I was looking though my copy of Constance Spry’s 1956 Cookery Book and since we’re going out for breakfast tomorrow, or maybe brunch, her chapter on it caught my eye. It’s not that long ago that going out for breakfast was a most unusual thing, now it seems going out for breakfast can be a thing up until noon, and of course there are plenty of places you can get an all-day breakfast.
This is what Constance writes about ‘some of the best breakfast dishes’, as suggested by ‘a member of the family’:
…grilled bacon, grilled kidneys, grilled or sautéed mushrooms, eggs fried, poached, scrambled or oiled, kippers, finnan-haddock, kedgeree, fish-cakes, fried savoury drop-scones, fresh fruit, baked apples, stewed fruit, orange, grape-fruit, and tomato juice, toast, brown bread, croissants, hot rolls, cereals and porridge.
She continues by looking back ‘before the war’ – I’m not sure which war she means; the book was published in 1956, but some of the recipes and little stories date back before the second world war, so maybe she’d looking back ‘before that again’, as she says, to before the first world war. She was born in 1886, so she would have been 28 when it started.
Before the war and beyond that again, when breakfasts were breakfasts indeed, and might even be an occasion for social gathering, other and, to our impoverished view, grinder dishes may have been added to those already named – cold game, grouse in particular, a fine York ham and a glazed tongue, and to the toast would be added home-made breakfast rolls, baps, and scones, both wholemeal and white, all made that morning.
An egg might be served on buttered home-made crumpet. Flaked finnan-haddock, well seasoned, mixed with a little cream and served on a thick slice of well-buttered toast