Mysteries of English breakfast- The New Indian Express


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HYDERABAD: The popular English proverb says “Breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, dinner like a pauper”. No wonder a traditional English breakfast served in the UK and Ireland is a ‘cooked’ meal containing eggs, bacon, sausage, baked beans, grilled tomatoes, sautéed mushrooms, potato pie, black pudding, toast, butter/ Jam/marmalade, with fresh juice from seasonal fruits at the beginning and tea or coffee afterwards. Considered more of a ‘dish’ than a meal, this wholesome meal is so popular that most cafe and pub menus in the UK refer to it as an ‘all day breakfast’ and serve it all day.

I have been fortunate to travel to the UK a number of times and during my travels I have traveled through England, Scotland and Ireland. I have therefore tried the English, Scottish and Irish variations of the English breakfast, which is commonly, or more colloquially, referred to as a ‘Fry Up’ as almost everything that is 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 rasher is back bacon, cut from the loin or back of the pig, and the sausages of choice are Cumberland or Lincolnshire sausages. While both types of sausage use coarsely ground pork rather than minced; The long, curved Cumberland sausage (traditionally sold as a long, round roll), with its strong pepper flavor, comes from Cumbria, the former county of Cumberland, and the distinctive, plump Lincolnshire sausage, with sage as the predominant herb, comes from the English county of Lincolnshire.

A typical Irish breakfast includes black pudding and/or white pudding in addition to the usual dishes. Contrary to the name “pudding”, which is ideally a dessert, black pudding is a distinct type of black pudding made with pork/beef blood, pork fat/beef tallow, rolled oats or barley, herbs and spices. The White Pudding is similar but does not contain blood. Both require an acquired taste. I enjoy both.

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In Scotland one can’t go wrong with signature Scottish additions, including the rich, flavorful, crumbly Stornoway black pudding, which was originally produced exclusively on the Isle of Lewis and has therefore been awarded a Protected Geographical Origin Indicator (PGI). The other additions are the traditional square Lorne sausage, hand-rolled round Ayrshire bacon, and potato or tattie scones. It is not uncommon to find haggis, the national dish of Scotland, on a breakfast buffet. Like black pudding, haggis requires an acquired taste. It is usually made from sheep’s liver, hearts and lungs chopped along with beef or lamb tallow, mixed with rolled oats, packed in sheep’s stomachs and cooked. Cayenne pepper, onion and spices added for flavor give it a powerful flavor.

A visit to the sandy beaches and moorland of Cornwall County on the rugged south-west tip of England ensures that the Cornish Potato Cakes, made from a mixture of mashed potatoes, flour and butter, which are then fried or baked, are part of the whole English breakfast.

It goes without saying that a full English breakfast is one of the most popular and internationally recognized British dishes. It bears witness to the ancient Anglo-Saxon tradition of hospitality and has been a strong contender as the national dish since the 13th century.

As for me, I find that a full English meal is a great way to start the day. It’s delicious and nutritious, and most importantly, it can get me through most of the day. Beluga and Sobremesa are two of my favorite places in town, closest to what you would find in England, for a proper English breakfast.

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