths. Fry bacon and vegetables. When ready add drained pasta and mix. Apply seasoning if you remember. Even if you remember, under season.

      Polish Salad
      During WWII, around 17,000 Polish soldiers were stationed in Scotland, first temporarily in the border areas but later in east Scotland where my mother lived. (Her elder sister married one of them). Family lore has it (from my mother) that she learned this recipe from one or more of those soldiers.

      I’m fairly certain that there was little if anything Polish about it, but suppose its possible it was those soldiers’ attempt to recreate something from home without really knowing the recipe and having to use whatever they could find in the way of ingredients.

      If anyone here is Polish, of Polish descent or just knows more about Polish food than I do knows of any Polish dish that this could even vaguely resemble, I’d love to know. It was memorably distinctive - bright purple. I'm sure it glowed in the dark.


      Hard boiled eggs

      Pickled beetroot (store bought and pickled in malt vinegar)

      Heinz Tomato Ketchup

      Brown Sauce, preferably HP Sauce.

      Chop all the ingredients except the ketchup and brown sauce into small pieces and mix together.
      Mix ketchup and brown sauce in a 50:50 ratio, and fold into the other ingredients. If too dry, add a little of the beetroot pickling liquid.
      Father's 'recipe' coming up next.
    • By Ling
      I've already polished off half a box of Harvest Crunch Granola today. I haven't really eaten cereal in years, but these crunchy granola clusters are hard to resist.
      What's your favourite cereal, and what do you eat with it?
      (Big bowl, big spoon, and 2% milk for me.)
    • By Kasia
      I hate getting up in the morning. My household knows that before 8 o'clock I'm unbearable, and because almost every day I wake up much earlier, I tend to be unbearable more frequently than I want. Every extra five minutes of sleep is priceless, so I appreciate a good breakfast that is not too complicated and is quick to prepare.

      Recently, I have been preparing breakfast with groats and flakes. This time I chose cuscus. This product is a cross between pasta and groats, and it doesn't need long to prepare. It is enough to add hot water or milk and leave for a few minutes. I added some fresh pineapple, cranberries and banana. I spiced it up with some hot chili pepper .

      Ingredients (for 2 people)
      125g of cuscus
      400ml of almond milk
      1 tablespoon of honey
      1 teaspoon of vanilla essence
      2 slices of fresh pineapple
      1 teaspoon of minced chili pepper
      150g of fresh cranberries
      2 tablespoons of brown sugar
      1 banana
      4 tablespoons of flaked almonds

      Wash the cranberries and put them into a pot. Add two tablespoons of water and the brown sugar. Boil, stirring gently until the cranberries burst and the sauce has thickened. Boil the almond milk with the vanilla essence. Pour the milk onto the cuscus and leave for 5-7 minutes. Slice the banana and roast the almond flakes. Peel the pineapple and dice it. Mix the pineapple, chili pepper and honey. Add the pineapple to the cuscus and mix it in. Put the mixture into two bowls. Put the cranberries and banana on the top and sprinkle with the almond flakes.

      Enjoy your meal!

    • By Kasia
      Most of us take lunch boxes to the office. Some lucky people can warm their food up at work The rest have to eat sandwiches. Sandwiches are great, but even if we absolutely love them we could get fed up with them in the end. Regardless of where we work we can save the situation with salads. Every day we can prepare a different one and we have an entirely new lunch. If we also take an attractive dish, we have something that is not only tasty but also glamorous.

      I would like to share with you the recipe for a salad which looks equally as beautiful as it is yummy. The chickpeas and groats make it a satisfying and balanced meal, after which we won't be hungry. I think that if you prepare your lunch in the morning and plan to eat it at lunchtime, we should keep the salad and the dip separately. Otherwise, after a few hours in the jar, we have an unappetising dish with squishy lettuce, which isn't what we want, is it?

      Ingredients (for 2 people)
      1 beetroot
      200g of tinned chickpeas
      100g of bulgur
      1 carrot
      1 fresh green pepper
      4 lettuce leaves
      200g of natural yoghurt
      handful of minced chives
      1 small chili pepper
      salt and pepper

      Clean the beetroot and bake or boil it. Grate the beetroot and carrot. Cut the pepper into thin strips. Boil the bulgur in salty water. Arrange in layers in a jar the beetroot, chickpeas, pepper, bulgur, carrot and lettuce. Dice the chili pepper. Mix the natural yoghurt with the chives and chili pepper. Spice it up with salt and pepper. Add the dip to the salad just before serving.

    • By Lisa Shock
      I developed this recipe for a friend who wound up with many cans of Solo brand apricot filling and was wondering what to make with them. I adapted this recipe from Rose Levy Beranbaum's Sour Cream Coffee Cake, found on page 90 of the Cake Bible. The apricot filling works it way down through the cake and winds up near the bottom of the pan, making an attractive top later when the cake is inverted. Please use some sort of ring pan that holds at least 9 cups. You may substitute butter for the toasted almond oil, but remember that the oil adds flavor. I specifically developed this recipe with the home cook in mind, regular salted butter, and AP flour work well here. To reduce the sodium, use unsalted butter.  
      113 grams (1 stick) salted butter
      26 grams toasted almond oil
      200 grams sugar
      6 grams vanilla extract
      4 egg yolks
      160 grams regular sour cream (do not use low fat or fat free)
      50 grams almond meal
      175 grams all-purpose flour
      2 1/2 grams baking powder
      2 1/2 grams baking soda
      12 ounces (1 can) Solo Apricot Filling
      12 Servings
      Preheat the oven to 350°
      Spray a 9+ cup tube or Bundt pan with non-stick spray or grease with an oil & soy lecithin blend.
      Lightly toast the almond meal in a frying pan on the stove top until it has a light beige color and has a mild fragrance. Allow to cool.
      Cream together the butter, oil, and sugar. Add the vanilla and egg yolks, mix until the mixture is even and creamy. Add the sour cream and mix well. Add the cooled almond flour and mix well.
      Sift together the flour, baking powder and baking soda. Add the dry ingredients to the liquid mixture and mix until it everything is evenly incorporated. Do not overmix the batter.
      Place 2/3 of the batter evenly in the prepared pan. Place the apricot filling in an even layer on top, keeping a small space between the filling and the pan's edges. Place the remaining batter on top and smooth to create a relatively even surface.
      Bake for approximately 50 minutes at 350° or until the top is dark brown and springs back to a light touch.
      Allow to cool for 15 minutes. Invert the pan onto a serving plate. Cool and serve. Be cautious about serving this hot, as the apricot filling can cause serious burns. When fully cooled, cover or wrap in plastic wrap to store. Will keep for several days in a cool, dry place.
      Nutrition (thanks MasterCook!) 
      324 calories, 15g fat, (7g sat fat, 6g mono-unsat fat, 1g ploy-unsat fat), 5g protein, 43g carbohydrates, 175mg sodium, 101mg potassium,  58g calcium
      42% calories from fat, 52% calories from carbohydrates, 6% calories from protein
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Create New...