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April 17, 2008 7:52 PM   Subscribe

It's what's for breakfast. But, according to the Times, anyone with a college degree is too intelligent to eat a fry-up.

In England, the classic full breakfast is a litmus test for media elitism. The low-brow Daily Mail suggests it can help fight cancer. The no-brow Sun searches for Britain's best. The monobrow BBC published its obituary in 2002. You can also go to Fryup or create your own in 45 seconds. But beware what happens if you forget to pay for yours.
posted by grounded (117 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite

 
That's not what's for breakfast.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 7:55 PM on April 17, 2008 [21 favorites]


That's not what's for breakfast.

kfb, you're awesome!
posted by djeo at 8:01 PM on April 17, 2008


I wish it was for breakfast, but seeing how enormously fat I already am I think my heart would simply acquiesce at that point.
posted by maxwelton at 8:02 PM on April 17, 2008


When I was in London, I had found a place off Kingsway that had a fryup for only 3 pounds. And it was awesome.

And I have a degree, thankyouverymuchtimesoflondon.
posted by chimaera at 8:06 PM on April 17, 2008


At last someone realizes!
posted by kittens for breakfast at 8:07 PM on April 17, 2008


There is nothing I like better than a full English breakfast, except maybe a full English lady. You put those two together, and you've got something rather good.

Is there a website for that, maybe?
posted by Admiral Haddock at 8:07 PM on April 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


My favorite morning repast is the IHOP Breakfast Sampler: two eggs over easy, two bacon strips, two pork sausage links, two ham strips, hash browns and two buttermilk pancakes. This doesn't seem substantially different than a traditional English breakfast.

BUT, I endulge in this meal maybe once a month. I think my heart would explode if I ate it on a regular basis.

I'd die with a 'splodey heart and a smile.
posted by djeo at 8:09 PM on April 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


I've been vegetarian for 13 years but would eat a sausage just to piss this writer off. Christ, what an asshole.
posted by jtron at 8:11 PM on April 17, 2008




The eggs and sausage and toast I can see but canned beans for breakfast? Bleh.
posted by octothorpe at 8:15 PM on April 17, 2008


anyone with a college degree is too intelligent to eat a fry-up.


somewhat true, but intelligent people do stupid things all the time, although perhaps not every morning. I mean just look at the MeFi obsession with bacon.......
posted by caddis at 8:15 PM on April 17, 2008


Sorry, that just looks NASTY.

I'm rather fond of my oatmeal, anyway.
posted by konolia at 8:18 PM on April 17, 2008


Oh fuck, I'm so doomed... *drowns in his own saliva*


Occasionally I do some bastardized American version of a English fry-up. Last time it was about 4-5 eggs, two sliced tomatos, two red potatos, three sausages, a bunch of garlic and onions, an entire can of baked beans and about half a loaf of thick-sliced sourdough soaked with real, unsalted butter.

Heck, everything was swimming in butter, come to think of it. I can use 1/3rd of a pound on something like that. It's the only way to cook in a cast iron skillet.

Warning: Don't try that at home. Perhaps the only reason why such a meal doesn't immediately kill me (or anyone) is the head or two of garlic and tablespoon of black pepper I mix into it all, as well as a whole onion or two. Also, I have a heavy English (and Scottish) ancestry.

That, and the fact that I'll usually only eat something like that after expending 20,000 kCals over 36-48 hours working and still not eat a thing for a day or two afterwards. And I eat a lot of raw oats and veggies, etc.

Also, I've almost completely sworn off fake or modified fats for nearly a year. Real butter is awesome. I've actually lost something like 50-60 pounds since switching. I'm sure part of it is being much more active and generally eating less, but fuck transfats!

posted by loquacious at 8:21 PM on April 17, 2008 [4 favorites]


Argh... I have eggs... onions, garlic, tomato... bread and butter... going to the store for bacon and beans oh help me I'm so hungry... damn you grounded argh om nom nom nom runny eggs and toast, beans oh god I'm going to eat my own face off ok ok ok going to the fucking store right now....
posted by loquacious at 8:24 PM on April 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


loquacious, it's 11:42 pm EST in Ottawa, Canada. I think it's breakfast time here too.
posted by niccolo at 8:29 PM on April 17, 2008


My husband, an MA from Oxford, quite fancies a full English now and then, and is too intelligent to read the Times.

... can see but canned beans for breakfast? Bleh.

Knock not until you try it. It goes surprisingly well.
posted by Zinger at 8:34 PM on April 17, 2008


I call it the full Irish and still shove aside the black and white puddings, but yeah my man, that is what you need to eat at least once in a while, it gives you power. Ps. the beans are essential.
posted by Divine_Wino at 8:34 PM on April 17, 2008


I always wondered just why the parents were eating canned beans for breakfast during that infamous breakfast scene in Trainspotting. Now I know.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 8:34 PM on April 17, 2008


Oh also, I have a PHD in thoroughly boning down on your moms, so please add that to the data.
posted by Divine_Wino at 8:36 PM on April 17, 2008 [4 favorites]


The eggs and sausage and toast I can see but canned beans for breakfast? Bleh.

QFT, and I have tried it. I know it's a cultural difference thing, but beans for breakfast? WTF is wrong with you people? Beans go as a side for barbecue or get boiled for 4 hours with a hamhock/ham chunk/salt pork/other disgusting pig cut, end of goddamn list.

I mean, I can deal with a cold slice of tomato as a part of breakfast, even though it's wrong. But beans for breakfast is an abomination in the eyes of The Lord, and the reason why you will all be Left Behind when Jesus turns his Laser Eyes upon the world.
posted by middleclasstool at 8:44 PM on April 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


I have several degrees, and I enjoy an English breakfast. It's more a once-in-a-while thing, though.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 8:47 PM on April 17, 2008


Zinger:Knock not until you try it. It goes surprisingly well."

I'll pass. Funny though that there's this very British tradition built around an American brand like Heinz.
posted by octothorpe at 8:49 PM on April 17, 2008


I can't explain why, but the beans totally make the breakfast for me. We've even tried to replicate the "full" english breakfast at home, with mixed results (somehow the tomatoes don't end up quite right)....
posted by chimaera at 8:49 PM on April 17, 2008


You know when you're alone in your office, door closed, and just need to rip one? And you do. And then, immediately, the person from down the hall barges in to ask about something. Much to their regret.

I'm guessing in England office doors that are closed stay closed. Be worth it just for that.
posted by maxwelton at 8:53 PM on April 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


I guess we're just dumb on the weekends around here, 'cause we always have a big fry-up.
posted by padraigin at 8:55 PM on April 17, 2008


I was all set to snark at how incredibly unhealthy those Denny's omelette's are. I mean, sausage, ham, bacon, 800 calories at SIXTY TWO grams of fat... for breakfast? Not counting any sides or drinks or anything?

But then I saw that you could order your sausaged up, hammed up, cheesed up, 62 grams of fat omelette to be made with egg beaters instead of real eggs. So it's healthy.
posted by Justinian at 8:58 PM on April 17, 2008


OMG, the (mostly crappy) grocery store near me in Queens sell the Heinez beans in tomato sauce. I buy them once every couple months JUST to make beans on toast, fried eggs, veggie sausage* and fried mushrooms (quartered). So. Damn. Good. Seriously. Do not knock unless you give it a try.

And now I'm starving for all that. Well, I'll make a trip to the store before breakfast so I can indulge.

*Apologies. I know it's not cannon, but it'll have to do for me.
posted by piratebowling at 8:58 PM on April 17, 2008


Gah, Heinz, not Heinez. That sounds like some knock off brand but these are the real deal.
posted by piratebowling at 9:00 PM on April 17, 2008


This breakfast is the one true cure for a hangover. You oil the hell out of your liver, and the world is a better place. Works even better when you are very poor (i.e studying that tertiary degree thank you, Times) and one of you is a vegetarian. One massive breakfast, two killed hangovers. Utterly tops. Of course, if we didn't habitually split them, we'd have arteries hard enough to prop up a wall.

Without the greasy breakfasts of the long-gone Burpengary truck stops, I doubt I would even have my degree.
posted by Jilder at 9:02 PM on April 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


I mean, I can deal with a cold slice of tomato as a part of breakfast, even though it's wrong.

Well now see, there's your problem. The tomato is supposed to be grilled.
posted by Zinger at 9:06 PM on April 17, 2008


...roared The Daily Telegraph, no doubt suppressing a florid belch as its morning kippers turned in its stomach.

Ah, good ol' English class-ism.

Personally, I think the traditional English breakfast is the most satisfying breakfast. As much as I love pancakes, I believe the English breakfast's greater ratio of protein/fat to carbohydrates leaves me feeling less drowsy afterwards than a tall stack with maple syrup.

Irish is even better, though. Black pudding. Mmmm.
posted by Bummus at 9:08 PM on April 17, 2008


What the deal with beans for breakfast?

Now you know.

And despite the skippability of the puddings in the irish variant, you can't go on skipping them for ever. How can you have any pudding if you won't eat your menat, and thoughts along them there lines.

MMM. Saturday morning I'm getting up early to inflict this delight on the wife.
posted by mwhybark at 9:19 PM on April 17, 2008


I'd like to clarify my earlier comment re: black pudding. I intended no sarcasm. When I said "Mmm" I meant "Mmm."

Mmm.
posted by Bummus at 9:22 PM on April 17, 2008


Oh man, there's a truck stop near my school. Serves a quite amazing breakfast feast. What is it it called? Well, my friends, if you're man enough, you too can order a Lumberjack Special, or, in a recent rebranding, a Big E Fuel Injector.

What sort of fuel might you be injecting?
  • Three slices of bacon / Three sausage links / Two sausage patties
  • Two full slices of texas toast
  • A generous serving of hash browns
  • Two eggs done any way you like
  • Unlimited pancakes (covered in butter)
Of course, I have never seen anyone make it past the initial two pancakes. I am not a lumberjack.
posted by SemiSophos at 9:23 PM on April 17, 2008


I've had a longlived and not entirely healthy fascination with the full English breakfast since childhood. A description in a young-adult book of a character making himself an early morning fry-up made a deep impression on me.

About once a week, I check on The London Review of Breakfasts and Eggs, Bacon, Chips, and Beans, where I read longingly about caff breakfasts I'll never have a chance to eat: beans plated thoughtfully against planks of crispy potato to protect the plate from the onslaught of their sauce; sturdy mugs of strong milky tea; the too-often posed choice between mushroom and tomato; rashers of crispy bacon and sometimes a spicy black pudding. Oh, I yearn to join those fast-breakers the Times calls stupid.

But I must ask: the potatoes in the photos at Eggs, Bacon, Chips, and Beans: are those chips, i.e., French fries? For breakfast? For real? Is this usual?
posted by Elsa at 9:30 PM on April 17, 2008 [3 favorites]


well, seeing as i'm up this morning i'll be off for the fry up you're talking about - at the quick 'n' plenty cafe, tollcross, edinburgh - it also has a daily record picture on the wall of lorenzo amoruso in a kilt - which is either a joke or the old wifies that work there find him genuinely attractive.
Perhaps I subconciously lust after him and the breakfast is just a cover, thanks for confusing me you bastards.
posted by sgt.serenity at 9:40 PM on April 17, 2008


This writer has never been to breakfast in a Cambridge college.

(In other words, people with multiple degrees, probably more than what's good for them, chowing down on lovely, lovely fried food. Actually, lunch and dinner are fried too, and normally deep fried at that.)
posted by jb at 9:53 PM on April 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


That was cute, thanks.
posted by Grod at 10:30 PM on April 17, 2008


OK... how typical is a breakfast like this in the UK?
posted by Auden at 10:35 PM on April 17, 2008


That's not what's for breakfast.

Kitten For Breakfast.

Seriously though, I saw the light when I visited the UK and learned the joys of baked beans for breakfast, especially with brown sauce, the thinking man's ketchup.
posted by Tube at 10:41 PM on April 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


Do not order the Skip's Scramble.
posted by Saxon Kane at 10:50 PM on April 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


I think a lot of American kids grew up nostalgic for British food they'd never eaten. It comes from all the classic kids' literature being British, I guess.

The big disappointment came when I had a chance to try Turkish Delight — the candy worth selling your soul to an evil witch for, for fuck's sake — and let me tell you, that stuff is nasty.

Fried bread for breakfast, on the other hand, is exactly as tasty as I imagined it would be when I was eight.
posted by nebulawindphone at 10:58 PM on April 17, 2008 [12 favorites]


The Times restaurant critic has a masterful way with words and a witty turn of phrase, but strip away the etymological pyrotechnics and what do you have? Preaching, that's what - and preaching of the worst sort: as practised by the nanny-state control freaks currently turning this country into a joyless puritan hellhole run by cyclists who knit their own tofu, where a glass of wine is a unit and lighting a fag risks summary execution for killing babies.

Worth reading Ross Anderson's counterpoint at the bottom. Hmm, I think I know what I'm gonna have for breakfast now. And it will include baked beans dammit, they go just right with salty pork product.

The fries though, they tend to be in the 'all day breakfast' and served for lunch. Sometimes they replace the hash browns though. Hmm. OK, gotta go. It's breakfast time.
posted by ArkhanJG at 11:02 PM on April 17, 2008


It's not really that typical at all. It's far too much effort to do at home. You might get one if you're staying in a hotel, or you can go to a cafe and get one (usually not that nice), but not that many people do. I think lorry drivers might be an exception: they have a bit of a subculture going.

As usual, the health debate is pretty pointless. There's not really any such thing as Good Foods and Bad Foods: it all depends on how much, how often and what else you eat.

If you have a full English breakfast, but a light lunch and a light supper you'll be fine. If you're eating two or three large, cooked, meat-heavy meals a day then you'll probably get fat, unless you do a lot of exercise or physical labour.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 11:10 PM on April 17, 2008


I've been to UK a few times and had breakfast in many different regions. It's not only quite good, it keeps you going far longer than a bowl of plain oatmeal. If you go to any number of B&B's, this is what you'll get for breakfast. I went to a B&B here in the states, which was far too expensive for the highly overrated establishment; the hostess was nowhere to be seen in the morning, and I got juice, coffee, and a choice of sticky danishes from a local bakery. At most UK B&B's, you have a choice of muesli, fruit, yogurt, and the fry-up described here. Many people will substitute vegetarian sausage if you ask (my traveling companion was vegetarian, I eat meat). The bacon is more like Canadian bacon, however. That belongs on pizza next to some pineapple!

I do eat the blood pudding where it's offered. It's good with the bean juice.

However, I'd like to avoid the implication that all children's classics authors are British. I loves me some Kipling too, but there are classics on both sides of the pond.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 11:27 PM on April 17, 2008


it does seems pretty tasty, except I'm vegetarian. Traditional American breakfasts are just too sweet and too carbohydrate-rich for me.
posted by Auden at 11:29 PM on April 17, 2008


Stop ruining my food!
posted by The Light Fantastic at 11:41 PM on April 17, 2008


baked beans (by themselves) on toast are a quite healthy breakfast (mind the sodium though). Baked beans are awesome good - but if and only if you buy the right brand. Some brands are hideous. Hienz, meh they're middling, there are better brands out there.
posted by wilful at 12:01 AM on April 18, 2008


Ah the Times, raddled Murdochite replicant of the great paper it used to be. It seems to have filled up with pseudo-intellectual right wing snobs. I don't trust the masthead date these days.

(I have a degree from Cambridge and regularly visit Tiffany's)
posted by athenian at 12:04 AM on April 18, 2008


I am currently at Cambridge (Wolfson), and not only do we have a cooked breakfast on the menu *every* morning, but I eat it. Ha.
posted by jaduncan at 1:04 AM on April 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


Excuse me, I need to fly home and have breakfast. Mmmrmmrmrm.
posted by blacklite at 1:18 AM on April 18, 2008


I sort of dispute the premise of the Times article; it seems there's a great line in eating a fry-up in a vaguely self-conscious, Damon Albarnish, ironic way.

overthinking... plate of... ah never mind.
posted by eponymouse at 1:24 AM on April 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


Ross Anderson is awesome. For those of you who don't know, he is a noted security researcher and Cambridge professor.
posted by grouse at 1:37 AM on April 18, 2008


More than ten years of living in Scotland has made the Full English insufficient for my needs - white pudding, a potato scone, lorne and link sausage are all essentials. I can't eat that every day, but it's very, very rare that I don't have a cooked breakfast, even if it's just a roll and bacon (gah, another Scottishism!).

That said, I do look forward to breakfasts in London, where bubble and squeak is a common ingredient - at Maggie's Café, Lewisham, it's the relative minimalism of Egg, Bacon & Bubble that always tempts me (with fried bread on the side).

Also, the only time I really resent the smoking ban is the second I finish a cooked breakfast. A fag is essential at that point: cuts through the grease something lovely.

I do not have a degree.

OK... how typical is a breakfast like this in the UK?

Very! Go into any caff before noon and it will be full of folk eating them. Or after noon, at which point it becomes an All Day Breakfast.
posted by jack_mo at 1:46 AM on April 18, 2008


Oh, do Americans know what bubble & squeak (aka 'fry up') is? Probably not, and if this thread persuades even one US citizen to try it, it has been a force for good in the world!
posted by jack_mo at 1:49 AM on April 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


It's a rather silly and thin article even as a rant - especially as the cooked breakfast was just as much a feature of leisurely upper class life as it was the working classes. Cohen probably should have taken the time to Google something along the lines of Edwardian breakfast before he put pen to paper.
posted by rhymer at 1:57 AM on April 18, 2008


Not a fan of the English Fry (Black pudding... yuk!), they just don't cut it compared to the good old Ulster Fry... Sausage, Bacon, Beans, Potato Bread (yum yum yum) and Soda Bread.

This has just put me in the mood for a fry... must. resist. (it's bangers and champ with beans for dinner, can't be overdoing it!)
posted by twistedonion at 2:00 AM on April 18, 2008


The big disappointment came when I had a chance to try Turkish Delight — the candy worth selling your soul to an evil witch for, for fuck's sake — and let me tell you, that stuff is nasty.

Don't like it either, and I'm British. In its defence, three things. First, "proper" Turkish Delight (melt-in-the-mouth, delicate) is quite different from the commercial stuff (rubbery, artificial-tasing). Second, sweets don't travel as well between cultures as savoury - Hershey's Chocolate is rotten, can't you taste it? Third, sweets - any sweets! - would be far more exciting in 1940s/1950s England, where sweets were rationed and much scarcer.
posted by alasdair at 2:06 AM on April 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


After living in the UK for 5 years I moved here to Spain. I go back every three months or so. I tell my girlfriend that it's to see her, but really, it's to have a proper fry-up.
posted by slimepuppy at 2:07 AM on April 18, 2008


Oh, do Americans know what bubble & squeak (aka 'fry up') is? Probably not, and if this thread persuades even one US citizen to try it, it has been a force for good in the world!

All true, but it simplay cannot be made with anything other than leftovers. Fresh cabbage and mash doesn't work. If it's not at least 24 hours since it was last cooked don't bother.
posted by vbfg at 2:37 AM on April 18, 2008


The bacon is more like Canadian bacon, however.

I'm curious about this. Am I right in thinking that American bacon is more like slabs of gammon than bacon as it's conventionally understood? It certainly seemed that way when I had breakfast in Nashville last year.
posted by Mocata at 2:59 AM on April 18, 2008


Hershey's Chocolate is rotten, can't you taste it?

I don't know many Americans who enjoy Hershey's chocolate straight more than other kinds of chocolate. For some reason Brits seem to love bringing it up. Yes, if you buy the cheapest, nastiest American chocolate of wide availability you will find that it is both cheap and nasty. Amazing revelation, really.

For your next experiment, you might try sampling the cheap, disgusting beer known as Natural Light. I believe you will find it is both cheap and disgusting.
posted by grouse at 3:12 AM on April 18, 2008 [6 favorites]


I spent a summer studying in Oxford and lived at St. Anne's College (summer of 1993). We got fry-ups for breakfast every morning. I think it's quite tasty (and I do have a degree, now), but I couldn't eat it every day.

This article was so awful I couldn't read the whole thing. What a t**t.

(Read into that word what you will. Please don't flag me, either.)
posted by miss tea at 3:44 AM on April 18, 2008


Sorry, I was too inflammatory. Hershey's is made from sour milk: this gives it an aftertaste to my British tastebuds that isn't pleasing. But it tastes good to you, right?

Similarly, Pakistani sweets (common in Britain) and Danish sweets (went on holiday there) and Malaysian sweets (workmate) all taste, well, a bit off. Too sweet, not sweet enough, too sour, too coconut, too bitter, wrong textures, odd smells...

Now, either my country's confectionery is uniquely delicious amongst all the nations in the world, or sweets don't travel as well as savoury foods. To do with early conditioning, I guess?

So take my "your Hershey's is horrid!" as a celebratory "isn't it great we're all different! Let's talk sweets!" rather than "See, your entire culture is rotten, fake and overly-commercial!"
posted by alasdair at 3:47 AM on April 18, 2008


that article is rubbish.

The problem being that, yes that is a typical big UK breakfast. but its not the sort of thing ANYONE could eat EVERYDAY. jesus.

I love a good breakfast cookup on the weekend. Bacon, eggs, beans, sausages, whatever is in the hose. Especially when i have a nasty Hangover. At home or at a Cafe. its a very common breakfast on the weekends - but then you often skip lunch afterwards (cause you had breakfast at 10am or 11am) and after a meal like that you are just not hungray till 4-5 pm.

Is that really that 'unhealthy'?
posted by mary8nne at 3:49 AM on April 18, 2008


"But you don't burn 3,000 calories driving a forklift truck, or answering the phone at Argos, or fiddling your disability benefit."

This sentence made me choke on my bacon in incandescent rage.
posted by YouRebelScum at 3:50 AM on April 18, 2008


I'm obsessed with breakfast. Had my first English breakfasts here in Berlin, where they are a thing of beauty in almost any breakfast-serving place in which they're offered. Then I had my first, second and third ones in London (had to make absolutely sure!) and they disappointed: going from German sausages to British ones is a pretty shocking downgrade, and it's just the kind of thing that German cooks prepare awesomely: something tasty and simple which is nice enough when it's done by a skillet-jockey hiding cheap ingredients in grease, but shines beyond all measure when prepared with high-quality ingredients and competence in the kitchen. But I think the ones here have about half the grease and salt as the UK versions so I'm not sure precisely how uneducated I'd need to be in order to eat them.

I feel bad that I couldn't enjoy the Full English in its native land; something sad about that. But I think it has something to do with the British ambivalence about food; if you hear someone insult British cooking to a British person, they will typically respond with a rundown of all of the Michelin star restaurants and chefs that you can find in any UK city these days (same story in Australia), but when it comes to simple food, it is often cooked carelessly or with a method which basically destroys the ingredients, which are often low-quality. The expectations for that kind of food are low. When an English breakfast in London tastes as much like its component ingredients as an English breakfast in Berlin which costs less, I'll buy the whole "our cooking is really much better now" notion.

At this very moment I am skillet-frying thick-sliced early potatoes, diced onions and ham bits in olive oil, with paprika, ground black pepper, and fleur de sel (just got back from a trip to Paris where we stocked up on it cheap), with some sliced tomatoes and mini-bratwurst on the respective far sides of the skillet. I've done the math and it's about a 750 calorie breakfast when all is said and done (assuming that all the olive oil ends up on the plate, which isn't the case). Not health food due to the salt and the Schwein, but a really nice indulgent breakfast.
posted by Your Time Machine Sucks at 3:53 AM on April 18, 2008


The tomatoes elevate the full english into somehting very nice, but I had a better full english in Oregon, where they put a fried oyster on top of the grilled tomato.

Heaven! And then we all had spliffs.
posted by DenOfSizer at 3:54 AM on April 18, 2008 [4 favorites]


and mmmm, a full english with fried oysters and spliffs and THEN some indian sweets? What's after heaven?
posted by DenOfSizer at 3:55 AM on April 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


So take my "your Hershey's is horrid!" as a celebratory "isn't it great we're all different! Let's talk sweets!" rather than "See, your entire culture is rotten, fake and overly-commercial!"

I see your point, but mine is that we aren't as different as you think. I bet most Americans would prefer Cadbury's to Hershey's in a blind taste test—I don't think it's a matter of different palates necessarily. Not to say that the phenomenon you discuss doesn't exist, but I think Hershey's is a poor example, since it is objectively crap.
posted by grouse at 3:58 AM on April 18, 2008


Mocata: British bacon= back bacon
American bacon= streaky bacon

Mmmm, bacon.
posted by Pallas Athena at 3:59 AM on April 18, 2008


If I had to choose whether to have back bacon or streaky bacon for the rest of my life, my answer would surely be yes.
posted by grouse at 4:06 AM on April 18, 2008 [7 favorites]


For some reason Brits seem to love bringing it up. Yes, if you buy the cheapest, nastiest American chocolate of wide availability you will find that it is both cheap and nasty. Amazing revelation, really.

Well now, here's the thing. If you buy the cheapest, nastiest British chocolate of wide availability, it will still taste like chocolate. It is genuinely remarkable to a British person that Americans would tolerate Hersheys at all, still less that it would be the most popular brand.

ObScottishBreakfast: I would sell a kidney for a roll and sausage with a potato scone and ketchup right now.
posted by standbythree at 4:08 AM on April 18, 2008


Multitasking --> nested colons and semicolons. I should be giving all of my attention to the Schwein.
posted by Your Time Machine Sucks at 4:08 AM on April 18, 2008


If I had to choose whether to have back bacon or streaky bacon for the rest of my life, my answer would surely be yes.

Best Bacon I've ever tasted is Black Bacon from O'Dohertys in Fermanagh. If you love your bacon as much as you seem, you owe it to yourself to try get some.
posted by twistedonion at 4:21 AM on April 18, 2008


Hmm I'm not sure that's right Pallas Athena. British bacon = back bacon and streaky bacon. So I'm guessing American = streaky plus regional variations. (The stuff I got served in Nashville they called 'breakfast bacon' - it was like enormous hunks of back bacon about a centimetre thick, so more like gammon steak than anything you or I would call bacon.)
posted by Mocata at 4:30 AM on April 18, 2008


I think it would be a pretty easy to find many examples of Americans bitching about Hershey's, and the state of (for other examples) mass-market bread and beer in the US. All of the 'artisanal' malarkey you see in the US is a direct response to objections to low-quality mass-market foods. But having an established distribution network in an enormous country and a hundred years of marketing is hard to compete with. I bet that if you just replaced Hershey's chocolate with Cadbury but kept the packaging, sales rates of Hershey's chocolate would skyrocket.
posted by Your Time Machine Sucks at 4:36 AM on April 18, 2008


Well, off to have a traditional American breakfast: bagel with a schmear.
posted by octothorpe at 5:06 AM on April 18, 2008


I miss the Two Fat Ladies.
posted by chihiro at 6:17 AM on April 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


You say you love fry ups, but this guy really loves fry ups.
posted by MrMoonPie at 6:55 AM on April 18, 2008


Doesn't seem that exotic to me. Minus the bloomer bread (whatever that is) and pudding, plus a couple of grilled buttermilk biscuits, swap the tea for strong coffee, and add a big glass of some kind of juice, and it looks pretty much exactly like a typical weekend breakfast in my homeland of Maine, USA. Maybe it's the British ancestry or the logging/fishing tradition, but yeah this seems like the very definition of breakfast.
posted by lampoil at 7:25 AM on April 18, 2008


Everybody likes a good fry up, including the vegans. Personally I am not that fussed by fakin' bacon and tofu scrambled egg, but then I *can* eat hen eggs it's just that I don't like them particularly. My full english includes mushrooms, toast, fried egg, beans, Cauldron foods sausages, tomatoes, naked toast and parsely. Ketchup, brown and Worcester sauce optional. Any pre-cooked potatoes that are about will also be fried and included. Not the traditional lard-fest, but as close as I dare get.

A new revelation that I was presented with recently - mix your beans with a tin of chopped tomatoes and the need to fry tomatoes is removed. You get the same, or better flavour with alot less hassle.

On the subject of international sweets (candy), I will once again shill for cybercandy, who are reet good at that type of thing. You can also get Hershey's at many places in the UK now, should you want to experience what you are missing in the 'candy' department.
posted by asok at 7:31 AM on April 18, 2008


rhymer writes 'Cohen probably should have taken the time to Google something along the lines of Edwardian breakfast before he put pen to paper.'

Well, he enthusiastically appeared in a programme called Edwardian Super Size Me (really), so knows full well that posh diets have, historically, been much unhealthier than poor diets.

mary8nne writes 'but its not the sort of thing ANYONE could eat EVERYDAY. jesus.'

Er, an awful lot of people do eat a Full English every day. See any transport caff for evidence.

Your Time Machine Sucks writes 'I bet that if you just replaced Hershey's chocolate with Cadbury but kept the packaging, sales rates of Hershey's chocolate would skyrocket.'

But which Cadbury's would you pick? They have lots of different formulas for, say, Dairy Milk, depending on the territory in which it's sold - Cadbury bars in France taste vile to me. Chances are the one developed for British tastes would tank if you tried to sell it in the US. (It's only good quality chocolate that tastes the same internationally.)
posted by jack_mo at 7:46 AM on April 18, 2008


I'm finding it sort of odd that this thread has gotten this far without a YouTube link to the Monty Python "Spam" sketch.
posted by dnash at 7:51 AM on April 18, 2008


The best Sunday breakfast around here is the Sampler at Marge's Garden Restaurant: one egg, one slice of bacon, one sausage link, one sausage patty, a big piece of ham, grits, and one huge pancake.
posted by mike3k at 7:54 AM on April 18, 2008


Hash-browns are dismissed as “ghastly manifestations of American imperialism” (damned uppity colonials),

This is why we rebelled in the first place, you know. No appreciation for us or our culinary prowess.

I miss the Two Fat Ladies.

Me too. They were the most fun thing on Food Network. Iron Chef was fun, but those two were a riot.
posted by Tehanu at 8:08 AM on April 18, 2008


My favorite deadly breakfast:

Eggs Benedict with a serious amount of hot sauce added to the hollandaise, poured (as custom) over poached egg and Canadian bacon atop a fried green tomato all served on fluffy buttermilk biscuits instead of English muffins.

But then, I am a southerner and believe that any conversation about breakfast should include some discussion of shrimp and grits (which, if prepared well, can be eaten for almost any meal).
posted by thivaia at 8:10 AM on April 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'll have a Full Scottish most Sunday mornings. Oh yes...

Ayrshire bacon, tattie scone, black pudding, white pudding, fried egg, lorne sliced sausage, link sausage, mushrooms and beans. Washed down with hot, sweet tea.

Heart attack on a plate but soooooo good.
posted by brautigan at 8:10 AM on April 18, 2008


I've had the full English and it's quite nice, but I thought I'd say a few words about my birthplace's traditional breakfast, biscuits and gravy. See, you make up some biscuits, and right away this is where most people muck up. A nice, fluffy biscuit that would be lovely with some jam is not a good canidate for B&G -- top it with thick sausage gravy and a nice fluffy biscuit turns to mush. My grandmother made drop biscuits with a crunchy shell, and it's that crunch that saves the B&G from being pablum. And have some nice big chunks of sasusage patty in the gravy, why don't you? You can afford it, you've been blessed. In fact, if there's any sausage patties left, fry them up up crisp and slice them up for toppings. Now tear the biscuits up while their hot, top them with that sausage-laced gravy and buddy, we are in business. If you want to be old school like my grandpa, you top this off with another biscuit smothered in sorghum.

New Yorkers understand many things, but they don't seem to have the hang of breakfast. Egg in Williamsburg is good, though.
posted by Bookhouse at 8:32 AM on April 18, 2008


For breakfast this morning I made scrambled eggs with ham and cheese, grilled tomatoes, bacon, toasted bagels with cream cheese, grits, sliced cantaloupe, orange juice, and coffee.

Then I went back to bed and slept for three more hours.

Breakfast is EXHAUSTING.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 8:33 AM on April 18, 2008 [3 favorites]


I'll have a Full Scottish most Sunday mornings. Oh yes...

Black pudding, chicken tikka masala, deep fried Mars bar, spoonful of heroin, and a swift kick to the genitals?
posted by Sys Rq at 9:19 AM on April 18, 2008 [3 favorites]


Swiss breakfast, I make a batch every other week, and it only takes two minutes to heat in the microwave, 2 minutes to cool. Keeps me full until lunch time.
posted by furtive at 9:55 AM on April 18, 2008


Oh, in Quebec a fry up is called a "kick-ass breakfast" or lumberjack.
posted by furtive at 9:56 AM on April 18, 2008


Ross Anderson kicked it right in the arse with his reply.

Quality > Quantity

Still, as a smoker (who is lean, and whose disproportionate taxes you'll miss someday), I say it is indeed time to break out the scales and Tax the Fat.
posted by HyperBlue at 10:12 AM on April 18, 2008


As a Texan whose family has a pretty country background, my favorite weekend breakfast to cook up is bacon, eggs, biscuits, and cream gravy. I must admit, though, that I now really want to try a Full English breakfast.

Also, I have a better idea now of what the lines from The Streets song "Don't Mug Yourself" means when it says "The waitress brings two plates of Full English over, with plenty of scrambled eggs and plenty of fried tomato".

Thanks!
posted by owtytrof at 10:23 AM on April 18, 2008


'I bet that if you just replaced Hershey's chocolate with Cadbury but kept the packaging, sales rates of
Hershey's chocolate would skyrocket.'

Cadbury chocolate makes a horrible Smore.
Believe me, I've tried.
posted by madajb at 12:54 PM on April 18, 2008


In the context of a FEB, I love black pudding. I will not search for a link to a recipe, because I'm terrified to discover what's in it (undoubtedly some of the same offal that's in stuffed derma, a delicacy among Jews of a certain age). But FEB rocks my world. Enough with the granola, already.
posted by digaman at 1:58 PM on April 18, 2008


digaman: Don't worry, I won't give away what's in black pudding, but I will tell you that over here we call it blood sausage.
posted by Sys Rq at 2:11 PM on April 18, 2008


For my fellow "Merkins" who don't understand the beans, I was dubious, too. I like beans, in burritos, in chilis, in baked beans and pork and beans and sometimes just plain old canned beans right out of the can...

But they really do go well with this "Full English Breakfast" kind of thing. If I can't find white/navy beans in tomato sauce, English style, I'll just use a plain, generic "pork and beans" or "baked beans", as long as its not too sweet/sugary like the so called "premium" baked beans or pork and beans tend to get. I suppose a mild chili bean, pinto or ranch style would do in a pinch, too, for a spicier version.

There's just something about the eggs, sausage/bacon, grilled tomato and toast all coming together. So gooood. :)

Give it a try. There's a lot of room for experimentation.
posted by loquacious at 2:36 PM on April 18, 2008


Sys Rq, I figured that there was blood in black pudding, because it has that ever-so-slight coppery quality... hemoglobin! (Or rather, "haemoglobin," to be culturally correct.) But it's the spices and the cereal quality that intrigue me... something like mace is in there, I bet.
posted by digaman at 3:23 PM on April 18, 2008


I didn't like the beans until I realized they were an excellent substrate for Tabasco sauce.
posted by grouse at 4:30 PM on April 18, 2008


Let us all honor the Chicago hobo skillet, a breakfast beguiling in its gut-busting tastyness. It deserves global recognition.
posted by DenOfSizer at 4:54 PM on April 18, 2008


I have had a full English breakfast exactly once, while in Wales. Of course, that was at least a month before I received my degree, so I did not know any better.
posted by the littlest brussels sprout at 5:02 PM on April 18, 2008


You might get one if you're staying in a hotel

Used to visit London frequently for work, and the hotel always had a full English Breakfast buffet w/all the stuff you see in this post. Most of it I could deal w/, except for the beans. Also had this once in a greasy old London spoon after a night out (no sleep) w/friends, and am convinced it exists to aid the full British hangover. But the beans I could do w/out.
posted by ornate insect at 6:27 PM on April 18, 2008


I've never had British-style beans for breakfast, but when I was in Guatemala I had black beans every morning, served with thick blue-corn tortillas and crema fresca. Fabuloso.
posted by MrMoonPie at 8:35 PM on April 18, 2008


Beanz meanz Heinz. Accept no substitutes.

I once spent a good 10 minutes trying to explain Bubble and Squeak to an American customer in the 'Ye Olde Tea Shoppe' I worked for as a teenager in Stratford-upon-Avon. She couldn't grasp the idea that bubble and squeak was one dish, not two, so kept asking what the 'squeak' was. I was trying not to let on that it was the remains of yesterday's Sunday roast, fried up, as she seemed the sort that wouldn't appreciate eating leftovers.
posted by Helga-woo at 4:24 AM on April 19, 2008


I am a Sunday brunch cook, so i cook a lot of mostly american styled bad-for-you breakfasts...

This looks so good that i'm going to cook this for my friends that are in town...

Mmmmm Food. I love you food.
posted by schyler523 at 7:32 AM on April 19, 2008


I made this. It was delicious.
posted by schyler523 at 10:42 AM on April 19, 2008


The Times article is utterly worth enduring for the sake of Ross Anderson's rebuttal. It's beautiful.

I am a small person and do not usually take in many calories, but I can recall an evening when I had been on my feet walking, all day, for many days prior, and when I started eating fried eggs, sausage, and fried bread I could not stop. It was glorious. I suspect I ate a pound of bread alone. So I understand the appeal of the Full English. Including the beans.

From Harold McGee, On Food and Cooking, p. 703, re chocolate:
In continental Europe, where it was invented, milk chocolate is made using dried whole milk powder, which has a relatively fresh milk flavor. In England, the preference has been to mix liquid milk with sugar, concentrate the mixture to 90% solids [and mix this with the chocolate.] The milk proteins and sugars undergo browning reactions during the concentration and drying and produce a special cooked-milk, caramelized flavor [...] And in the United States, large manufacturers have long encouraged their milk fat to undergo some breakdown by fat-digesting enzymes. This breakdown develops a slight note of rancidity.
I don't particularly love the American style myself; it burns in the back of the mouth somehow.
posted by eritain at 1:50 PM on April 19, 2008


QED
posted by blue_beetle at 3:39 PM on April 19, 2008


So people who pour maple syrup on their bacon sneer at those of us who eat beans with our fry-ups.

I rest my case.
posted by essexjan at 5:39 PM on April 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


My favorite morning repast is the IHOP Breakfast Sampler: two eggs over easy, two bacon strips, two pork sausage links, two ham strips, hash browns and two buttermilk pancakes. This doesn't seem substantially different than a traditional English breakfast.

I'm sorry to break this to you, but america (and especially the iHop) have absolutely no idea what 'bacon' and 'sausages' are. The replacements you lot seem to be stuck with are.... well, shite. Being as the quality of such is fundamental to the enjoyment of the English Breakfast (among other things) then you're missing the point entirely - more through the fault of your country that anything else. At least Canada has a bit of a stab at proper bacon (peameal) even if it is a poor second to proper bacon.

The fatty crap served in the place of bacon in the US just smells like it. That is the end of the similarity. The sausage couldn't be more bland. The most expensive and fancy sausages I have managed to find readily available (without New York speciality places being tried) is only just up to par with the 'supermarket's own fancy sausages' in England.. Maybe.

I have no idea why proper sausages aren't available here. I've tried hunting stores and restaurants and am stunned by the bland and unappetising selection you US-ites are stuck with. I am assuming the bacon thing is due to some legislation on meat cuts? (this is the same reason Europe has suck-arse bacon, too). I think all americans should get a Full English, and then try a selection of locally made sausages at a farmers fare in the UK.

Then prepare yourself to lobby your local supermarket/butcher to sort their stocking options out.

(graduate - big English Breakfast fan).
posted by Brockles at 5:45 PM on April 19, 2008


Oh, and don't get me started on the rubbish american hotels serve instead of breakfast. Drives me up the damn wall...
posted by Brockles at 5:47 PM on April 19, 2008


I'm amazed and delighted to hear someone asserting that a) British sausages have a distinct flavor, which he interprets as pleasant and normal, and b) US sausages have no flavor in comparison to this fineness. Every British sausage I've ever had tasted mildly of fat, spoilage and nothingness, and I think US sausages go overboard on the spices in order to conceal the preservatives and rat eyelids. À chacun son goût!

But it is totally wrong to point fingers at this bacon or that bacon as being flawed, when we should really all be coming together in celebration of the fact that we get to have bacon. I would always choose some crispy US bacon first, but I will gladly eat Canadian, British or German bacon. It's a tired meme but it is also my heartfelt truth.

But which Cadbury's would you pick?

I think that the Dairy Milk which is sold in the UK, but about 10% less sweet and with a touch less of one of the added flavorings, the slightly-cloying one which I'm guessing is vanillin, would sell like hotcakes in the US. And I would greatly enjoy my Reese's peanut butter cups enclosed in it (but they'd better not fuck with whatever that stuff is in there that they're calling "peanut butter"; that is sacred). I was curious about the Dairy Milk added flavorings questions and googled a FAQ and accidentally discovered this disturbing piece of info:

Q. Why can we get certain of your products only in the UK and not in the USA?

Cadbury products in the USA are manufactured and distributed under a franchise agreement by

Hershey Chocolate USA,
19 East Chocolate Avenue,
PO Box 819,
Hershey,
PA 17033-0819


"East Chocolate Avenue".
posted by Your Time Machine Sucks at 3:54 AM on April 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


Black pudding, chicken tikka masala, deep fried Mars bar, spoonful of heroin, and a swift kick to the genitals?


Actually that's called a Glasgow Breakfast. Usually served with a can of Super by John Smeaton.

(chicken tikka masala??)
posted by brautigan at 5:08 AM on April 20, 2008


Every British sausage I've ever had tasted mildly of fat, spoilage and nothingness

That's weird. But I will happily clarify that there are some desperately shit sausages in the Uk, and you do have to pick and choose to move up the scale. The scale, however, is significantly broader* in variety than the american version. The usual, chain pub food type, sausage in the UK is about a quarter of the way up. Although I may be spoiled in my experience, as the butcher friend of my father's that we always used to go to produced the prize winning sausages for the South of England (I forget which particular award) 8 years running, so maybe I have been lucky, and you unlucky?

The bacon (I acknowledge and applaud the 'all bacon is good bacon' sentiment) in the US is mostly fat, though. The percentage of meat/fat ratio is much in favour in the UK if you prefer the meat flavour and relative lack of sliminess.

But hey, this debate may rage for decades...



*Am I mixing whasserfores? Can scales be broad, or just tall?
posted by Brockles at 12:19 PM on April 20, 2008


That's great that you got such good sausages. Want to give me any tips for the next time I'm in London? I'd be up for giving it another try.

I think you'd probably be pretty pleased with the breadth of sausage varieties available in the US due to regional cuisines and ethnic enclaves if you got the whole experience, but there is always this 'now you see it/now you don't' phenomenon with food diversity in the US. If you know where to go, or the city or town makes a virtue of food adventurism, you'll encounter everything and the kitchen sink. If you spend a lot of time in suburbs, corporate parks and places oriented towards travelers, you'll often get the wonder bread equivalent of everything, because the strategies in those places are to make it inoffensive and interchangeable, and the distribution math doesn't work out as well for the manufacturers because the stores and resturants are less densely situated. I would definitely not be happy if I was used to prize-winning butcher sausages (which I effectively am, because the sausages where I live are pretty much invariably great) and found myself eating Jimmy Dean all the time.

I too am curious about those among my countryfolk who like their bacon non-crispy. For me, it has to be a rigid little curlicue of heaven, and therefore un-slimy, before I take an interest.
posted by Your Time Machine Sucks at 7:45 AM on April 21, 2008


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