The Origins of 5 Traditional English Meals – 1 – The Full English Breakfast

Full English Breakfast Origins

The traditional English breakfast or the ‘fry-up’ is considered by many as a ‘national institution’ – as important as The Queen and Tea!

What is it?

The normal English breakfast includes fried eggs, sausages, bacon, tomatoes, mushrooms, baked beans, fried bread with black pudding. As with most meals, we have it with tea and sometimes some buttered toast. Occasionally you will find hash browns (from America) and chips.

Doesn’t sound very healthy does it?

What are the origins of the Full English breakfast?

Well, we first started eating the English breakfast a long time ago, in the Middle ages, when we only ate two meals a day (breakfast and dinner).

At this time, rich people often celebrated important events with a large breakfast – this is why we often call the first meal between a new bride and groom a ‘wedding breakfast’.

Throughout the Victorian era, a big English breakfast was important to the working classes as they often had to work in factories which meant a lot of physical labour. This is why the food was high in carbohydrates, proteins and fats. It provided the workers with a full stomach and the energy for the day.

In the early 1950’s, about 50% of the British population were eating a traditional English breakfast! What was once a meal for the wealthy, was now being eaten by everyone!

Where can I eat it?

Today, the full English breakfast is possibly not as popular because it is seen as unhealthy, which is why a lot of people now grill the breakfast instead of frying it. You can eat it at cafe’s, pubs and some restaurants. If you want to try it, try to find a cafe or restaurant that serves ingredients from local farms – it is better quality and you are helping the local economy.

When should I eat it?

Excellent question! Traditionally it was eaten at breakfast, but if you ask any English person, they may also tell you that they sometimes eat a traditional English breakfast for lunch or even dinner!

We would recommend trying it at least once (maybe not everyday) when you visit the UK!

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