I was asked by one of my fellow bloggers to do a post on the ‘Full English Breakfast’. The reason for this idea was because she’d written a post about the American ‘Corn Dog’ and I had no idea what it was, and vice versa. But I’m becoming more aware now, of the foodstuffs in the land over the pond.
Well, the ‘Full English Breakfast’ or ‘Fry-up’, as many of us call it, is one of the most well-known meals associated with Britain. There are many variations up and down the country, but the English version, which I know more about, is eaten quite regularly here. Many restaurants and pubs sell this and call it the ‘All day breakfast’ because it’s that popular. To be honest, the majority of people I know would probably have a full English once a week, usually at the weekend as a treat, on holiday or staying in a hotel, where it is always featured. It’s not healthy at all, and if you ate them every day you would end up in A & E with clogged arteries in next to no time I imagine.
I have found to get the true authentic one, it’s a good idea to visit a ‘greasy spoon’. (A cheaply priced café, where they serve basic food stuffs). These places have no qualms about serving you a massive breakfast, and will fry the items with slabs of lard and then soak your fried bread in it. Truly exquisite, I must say.
In the town where I live, there was, up to 6 months ago, one of these cafes. It was called ‘Crustys’ and you could purchase a small breakfast with toast and a cup of tea for about £3.50, which is a bargain. It was truly lovely, and it was very popular with the local market traders. Sadly it is now closed, and I have no idea why.
Anyway, the typical ‘Full English’ consists of:
Bacon…A good quality one. Usually back bacon is used. Cooked until soft and rarely over done. Streaky bacon is pointless , unless you go abroad.
Eggs… Fried or scrambled, and sometimes poached. A good fried egg has a runny yolk to dip your toast in.
Sausage… If the establishment gives you two sausages then it’s a winner. A good quality ‘banger’ is important. A chipolata or similar is not allowed.
Beans… Baked beans, and a good brand is Heinz or Crosse & Blackwell. Watery beans are a no-no.
Tomatoes… Fried or tinned. I like both and depending on where you are determines what you’ll get.
Toast or Fried bread… Usually you’ll be given a slice of bread buttered and toasted or you’ll have a piece of fried bread, which is very nice indeed.
Mushrooms… Very important.
Black pudding… Now this apparently is quite common , yet everywhere I’ve ever been for a full English it’s not featured or you have to ask for it. Which is fine because it’s made with pig’s blood, fat, oatmeal and herbs . Yes dried pigs blood. Many people love this and I just cannot bring myself to eat it.
So this is the ‘Full English’ as I know it. I was reading up about the history of it the other day and it was in the Victorian age where this breakfast was served for the first time.It was mentioned in ‘Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management’, a Victorian guide on the best way to live and treat servants in the 1860’s. It’s an eye-opening read!!
It was served by the upper classes to show their guests how affluent they were, and to show off their wealth, so nothings changed there really. And black pudding, was first mentioned as a food stuff in 1450, and that’s old.
This meal once in a while is really nice to eat and looks and smells so lovely on a plate, however there are some ways in which the fry up is advertised that just makes me cringe.
Finally, I’d love to know what is commonly eaten for breakfast in your country. Comments appreciated x
PS…I have read that our American friends find eating beans for breakfast odd. Is this correct?