1. The ‘Full English’ originated in roughly 1840.
2. However, the menu wasn’t fixed.
It could include: “baked halibut steaks, fried whiting, stewed figs, pheasant legs, collared tongue, kidneys on toast, sausages with fried bread, pig’s cheek and Melton pork pie”.
3. Isabella Beeton lays out the following breakfast advice in The Book of Household Management (1861)
“The following list of hot dishes may perhaps assist our readers in knowing what to provide for the comfortable meal called breakfast. Broiled fish, such as mackerel, whiting, herrings, dried haddocks, &c.; mutton chops and rump-steaks, broiled sheep’s kidneys, kidneys à la maître d’hôtel, sausages, plain rashers of bacon, bacon and poached eggs, ham and poached eggs, omelets, plain boiled eggs, oeufs-au-plat, poached eggs on toast, muffins, toast, marmalade, butter, &c. &c.”
4. Cooked breakfast fell out of fashion during WW2, due to the scarcity of bacon and eggs.
5. After the war, a cooked breakfast returned, but was mainly saved for the weekend.
This was due to more people doing sedentary jobs.
6. For example, in 1948, twice as many people had eggs for breakfast on Sunday as in the middle of the week.
7. The notion of a large breakfast prevailed into the 1950s.
In 1952, the culinary historian Arnold Palmer wrote that “about eggs and bacon for breakfast there still lingers, for many honest men, something of the sanctity of the Union Jack and Stratford-Upon-Avon.”
8. In 1956, half of all adults and teenagers had a cooked breakfast in the morning- even if it was just a boiled egg
9. By 1976, only 20% had a cooked breakfast.
10. Generally, a Full English includes: bacon, poached or fried eggs, tomatoes, mushrooms, fried bread or toast with butter, sausages and baked beans.
But it can also include: Bubble and squeak, black pudding, potato cakes and hash browns.
11. A Cornish variant includes hog’s pudding and Cornish potato cakes or fried potatoes.
12. An Ulster version includes potato bread and soda farls.
13. The Welsh variant includes laverbread, eaten fried with bacon and cockles.
14. In the North Midlands, oatcakes sometimes replace fried bread.
15. A Scottish version includes tattie scones and Lorne sausage.
16. A typical Full English has approximately 1190 calories.
18. The meal has inspired tattoos.
21. And a society - The English Breakfast Society was founded in 2012.
In order to “restore the traditional English breakfast to its former glory and encourage the spread of establishments serving a high quality traditional English breakfast throughout the land”.
22. Naturally, there’s a nuanced etiquette to dividing up the plate.
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