Are you a black coffee and a cigarette? Three cups of tea? Juice and toast? A bowl of cereal? Eggs? Full English? Or a Full Welsh - with laverbread and/or cockles? Kippers? Here's one of the loveliest breakfasts I've ever had:
A poached egg and thick cut bacon on a slice of Welsh Rarebit at the Gwesty Cymru in Aberystwyth. I tend not to make poached eggs at home. They make me nervous... you can never be sure there'll be no sloppy white inside until you cut them open and then it's too late to do anything about it. If anyone has a fool proof way of cooking them then please, please let me know.
So scrambled is my fallback process at home: with a good dollop of creme fraiche added towards the end of cooking to keep them creamy, a sprinkling of chopped chives and, when I have them in the bread bin, dry-fried croissant slices.
In his book, At Home, Bill Bryson describes a breakfast eaten by the Duke of Wellington (1769-1852): 'two pigeons and three beef steaks, three parts of a bottle of Moselle, a glass of champagne, two glasses of port and a glass of brandy.' Maybe you need to have a battle scheduled for that day to want to pack that lot into your belly.
My Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management from 1912 lists a menu for a simple breakfast in Winter: Cream of Wheat, Scrambled Eggs, Fried Bacon, Brawn, Baked Apples, Scones, Toast, Bread, Butter, Jam, Tea, Coffee, Hot and Cold Milk. Yep, that's simple! I'm sure there wasn't always the time to tackle the Family Breakfast menus that included: grilled kidneys, baked halibut steaks, cold ham, croquettes of fish, fried whiting, veal cake, sausages and game pie.
Your husband/wife/partner asking you to drop a slice of bread into the toaster and pass the jam out of the fridge pales into insignificance, doesn't it?
Mrs Beeton believed that the 'moral and physical welfare of mankind depends largely on its breakfast'. Hmmm... it's the kind of statement that makes you wonder what Attila the Hun, Hitler, Gandhi and Mother Theresa ate for breakfast. However, when she says, 'A being well fed and warmed is naturally on better terms with himself', that makes perfect sense to me. I get grumpy when I'm hungry.
Mrs Beeton also has lots of sage advice about laying the breakfast table: what cutlery to provide, where the serviette might be positioned, where on the table any cold dishes should be placed. It's a minefield... Fortunately there are 'no hard-and-fast rules... for the disposal of the cruets, butter, toast, eggs, marmalade.' Thank goodness. The times I've stood over the breakfast table with the salt pot and butter dish in my hands and not a clue where to put them : )
Hungry Writing Prompts
- Write about the first thing you ate this morning.
- Write about a safety net.
- Write about a battle.
- Write about someone's morals.
- Write about being grumpy.