What is a Full English Breakfast?
What is a Full English Breakfast? In the UK, depending on where you may be having it, there exist variations. I won’t delve into the slight differences, rather I’ll list what I believe to be the most traditional offering. A full English breakfast or what is Colloquially called, 'fry-up', consists of fried eggs, sausages, back bacon, tomatoes, mushrooms, fried bread, black pudding, and beans.
An English Tradition
Enjoying a Full English Breakfast is an English tradition that is still carried out to date. Mainly on weekends, when the pace is more leisurely. The meal is often equated to the working class, not unlike the farmer’s breakfasts’ in the U.S., in which a hearty meal at the beginning of the day would help sustain through the rest. Which was true of the factory workers during the early 19th Century, the height of the Industrial Revolution.
However, the meal, which dates back to the Middle Ages has a more lush beginning. It was mostly exclusive to the nobility. Akin to how it is enjoyed today, it was more about leisure versus sustenance. On the romantic side, it was also referred to as the “wedding breakfast”, as in those days all wedding ceremonies were celebrated early morning and the first meal the couple would eat together (along with the party) would be a lavish breakfast.
As visitors to the country, we enjoyed it on both accounts, both for the sake of leisure and also to sustain us throughout the day of sightseeing. We especially enjoyed having it on weekends, when just about every eatery or pub offers the meal. The crowds are also a lot more energetic, usually fueled by the addition of alcohol.
English Comfort Food
It's certainly a meal that can stand up to just about any drink. The bangers comfort with every bite, having that nice mixture of minced pork, herbs, and some grains. Sometimes, I'm able to manage a bit of bacon, a mushroom, and some tomato on the fork to make the most scrumptious bite. But my favorite is using the fried bread to spoon the beans and following it up quickly with a slice of blood pudding. Few meals satisfy to this degree.
True Taste of Local Fanfare
In my book, enjoying a Full English Breakfast is as important as saying a prayer in Westminster Abbey, viewing the Crown Jewels at London Tower, or crossing Abbey Road. Moreover, it’s a true taste of local fanfare, which makes it more than just a meal.
Royal Wedding on May 19th
Speaking of fanfare, if you are looking to do something celebratory for the upcoming Royal Wedding on May 19th, have friends come over early morning for some mimosas or Bloody Mary’s and serve them a Full English Breakfast. As it was in the olde days, feel like nobility by having this meal on the day of a wedding.Print
What is a Full English Breakfast & a Recipe
Full English Breakfast. A hearty way to start a day.
- Prep Time: 10 min
- Cook Time: 30 min
- Total Time: 40 min
- Yield: 6 1x
- Category: Breakfast
- Cuisine: English
1.5 lb. of Sausages (approx. 8 links of Cumberland or Bangers).
1 lb. of Back Bacon (8-10 strips).
1 lb. of "Donnelly's"Black Pudding.
1 lb. of White Button Mushrooms.
4 (Plum/Roma) Tomatoes.
1 Dozen Eggs.
2 Cans of Heinz Imported Baked Beans.
Day Old Sliced Bread
- Use either a flat skillet, non-stick pan, or cast-iron pan. Having two at the ready is best.
- Brush one pan with olive oil, and over medium to low heat, cook 8 links of sausages, 15-20 minutes until brown. Transfer to an oven proof container and put in the oven low heat to keep warm while preparing the rest of the breakfast.
- In the same pan (keep the grease) cook the back bacon over medium-high heat, about 2 minutes a side. Pull aside and add to the container with the sausages to stay warm in the oven.
- In the same pan (with left over grease) add a tablespoon of grass-fed butter, and cook mushrooms with a sprinkle of salt and pepper, until soggy, about 5-6 minutes.
- In a separate pan, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil and a teaspoon on butter and fry the bread, about 2 mins. a side. Repeat with each piece.
- In a small pot, heat the beans under low heat (stir occasionally).
- Once the mushrooms are done, clean pan a bit, add butter and fry eggs for about 30 secs. over medium to high heat.
- Once bread is done, clean pan, add tablespoon of olive oil, and cook sliced black pudding over medium heat, 2 minutes a side.
- In the same pan in which the eggs were fried, add a bit more olive oil, and cook tomatoes (sliced in halves vertically) sliced part face down first. Add salt and pepper to taste, about 2 minutes a side, do not move around too much.
- Prepare individual plates with all the ingredients.
- Serving Size: 6 - 8
Keywords: Full English Breakfast, English Breakfast
Where to have Full English Breakfast in New York City:
If you plan to prepare your own English Breakfast, our favorite specialty store in which to purchase all our goods is "Myers of Keswick", located in the West Village. They'll have everything you'll need and some. You'll swear, once you enter that you have arrived in a market somewhere in London, accents and all.
As for having someone else prepare it, few places capture the essence of a traditional English fry-up, like "Tea and Sympathy", also in the West Village. It's small and cramped, but man it's good and very English. Their assortment of tea is impressive, and you'll sometimes be treated to a nice playlist in the background.
If you don't like cramped spaces, there is always Balthazar in SoHo. They serve a Full English Breakfast daily. Eat at the bar while reading the New York Times which is provided as a courtesy. Pair it with one of their famous Bloody Mary's.
Where to have Full English Breakfast in the World:
"Mani's" in Hampstead Village, London NW3. This family-run establishment located on the very quaint and charming Perrin's Court has a working man's sensibility aesthetically, in an otherwise posh address. I think it's the uncontrived dichotomy that makes it a favored location for all to enjoy. Don't be surprised to see a construction man rubbing elbows with Harry Styles here.