Mysteries of English breakfast

I have been fortunate to travel to the United Kingdom a number of times and during my trips I have travelled across England, Scotland and Ireland.

Published: 24th September 2022 01:28 AM  |   Last Updated: 24th September 2022 01:28 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

HYDERABAD: The popular English adage says “Breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, dinner like a pauper”. No wonder that a traditional English breakfast that is served in the United Kingdom and Ireland, is a ‘cooked’ meal which includes eggs, bacon, sausages, baked beans, grilled tomatoes, sautéed mushrooms, potato cakes, black pudding, toast, butter/jam/marmalade, with fresh juice of seasonal fruits to start with and tea or coffee to follow. This wholesome meal is considered as a ‘dish’ rather than a meal and it is so popular that the menu of most cafés and pubs in Great Britain include it as “all-day breakfast” and serve it throughout the day.

I have been fortunate to travel to the United Kingdom a number of times and during my trips I have travelled across England, Scotland and Ireland. I have therefore, tasted the English, Scottish and Irish variations of English breakfast, which is commonly or rather colloquially known as a ‘fry up’, as almost everything served on the plate is fried.

Buttered toast along with jam and marmalade is served with fried, poached or scrambled eggs. Tomatoes are either fried or grilled mushrooms are sautéed. The usually preferred bacon rasher is back bacon which is cut from the loin or back of the pig and the sausages of choice are the Cumberland sausages or the Lincolnshire sausages. While both varieties of sausages use coarsely ground rather than minced pork; the long, curved Cumberland sausage (traditionally sold as a long, circular coil) with its strong peppery flavour, comes from Cumbria, formerly the county of Cumberland and the distinctive, chubby Lincolnshire sausage with sage as the predominant herb, comes from the English county of Lincolnshire.

Apart from the usual items, a typical Irish breakfast also includes black pudding and/or white pudding. Contrary to the name  ‘pudding’ which ideally is a dessert, black pudding is a distinct type of blood sausage made from pork/beef blood, pork fat/beef suet, oatmeal or barley, herbs and spices. The white pudding is similar, but does not include blood. They both call for an acquired taste. I relish both.

While in Scotland, one cannot miss the distinctively Scottish additions comprising the rich, well-seasoned, crumbly Stornoway black pudding, originally made exclusively on the Isle of Lewis, and has therefore been granted Protected Geographical Indicator of Origin (PGI). The other additions are the traditional square-shaped Lorne sausage, the hand-rolled, round Ayrshire bacon rashers and potato or tattie scones. It is not unusual to find Haggis, the national dish of Scotland on a breakfast buffet. Like black pudding, haggis too calls for an acquired taste. It is usually made with sheep liver, heart, lungs minced along with beef or lamb suet, mixed with oatmeal, packed into sheep stomach and boiled. Cayenne pepper, onion and spices added for flavouring give it a robust flavour.

A visit to the sandy beaches and moorland of Cornwall County located on the rugged southwestern tip of England will ensure that the Cornish potato cakes made with a mixture of mashed potatoes, flour and butter which is then fried or baked, is a part of the full English breakfast.

It goes without saying that full English breakfast is one of the most popular and internationally acclaimed British dishes. It stands testimony to the old Anglo-Saxon tradition of hospitality and has been a strong contender as the national dish right from the 13th Century.

As far as I am concerned, I am of the opinion that a full English meal is an ideal way to start a day. It is delicious and nutritious, and most importantly, it can see me through the major part of the day. Beluga and Sobremesa are two of my favourite places in the city that come as close to the ones from England to relish a proper English breakfast.



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