A traditional full English breakfast is hearty and delicious. There will be slight variations depending on what part of England you’re in. Despite being high in cholesterol, an English fry up is thought to ease the effects of a hangover. It’s not surprising that it’s eaten mostly on Saturday and Sunday mornings.
Eggs, whether fried, scrambled or poached, are the most important part of a traditional English breakfast. Individual slices of bacon, called rashers, accompany the eggs. You can expect to be served sausages, kippers, fried potatoes, two halves of a grilled tomato and white or brown toast. If you ask for jam to go with the toast, expect to be offered strawberry, apricot or blackcurrant varieties. Marmite, a dark brown yeast based spread, is definitely an acquired taste but it’s still liked by many in England.
Fried bread, which is basically a slice of wheat bread cut into two diagonal pieces and fried in oil, has a tough consistency. Typically it’s cooked in the same pan as the other ingredients. A favourite addition would be a few slices of black pudding, or white pudding depending on where you are in the British Isles. It may not sound appetizing but the majority of Britons enjoy it. Black pudding is a type of sausage made by cooking pig or cattle blood with a filler until it’s thick enough to congeal when cooled. It’s quite good but extremely fattening.
Porridge or oatmeal might be eaten before the full fry up. A full breakfast is washed down with generous amounts of tea or coffee mixed with sugar and milk, or cream. English diners will ask for ketchup or brown sauce, called A1 steak sauce by North Americans, to go with their breakfasts. It adds a sweet and spicy flavour to almost everything that’s on the plate.
English breakfasts will vary according to the region of the country and personal tastes. North American breakfast foods such as waffles and/or pancakes with maple syrup are not seen as much on English menus. You might have to go to one of the bigger hotels to get these. Due to health concers that have arisen in recent years by eating excessive amounts of fried foods, health conscious Britons now eat a traditional breakfast just once or twice a week, usually on the weekend. Melons, grapefruits and fruit cocktails are available for those who think a traditional breakfast is too heavy.