Unlike other meals, British breakfast starts with something sweet, progresses to something savoury and finishes with something sweet. Hot drinks are drunk during the meal unlike lunch and dinner when hot drinks are served afterwards.

Breakfast should start with cereal of some sort which includes porridge. That’s a whole hornet’s nest of differing opinion – porridge made with milk – or made with water? With salt added – or sugar – both are acceptable but some prefer jam or treacle (golden syrup – the only brand is Tate and Lyle, ‘from the strong comes forth sweetness’ with the picture of the swarm of bees within the dead lion)

Fruit… grapefruit is a classic component of breakfast, cut in half, red, pink or the traditional yellow, with sugar if you must but quite unnecessary. Sometimes grapefruit is sprinkled with brown sugar and then put under the grill to caramelise – but this is usually served at dinner  as a strange sort 1970’s starter, or  dessert. Fruit segments, oranges, tangerines etc., or dried fruit, figs, prunes, pears and apricots are often enjoyed, but nothing is quite as good as fresh fruits of the season, straight from the tree in your garden:


There is an almost unlimited amount of breakfast dishes to follow. The classic fried breakfast  traditionally includes any or all of the following: fried eggs, bacon grilled or fried, sausages, black pudding, kidneys,  fried bread, fried mashed potato, fried chipped potatoes (not chips but left over cold potatoes fried up) fried or grilled tomatoes, fried mushrooms (sliced or whole) baked beans, toast.

Recently imports such as hash browns have appeared and rosti – which is an alien form of fried mashed potato or green-less bubble and squeak. Pancakes – not the sort you would have on pancake day but large scotch pancakes or dropped scones are also served – sometimes even with maple syrup.

Traditional accompaniments are tomato sauce (Heinz), brown sauce (family preferences of HP, Daddy’s or OK sauce) or mustard.

Eggs on their own or with bacon may be scrambled or poached – and poached in boiling water or in a poaching pan, although some would claim these are coddled whereas coddled eggs would have a lid upon the container. Boiled eggs served with soldiers and salt and pepper are also a favourite. Omelettes are not traditional breakfast fair but may please some people.

Bacon and free range fried egg

Sausages as has been discussed earlier should only be the best and may be served with thin gravy and mustard – although some prefer tomato or brown sauce.

The finest chipolata sausages, by Powter’s

Mushrooms can be served in a cream sauce, made to individual recipes, fried tomatoes on toast with salt and pepper. Tomatoes are also delicious,  preferably fresh as tinned tomatoes are just not the same and can be too wet, even when fried.

Kedgeree – a fine breakfast dish but rarely served I suppose; saffron rice (or turmeric will do, or curry powder) smoked haddock, boiled eggs… some may add a dollop of mayonnaise or cream or crème fraiche, some may use other smoked fish, salmon or smoked mackerel maybe. Kippers are a great breakfast dish, served with bread and butter (not margarine) Some people may like smoked haddock with an optional poached egg but to me that is more of a light supper dish. Some people may even have fresh herring, which is delicious if available, roes – soft or hard, on toast, fresh or smoked mackerel.

Hot sandwiches of various sort can also be enjoyed – with toast or bread – bacon, sausage, egg, black pudding, any of these or several or all of these are delicious but toast or bread must be spread with butter (unless you are in Bert’s Café or somewhere similar, in which case it is acceptable to have margarine especially on thick white sliced bread.

After the cooked element of breakfast, or if the cooked breakfast is not required, toast and marmalade is  ideal. Jam is a preference of some people, honey too, and instead of toast some might prefer rolls, brioche, croissants, pain au chocolat, challah, bagels there is a fantastic range of breakfast breads. Some people enjoy crumpets which technically are afternoon fare, and those on diets might like crisp-breads of various sorts, the traditional and old favourite being Ryvita.

Drinks: many people drink fruit juice, fresh, bottled, from cartons… there are so many to choose from and with a vast range of exotic fruits now available. Smoothies are also popular, home made may include vegetables as well as fruit but this seems perverse. Tea or coffee… coffee to me is the breakfast drink but many people would only drink tea at this time. Tea on waking or first thing…  for me sitting down to breakfast there has to be an abundance of coffee. In France they drink hot chocolate of a particular sort, but that is not really a suitable breakfast drink, an indulgence if you ask me.


  1. Andrew Simpson

    Now of course in Italy and I suspect other breakfast places on mainland Europe it is cake. Cake in all sorts of shapes sizes and flavours along with cold meats and cheese and not forgetting the pastries.

    Now Bert’s sausage sandwich eaten when we should have been in the first lecture of the day was something to remember. Bert’s stood opposite the old London Road Police Station which is still there but sadly Bert’s is no more.

    Nor is the old Plaza on Upper Brook Street, but Lois as we both know breakfast in the Plaza was really a very very late supper, eaten as the milkman passed and the first letters were being sorted. It consisted of chicken or something described as meat, arrived with a huge plateful of yellow rice and a jar of curry sauce all for 3/6d.


      1. loiselsden

        Excellent! Just read it… I’d forgotten about the raw onion! Mike always had the roast dinner, even at 3 o’clock in the morning, didn’t he… such things were possible in the Plaza!


  2. Sean

    Got to you via Andrew Simpson’s blog. Very comprehensive but have you not heard of white pudding for breakfast ? It’s an Irish thing, best one is Clonakilty’s, oats are the first ingredient, followed by pork. Love it with fried bread. On a continental theme, in the south of Italy I had ice cream in a sweet bread roll for breakfast because all the other young people were doing so, good too. But my favourite breakfast would have to be a German one with their fantastic fresh brotchen (rolls) and butter and hams……

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lois

      Love white pudding, Sean!! Can’t really get it in England – at least not down here in Somerset! Yet another reason to go back to Ireland!! Ice-cream in a roll sounds heavenly… maybe I should try it at home…


      1. Sean

        Could try online for the Clonakilty ? They also do a good black pudding. Might try ice cream in a brioche in summer, but it wouldn’t be anything like real Italian ice cream…..still, we have some good bakeries for sweet stuff.


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