Anyone who has gone to London or England at least once in their life has tried the famous English breakfast. One of the most popular morning meals in the world.
Sweet or savory breakfast? It is one of the most heated and discussed controversies everywhere, from lovers of taste to less experienced. In Italy we are used to the so-called continental breakfast which includes strictly sweet foods: coffee or cappuccino accompany bread or rusks with jam, yogurt with cereals or with fresh fruit, biscuits. And the inevitable croissant served smooth or stuffed with the most delicious creams. This breakfast is not only typical of Italy. But also of France, Spain, and all other Mediterranean countries.
In the northern states, however, savory foods are preferred, even during the first meal of the day. And the most famous breakfast in this sense is the English one: eggs, bacon, sausages, black pudding, beans, mushrooms, grilled tomatoes. And toasted bread reign sovereigns, creating an abundant and complete breakfast. Walking through the streets of London, perhaps near Big Ben and the famous Westminster Abbey. Or along some remote road in the English countryside, there are always restaurants, pubs, cafes or even hotels ready to serve you.
Do you know what story is hiding behind this all Anglo-Saxon tradition? And do you know the different variants? Here we will give you all the details of the breakfast par excellence. But let’s start to reveal that one of the main foods of the classic recipe, beans, is among the 5 ideal super protein foods, especially for those who play sports.
The history of this breakfast has very deep roots and, to be exact. We must go back at least 800 years. Imagine yourself immersed in peasant England when all the comforts of today did not exist and you ate only twice a day, once in the morning and the other in the evening.
The breakfast was, therefore, the most important meal as it had to provide energy for the entire time of hard work in the fields. Given this need, in the modest homes of the 1300s, a breakfast rich in salt was prepared, accompanied, yes, by beer. Indeed, the typical English teait was only introduced in the seventeenth century: before, it was the malt and hops drink that prevailed in the morning!
This meal was called a wedding breakfast since weddings were always celebrated before 12: therefore, breakfast was the first “snack” that the spouses ate together. Only later, in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Breakfast took on value not only from a nutritional point of view but also at a convivial level , becoming the right opportunity to invite several guests to their home and show off laid tables, precious services in silver or porcelain decorated with the typical patterns of English tea sets.
However, those who could not afford this pomp did not feel excluded from the “ritual” of the morning, because the foods of the English Breakfast remained the same. Both for the nobles and the bourgeoisie and for the working class: eggs and bacon were not denied just to anybody!
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Today, in England, the English Breakfast is considered a real institution. Although, for reasons of time and convenience, it is consumed only on weekends.
Among the various existing recipes, the traditional one, also called Full English Breakfast, includes:
Eggs: normally scrambled or bull’s eye
Bacon: 2 or 3 slices of the classic toasted bacon cannot be missing
Sausages: they can be pork but in some cases also chicken or turkey
Black budding: the typical black pudding, a sausage made from pork and spices
Beans: stewed, with a little tomato sauce
Toasted bread: at least 2 or 3 slices, ready to butter
Everything must be accompanied by a cup of steaming tea to which it would be better to add a few drops of milk.
You can enjoy this breakfast not only in some London cafes or in the small villages of England. But throughout the United Kingdom, where it has undergone some changes. Among the most famous, there are:
Scottish Breakfast: scrambled eggs are inevitable, but they are accompanied by potatoes. And some slices of smoked salmon or haggis (sheep’s entrails, only for the bravest!).
Irish Breakfast: the same food as the English breakfast. But with a different type of bread, soda bread, based on baking soda and not yeast.
Welsh Breakfast: the classic foods remain, but the laverbread, obtained with boiled seaweed and fried oat flakes, is added.
What does not change is the indispensable black teacup.
Very often there is confusion between the English and American breakfast. But there are obvious differences between the two. As mentioned, for the one consumed in England, the foods provided are salty: there is no trace of sugar or sweet food. And perhaps this is why, in Italy, many people are skeptical to try it. The American breakfast, on the other hand, combines the two flavors, resulting in a middle ground between the continental one. And the English Breakfast: one of the most popular recipes admits eggs, cold cuts, bacon and cheeses on the table together with pancakes with maple syrup. Or muffins. English tea is replaced by a glass of orange juice and a large cup of American coffee.