A good breakfast not only sets you up for the day, but studies
suggest it can also reduce the risk of obesity, insulin resistance associated with type 2 diabetes and, lower the risk of developing heart disease. So, perhaps, it is actually the most important meal that you will eat during your day. With this knowledge to hand, I really ought do better. During work days, my breakfasts consist of either snatched handfuls of dry cereal, breakfasts bars, a cup of milky instant coffee or, nothing at all. Non-work days and holidays are a different matter, when breakfast seems like a real indulgence -enjoyed and not rushed, preferably with a book or a paper to hand.
The ritual of a full, hearty, breakfast became popular during Victorian times. Up until then breakfast as a meal didn't really exist, most people eating only twice a day. Within the upper class, it became elaborate, though less formal, with people serving themselves from the sideboard. Comprising of eggs, bacon, hot rolls with butter, jam and preserves, cold roasted meats, collared tongue, smoked fish, mushrooms, meat pies and muffins; it was a chance to catch up with events across the Empire and missives.
For those less affluent, Isabella Beeton's Guide to Household Management and Alexis Soyer's The Modern Housewife, both written with the middle class family in mind, suggested a range of recipes that might be eaten. Devilled kidneys, chops and potted fish added variety but sausages, bacon, eggs, mushrooms and hot buttered toast were the corner stone. Fresh, seasonal ingredients, from the local market, led to regional variations such as Hog's pudding and potato cakes in Devon and Cornwall and, soda or potato farls served with an Ulster fry.
Working class families on the other hand, when they could, might eat a breakfast of bacon, eggs, potatoes and/or bread. Slices of bread, placed into the pan would soak up the dripping from the meat; the origin of fried bread. This sort of breakfast tended to be eaten on a Sunday, the day of rest, when there was more time to be had for such a meal. Sausage or ham might substitute bacon, but it was less common to eat the two together.
It's been some time since I've eaten out for breakfast; the last time was quite a disappointment, but the less said about that, the better. This time around, I think it's fair to say that I experienced a pinnacle of breakfastdom. Rarely, if ever, have I eaten a bad meal at The Runcible Spoon
. Run as a workers cooperative with local suppliers and seasonally bent, not only does their food taste good, it is real value for money. I'd never tried one of their breakfasts however, so having popped to the Here Shop
to stock up on magazines, I decided it was high time.
Coffee arrived in a Moka Pot; a rich, strong brew that gave me a good shake of the shoulders. Thickly cut rashers of bacon, a meaty pork and herb sausage and a round of black pudding, peppered with plump barley were of a really good quality but still, had to be eaten with a dollop of brown sauce. Hot buttered toast was dipped into a runny enough fried egg yolk and, mopped up the juices of some of the finest fried tomatoes. So good in fact, I thought they deserved a close up all of their own. Fried mushrooms were perfectly cooked, not at all slimy or greasy as they can sometimes be and, a bundle of wilted spinach made the whole plate seem virtuous. My only gripe was the potato rosti, which although beautifully cooked, was a little too salty for me. As you can see though, it still didn't stop me from eating it!
A pinnacle of breakfastdom but, not the place to go if you're in a mad rush. If you have the time to sit back and take a few moments to catch up with the World, get yourself down to The Runcible Spoon
. For breakfast (vegetarian and eggs any which way available), dinner, mince or quince, you're in for some really good eating.