- by Michael Rickard II
The English Breakfast: Off to the U.K. My 13-Days in England
Copyright (C) 2018 by Michael Rickard II
The English Breakfast in all its glory!
I’ve always been a firm believer of the big breakfast when you’re on vacation. Frankly, once you start sight-seeing, shopping, or whatever floats your boat on holiday, lunch often takes a back seat. Still, no one wants to be hungry and grumpy on vacation so why not start the day by loading up? When it comes to big breakfasts, it’s hard to think of anything as full as the English breakfast.
My host at the Air BnB told me about a little dive that served a fantastic English breakfast (aka a Fry-Up aka the Big Monty). I knew where she was talking about so I walked a couple blocks to a small café. London was going through a heat wave and it was already in the mid-70’s. Normally it wouldn’t be a big deal but I was quickly discovering that many places don’t have air conditioning.
According to the wonderful website maintained by the English Breakfast Society, this belly-busting meal dates back to the early 1300’s, popularized by the English gentry. However, it would be the Victorians who took things over the top, transforming it into an opulent feast and lavish display of one’s wealth and social status in the upper class. As the Victorian Age passed and the Edwardian Age took its place, the breakfast was no longer a meal only for the wealthy. Middle class families set their tables with, “bacon, eggs, sausage, black pudding, baked beans, grilled tomato, fried bread and toast, served with a jams, marmalades, tea/coffee and orange juice” (Bule). There are other items you can get such as kippers (cooked herring) and fried kidneys, but I passed.
A quaint diner for a great English breakfast
I checked the menu out and found an English breakfast. I was impressed. Toast, grilled tomatoes, mushrooms, sausage, bacon, ham, and eggs. I ordered orange juice and had my choice of coffee or tea, opting for the former. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but the coffee was excellent. The food was fantastic, so much that I told someone it was everything I had hoped for, and more. The English breakfast is not something to be wolfed down, but a meal to be enjoyed, preferably with a newspaper. While I didn’t have a paper, I polished off the breakfast.
I'd already polished off the toast by the time the main meal came out.
Lots of great specials but I wanted my English breakfast!
Day two saw the FULL English breakfast
However, I found out I hadn’t had the full English breakfast. I looked at the menu and noticed I’d ordered just the regular English breakfast. Not to be outdone I came back the next day (you weren’t expecting me to say I ordered another one that same day, did you?). When I did, I ordered the full English breakfast. This one came with baked beans. It was amazing how much the baked beans complemented the other foods and frankly, I couldn’t help but wonder why no one served them back home. Was it a fear of flatulence at the office? A remnant of the American Revolution where patriots said, “We don’t need beans for breakfast?” Whatever the reason, I’m adding beans to my breakfast (with the exception of when I have a bowl of Lucky Charms—that probably won’t add anything to the meal).
Discovered a wonderful English breakfast in Lincoln too! This one had hash browns.
I’m proud to say I met the English breakfast and conquered it. It did the trick for me as I didn’t need to eat for the rest of the day, although I did—after all, this was a working vacation. The English breakfast and I became fast friends and we shared many mornings together over the next two weeks.
Bule, Guise. “HISTORY OF THE TRADITIONAL ENGLISH BREAKFAST.” English
Breakfast Society. Research. https://www.englishbreakfastsociety.com/full-english-breakfast.html. Accessed 4 Aug. 2018.
Oland, Sydney. “Your Guide to a Full English Breakfast (Fry-Up).” Serious Eats. British Bites. https://www.seriouseats.com/2012/08/guide-to-a-fry-up-full-british-breakfast-what-is-in-ingredients.html. Accessed 4 Aug. 2018.
Wikipedia contributors. "Full breakfast." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 19 Jul. 2018. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Full_breakfast. Accessed. 4 Aug. 2018