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. 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.
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 Westmister abbey, or along some remote road in the English countryside, there are always restaurants, pubs, cafes or even hotels ready to serve you.
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, are among the 5 ideal super protein foods, especially for those who play sports. Discover all the others in this video:
English Breakfast: The origins
The history of this breakfast has very deep roots and, to be exact, we must go back at least 800 years. Imagine finding yourself immersed in peasant England, when all the comforts of today did not exist and we 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 tea it was only introduced in the seventeenth century: before, it was the malt and hops drink that prevailed in the morning!
This meal was called 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 a 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 nobody!
The traditional recipe for English breakfast
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
- Grilled tomatoes
- 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
All this must be accompanied by a cup of steaming tea to which it would be better to add a few drops of milk.
The variants of the most famous breakfast
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 a few slices of smoked salmon or haggis (sheep’s entrails, only for the bravest!).
- Irish Breakfast: same food as the English breakfast, but with a different type of bread, soda bread, made with baking soda and not yeast.
- Welsh Breakfast: classic foods remain, but laver bread is added, obtained with boiled seaweed and fried oat flakes.
What does not change is the indispensable black tea cup.
English or American breakfast?
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 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.
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