Bangers and Beans and Toast, Oh My!
April 22, 2010 6:41 AM   Subscribe

The Full English: "[...]a mad, bad, salt-soaked road trip from culinary heaven to hell and back"
posted by Secret Life of Gravy (48 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
Great read. Time for breakfast.
posted by Splunge at 7:06 AM on April 22, 2010


I thought socialized medicine inevitably led to a nanny state where bacon is an illegal Schedule I food.
posted by xthlc at 7:06 AM on April 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


I don't know what brain cakes are, but I am pretty sure I don't want them.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 7:08 AM on April 22, 2010


So far so good, but what are rashers?
posted by pwally at 7:08 AM on April 22, 2010


...and a cute bubble of meat that turns out to be a lamb’s kidney. Bless.

Bless indeed. That sounds offal.
posted by molecicco at 7:11 AM on April 22, 2010 [8 favorites]


I thought that was the 'Irish Breakfast.'
posted by jonmc at 7:16 AM on April 22, 2010


Rashers are slices of bacon.

Also, while kidneys for breakfast is not my cup of tea, my real nightmare is kippers-- smoked fish. I hate fish and the thought of fish for breakfast makes me want to close my eyes and go lie down somewhere.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 7:18 AM on April 22, 2010


A favourite in Ireland is the 'breakfast roll' - basically one of these breakfasts shoved into a baguette.
posted by kersplunk at 7:24 AM on April 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Also, I will happily go all Pepsi Blue for Superquinn sausages and Clonakilty pudding.
posted by kersplunk at 7:24 AM on April 22, 2010


Nice article. I like the ending - very English. Reminds me of the Billy Bragg song: England, Half English.
posted by handee at 7:37 AM on April 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm building up the courage to attempt constructing a full English breakfast prison loaf. All the artery-clogging fun of a fry-up in convenient loaf form!
posted by RokkitNite at 7:38 AM on April 22, 2010


Rashers are slices of bacon.

ohhhh... okay I want that then.
posted by pwally at 7:46 AM on April 22, 2010


And they come to Ikea, in great numbers, for a modern miracle: the Full English breakfast for 99p.

...I want to go to there
posted by oinopaponton at 7:46 AM on April 22, 2010


Black puddings are the stars of the show for me. I love those little guys.
posted by snottydick at 7:50 AM on April 22, 2010


I thought that was the 'Irish Breakfast.'
posted by jonmc at 7:16 AM on April 22 [+] [!]


That's the power of marketing for you.

The concept that any kind of good, tasty, satisfying food could be English in origin is too laden with inaccurate cultural stereotyping to be of much value in branding in the US, so in its place, American restaurant marketing instead turns to the warm, cuddly "down home" culinary associations of the Emerald Isle to sell bacon, eggs, and sausage links, despite the fact that, you know, it's pretty much the same thing.
posted by kcds at 7:59 AM on April 22, 2010


American restaurant marketing instead turns to the warm, cuddly "down home" culinary associations of the Emerald Isle to sell bacon, eggs, and sausage links, despite the fact that, you know, it's pretty much the same thing.

Really? Outside of explicitly Irish themed places, I don't think I've ever seen a reference to an Irish breakfast in an American restaurant. Bacon, eggs, and sausage links? Where I'm from we just call that "breakfast."
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 8:04 AM on April 22, 2010


I like the Scottish version with tattie scones. Nomina.
posted by like_neon at 8:07 AM on April 22, 2010


I am reading this article WHILE EATING BACON.

In the top five meals I've ever had in my life, the first time I had a full English while in England has to be one of them. I love breakfast so much, I can't even.
posted by Tesseractive at 8:13 AM on April 22, 2010


Really? Outside of explicitly Irish themed places, I don't think I've ever seen a reference to an Irish breakfast in an American restaurant. Bacon, eggs, and sausage links? Where I'm from we just call that "breakfast."

The Greek diner* down the street has a sign saying 'We Have Irish Breakfast' in the window and it was eggs any style, fried tomato, homefries, Irish bacon, Irish sausage, and black and white pudding. FWIW.

*it's Queens. I live in a predominantly Greek area abutting a predominantly Irish one.</small.
posted by jonmc at 8:24 AM on April 22, 2010


...I want to go to there

Having eaten the Ikea Full English a couple of times I can assure you that you don't.
posted by ninebelow at 8:24 AM on April 22, 2010


It can't be that bad if you've eaten the Ikea Full English a couple of times.
posted by Comrade_robot at 8:27 AM on April 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


Sometimes you just can't face meatballs and jam first thing in the morning. Plus: 99p!

You tend to get white pudding and fried potato (which I'm guessing are home fries?) in a Full Irish but not a Full English. I do love a Full English but these days I usually only have one if I'm staying in a hotel. Obligatory link to the London Review of Breakfasts. (My own favourite breakfast destination in London is Ottlenghi which means I've left honest greasy spoons behind and turned into a bloody yuppie...)
posted by ninebelow at 8:33 AM on April 22, 2010


Also, whenever this article refers to bacon, it is referring to this kind. Full on bacon, none of this strips of meat and fat rubbish (although it is delicious when crispy).
posted by djgh at 8:34 AM on April 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


To clarify, Irish breakfast, Full English, Ulster fry etc. are all variations on a theme - doner, gyros, shwarma etc - there's no definitive name, or ingredients, for that matter.
posted by kersplunk at 8:37 AM on April 22, 2010


Oh good god, so hungry...
posted by infinitywaltz at 8:45 AM on April 22, 2010


I'll see your Full English and raise you a pizza.
posted by Splunge at 8:50 AM on April 22, 2010


There's a lot more to this article than just discussion of bacon and sausages - it's definitely worth a read.

I liked this part. Such a great antidote to the high levels of anti-immigrant talk at the moment:

“My parents are from Kashmir,” says Ali. “I am an Asian. I am an Englishman. I am a Yorkshireman. I am proud of all those identities. Anyone who has a problem with that has to get over it. What we’re doing here is celebrating the new Englishness.”

Academics are fascinated by Cafe Lahore, and have written papers based on what is served here before dawn during Ramadan. They call it the Full Muslim. The devout come to fill up before the daylight fast, with an Asian twist on the English breakfast. No pork, obviously, but an omelette served with a spicy version of baked beans, keema parathas and puri to scoop up a sweet mix of semolina, coconut and cardamom.

“I don’t drink alcohol,” says Ali, but some of the white lads in the place look as if they do. They’re sitting, laughing, with Asian teenagers, which is supposed to be a rare sight in this country...

What we’re looking at in Lahore is the future of England. If we’re lucky.

posted by Infinite Jest at 8:59 AM on April 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


MetaFilter: anchovies, bloaters, brain cakes, caviare, cold tongue, devilled bones and dried sprats.
posted by The Bellman at 9:12 AM on April 22, 2010


Goodness Gracious Me: It wouldn't be a Friday night if we didn't go for an English!
posted by anthill at 9:12 AM on April 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


I thought an Irish Breakfast was a six pack and a potato.
posted by rainbaby at 9:14 AM on April 22, 2010


The Full Muslim sounds wonderful.
posted by Forktine at 9:15 AM on April 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


It is my understanding that the inclusion of white pudding & soda bread differentiate the Irish breakfast from the English.
posted by anagrama at 9:16 AM on April 22, 2010


I thought an Irish Breakfast was a six pack and a potato.

No, that's a "seven course Irish dinner."
posted by infinitywaltz at 9:18 AM on April 22, 2010 [4 favorites]


and it's been years since we've bothered with the potato.
posted by jonmc at 9:20 AM on April 22, 2010


“My parents are from Kashmir,” says Ali. “I am an Asian. I am an Englishman. I am a Yorkshireman. I am proud of all those identities. Anyone who has a problem with that has to get over it. What we’re doing here is celebrating the new Englishness.”

This is the England I fell in love with and miss, having lived away from there for the last three years. I have English friends who can't stand the perceived closed-mindedness of England and have vowed never to return. What I witnessed was the complete opposite: everyone was too busy being English (or, well, Londoners) to put too much weight into their half-Korean, half-Swedish, half-Iranian, half-Jamaican, half-pick-a-place-any-place ancestry. I can't say what the upper and lower classes are becoming, but the middle class feels like it is becoming homogeneous by virtue of being so heterogeneous.

Also, I'm thankful that I have access to a true full English only once every three months or so when I visit. Absence makes the heart grow fonder. And allows the ruptured arteries time to recover...
posted by slimepuppy at 9:35 AM on April 22, 2010


Secret Life of Gravy:Also, while kidneys for breakfast is not my cup of tea, my real nightmare is kippers-- smoked fish. I hate fish and the thought of fish for breakfast makes me want to close my eyes and go lie down somewhere.

Kidneys for breakfast are fine, but one of the finest pleasures that this life has to offer is kippers for breakfast. Or rather, a specific variety: the Arbroath Smokie. I grew up about 20-odd miles from Arbroath, and ate them pretty regularly. Heading to Arbroath on a Saturday morning and eating smokies which had been in the sea no less than three or four hours before gorging on them, while sitting on the harbour wall and watching the ships head off into the North Sea, as the sun shines down, is one of nature's finest hangover cures.

On the fry-up front, I prefer the full Scottish: pretty much the same as the full English but with added lard-based puddings, potato scone and square (aka Lorne) sausage. Irn Bru chaser optional, but not my personal preference. (That's a Bloody Mary, plenty of spice, please, made with chili vodka if you've got it.)
posted by Len at 9:42 AM on April 22, 2010


Man, I loves me a full Irish. I order it everywhere I go that serves it, whether it's breakfast time or not, whether I'm already drunk or not. The first one I had was at an Irish bar in San Francisco--I'm pretty sure it was Ireland's 32--that I'd picked out of a travel guide, not knowing that it was run by IRA supporters; not only did they have posters of Bobby Sands on the wall, but also had framed handkerchiefs that had apparently been smuggled out of British prisons by wives and girlfriends that featured IRA art and slogans. This would have been back in '92.
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:50 AM on April 22, 2010


Under those chandeliers, Big Dave suddenly treats the remaining staff in the dining room to high-decibel excerpts from a one-man opera. His boss teases him in a very un-PC way — “I am banning all poofters from this hotel” — then tells me: “Being very English is quite a rebellious, anti-Establishment thing to do now, because the Establishment has become the world of political correctness.”

It's true, it really IS rebellious to support the sneering bigotry of the moneyed elite! Darn those PC police telling the wealthy old-boys network to stop shitting on everyone!
posted by FatherDagon at 10:13 AM on April 22, 2010


There is generally a difference between the regional variants of British (and Irish) breakfasts.

In common, they all have bacon, sausages, and eggs (BSE from here on in). Tomatoes and/or mushrooms often feature.

The Full English is generally BSE, toast, tomatoes/mushrooms maybe, often baked beans, and often black pudding. Hash browns are becoming more common.

A Scottish breakfast tends to be BSE (though a square sausage patty, rather than links), black pudding, toast, and a tattie scone. Often tomatoes/mushrooms, sometimes beans. If you're lucky, haggis too.

A Irish breakfast is pretty similar to a Scottish breakfast, but features tater bread in place of a tattie scone (basically the same thing) and some sort of farl in place of toast (soda bread or wheaten bread, cooked on a gridle), and often has white pudding as well.

None of these are definitive, mind, and there are regional variations as well. But generally speaking, those are (roughly) the tendencies.
posted by Dysk at 10:59 AM on April 22, 2010


BSE? Really?
posted by slimepuppy at 11:07 AM on April 22, 2010


Full English Breakfast = KFC Double Down x 2

Why do you hate your colon so much? WHY?!?!
posted by blue_beetle at 11:33 AM on April 22, 2010


Father Dagon, it's great when people say: "Being very English is quite a rebellious, anti-Establishment thing to do now, because the Establishment has become the world of political correctness", just like it's great when people say: "Did you know that white males are the most discriminated against group in society these days?". Because it's just as if they were wearing a t-shirt or a special big pointy hat with writing on it which says 'I'm a tedious arsehole, stop wasting a second longer of your precious, beautiful life talking to me'.

Soda farls or potato bread are fantastic with a good breakfast. Hash browns, I dunno, it just feels wrong, like coffee does instead of tea with it.

For more breakfast goodness I recommend Eggbaconchipsandbeans.

I love breakfast. So much. All kinds. Or at least, of the ones that are bad for you and make you die, sadly. The breakfasts made out of industrial packaging and bits of wood, not so much.
posted by reynir at 12:00 PM on April 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


I hate fish and the thought of fish for breakfast makes me want to close my eyes and go lie down somewhere.

What you are feeling is called "Morning"
posted by srboisvert at 12:30 PM on April 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


slimepuppy, you noticed!
posted by Dysk at 2:38 PM on April 22, 2010


The feeling slimepuppy talks about is the sentiment in the Billy Bragg song I linked earlier. I'm not a massive fan of his music (although he's excellent live - the first two times I saw him it was kinda by accident but now I'll actively seek him out).

But his recent analysis of Englishness has been very thoughtful.

"My breakfast was half-English
And so am I you know
I had a plate of Marmite soldiers
Washed down with a cappuccino
And I have a veggie curry about once a week
The next day I fry it up as ‘Bubble ‘N’ Squeak’
‘Cos my appetite’s half-English
And I’m half-English too
"
~England, half-English, Billy Bragg

I've been away from England for about a year now and it's really made me realise how Britain's multicultural heritage has changed (and in my opinion enriched) general life. I mean, I go out with my nan for a pub lunch, and she orders chicken tikka masala. She'll do a mean Irish breakfast though.
posted by handee at 3:13 PM on April 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Without pancakes, it isn't "full".
posted by Goofyy at 10:03 PM on April 22, 2010


I have a can of low fat soup and an apple for lunch tonight. I hate all of you.

My father (and his parents) introduced me and baby sis to eating things like steak, sardines, baked beans on toast, eggs, fried potatoes w/cheese, etc. for breakfast. Recently, I introduced him to scotch eggs w/fried slice and beans. He found that too rich.
posted by crataegus at 10:21 PM on April 22, 2010


My £850 suite is nice enough

He should have gone to Lidl!

I only eat cooked breakfast when I'm in a hotel, though I love a couple of soft boiled eggs and soldiers for a special weekend treat now and again. Ovoid gorgeousness.
posted by mippy at 9:42 AM on April 23, 2010


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