the british breakfast

Aka “the full English” aka “a fry-up.”

Or as I like to call it: “the worst idea in history.”

It is rare the person not familiar with a classic British breakfast. Maybe you’ve traveled to the UK, or you’ve seen it in the morning at a hotel or resort somewhere tropical that happens to also cater to British tourists.

In case you are totally unfamiliar, here is the basic rundown: eggs, bacon, sausage, black pudding, a cooked tomato, baked beans and mushrooms.

Now if that doesn’t whet your appetite, it’s only fair we go through the ingredients more in depth:

Eggs: Actually normal. Usually organic and fresh, so especially yellow. That might freak some Americans out.

Bacon: NOT the delicious bacon you are thinking about right now. NOT the kind you might have on your BLT later or in my father’s amazing spaghetti carbonara. Nope. “Back” bacon, which is a different part of the pig and loosely translates to “vile and hideous and smelly.”

Sausage: Hmm. Sausage is really such a loose concept anyway, right? So I will let this one slide.

Black pudding: Now the fun begins. This is cooked animal blood, congealed with a thickener. Besides the fact that I would rather throw this 30 feet across the room (or 9 metres across, if I am being ethno-sensitive) than have it anywhere in my general vicinity, I take special umbrage with the name. I really love London. And England. And the British. I really, really do. But- how do I say this gently, it is just morally wrong to call so many things “pudding.” Pudding can’t simultaneously mean encased meat AND dessert (menus here call the dessert section “puddings”). AND bread!!!! (Yorkshire.) You have got to be kidding.

Cooked tomato: Yep, this has got to go too. Cooked tomato, know your role! Get back on my spaghetti and meatballs where you belong!

Baked beans: Look, it’s weird sure. I’ll admit it. But who doesn’t love baked beans? So in lieu of anything else edible, I often enjoy these. I am sad though that the most beloved of British foods- baked beans (people eat them for breakfast and on toast as a snack)- are 100% sold here by the Heinz monopoly. An American company.

Cooked mushrooms: Now I’m just pissed.

Basically, I never go out for breakfast. This saves me money and additional fat rolls. Thank you gross British Breakfast, thank you!!



Filed under food, london

14 responses to “the british breakfast

  1. mira

    This makes me sad (and very grossed out…sorry, thought I was all world-travelly). I will dedicate my next breakfast of eggs and home-fries to you.

  2. Barks

    you get to have cooked mushrooms for breakfast there? I am seriously envious. If they added any form of seafood then I don’t know if I could take it.

  3. Hmm, might have to take exception to this one….

    We just went out to breakfast (or brunch if you want to be time conscious about it), at a restaurant that started in London (?) called Balans and there they have a “full breakfast” which is the British fry up (sans blood pudding – thank you very much).
    Cause this being Miami, anything not from S. American is strange and scary, hence the name change.
    So of course, both Jenny and I order it, and it’s delicious. Maybe it was the lack of the pudding – I’m pretty sure that’s it.

  4. The vegetarian full English is usually pretty good, has nice things like vegetable patties and potato croquettes instead of the disgusting back bacon and black pudding, although you have to go to upscale gastro pubs or rainbow colored alternative restaurants to find it.

  5. indigohippie

    Personally I find the whole breakfast disgusting, and I’m British! Sometimes they also include fried bread (if you’re lucky…)

    But here’s an interesting fact: an American muffin typically has more calories than a “properly cooked” English breakfast. This is because of all the sugar poured into the little bun of goodness. There ya go! As far as calories go, the breakfast can’t be that bad?!

  6. That black pudding sounds a lot like ‘Dinuguan’ here, it’s cooked blood, it’s black but the only difference is that people here(excluding me, I hate it and my parent’s can’t have it..) eat it with rice or sweet rice cakes..

    I’m kinda amused at how much you guys have for breakfast there.. here it’s like rice, an egg and some kind of fermented meat or cereal..

  7. You missed-out toast and cup of tea.

    British (back) bacon is WAY superior to that muck you call bacon. I simply cannot believe you can’t taste the difference.

    I will readily admit that British foodstuffs are generally inferior to almost all other nations, but not the bacon. Our bacon beats all other bacons except possibly Danish. And they’re our DNA cousins so we usually call it a draw.


  8. illusivefreddy

    While I agree with you about the black pudding, the English Breakfast is the best only you forgot to mention the fried bread and HP fruity sauce.
    I’m British so clearly biased.

  9. yaelgutt

    I wish you all could change my mind. Although I will have to check out fried bread. I cannot withdraw the bacon slur, no matter what. And believe me, I am generally open to all things dead pig.

  10. Elizabeth Isabella

    I’ve been trying to get Ed to eat grilled tomatoes for years. He still won’t go for it. And I miss my proper bacon!!! The American bacon is all fat, while back bacon actually has some meat.

    Here’s a tidbit for you: the reason American bacon is crap is because of the love of ribs. You can’t have the back cut of bacon and still have a rack of ribs to BBQ. It is only because I love ribs so much that I put up with what passes for bacon in America.

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  12. bobv

    I just returned from a week in London, and have yet to recover from the culinary adventures that awaited there. Couple of things you forgot to mention about the traditional English breakfast. First cover the entire plate in a puddle of Heinz baked beans out of a can (a disgusting American invention – completely tasteless – as opposed to some fiery Texas baked beans). Everything else floats on top of this sea of lumpy bland sludge. Don’t really cook the eggs, just warm them to the point where they congeal enough to be moved via spatula from pan to Bean Ocean. Over Easy doesn’t begin to describe these yellow and white blobs of mucus. Don’t bother asking for wheat toast, usual reply is a blank stare and white toast. No tomatoes or mushrooms? People in the restaurant are starting to stare now. And the sausage, or as I like to call it, a casing filled with some pale colored substance the consistency of oatmeal. If there’s meat inside it’s been processed into paste prior to being mixed with the sawdust that was added for flavor. That 10 square inches of fat with a tiny change of color where the meat is hiding would be your back bacon, eat hearty. Heat everything to barely lukewarm, and serve in a restaurant cold enough in winter to see your breath.

    On the plus side I did lose 8 pounds while there, so maybe an inedible cuisine vacation could be a marketable alternative to the fat farm method of weight loss.

    In all seriousness, I really did love England, can’t wait to go back.


  13. October Rain

    I dont care what yall say, I love British breakfast. I last had one in 1979 and still savor the memory.

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