History of breakfast

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Main article: Breakfast
A family breakfast in the Isan region of Thailand

Breakfast is the first meal taken after rising from a night's sleep, most often eaten in the early morning before undertaking the day's work.

The Old English word for dinner, "disner", in Old French, "disjejeunare", in Latin, actually means to break fast and was the first meal eaten in the day until its meaning shifted in the mid 13th century.[1] It was not until the 15th century that “breakfast” came into use in written English to describe a morning meal,[2]:6 which literally means to break the fasting period of the prior night; in Old English the term was morgenmete meaning "morning meal."[3]

Ancient breakfast[edit]

From archeological evidence at Neolithic sites we know that there was an early reliance on cereal grains once agriculture had begun. Neolithic peoples used stone querns to grind the hulled grains, then boiled them to make a kind of porridge.[4] The domesticating of crops is thought to have begun in the Fertile Crescent around 7000 BCE. Three of the eight so-called founder crops are cereals – emmer wheat, einkorn wheat, and barley.[5] Rye and oats were cultivated in Europe starting in the early Neolithic in Anatolia before spreading to the rest of Europe in the Iron age and Bronze Age.[6]

Ancient Egypt[edit]

Peasants ate a daily meal, most likely in the morning, consisting of beer, bread, and onions before they left for work in the fields or work commanded by the pharaohs.[7]

Ancient Greece[edit]

Main article: Ancient Greek cuisine

In Greek literature, Homer makes numerous mentions of ariston, a meal taken not long after sunrise. The Iliad notes this meal with regard to a labor-weary woodsman eager for a light repast to start his day, preparing it even as he is aching with exhaustion.[8] The opening prose of the 16th book of The Odyssey mentions breakfast as the meal being prepared in the morning before attending to one’s chores.[9] Eventually ariston was moved to around noon, and a new morning meal was introduced.

In the post-Homeric classical period of Greece, a meal called akratisma was typically consumed immediately after rising in the morning.[8] Akratisma or (ἀκρατισμός akratismos) consisted of barley bread dipped in wine (ἄκρατος akratos), sometimes complemented by figs or olives.[10] They also made pancakes called τηγανίτης (tēganitēs), ταγηνίτης (tagēnitēs)[11] or ταγηνίας (tagēnias),[12] all words deriving from τάγηνον (tagēnon), "frying pan".[13] The earliest attested references on tagenias are in the works of the 5th century BC poets Cratinus[14] and Magnes.[15]

Tagenites were made with wheat flour, olive oil, honey and curdled milk, and were served for breakfast.[16][17][18] Another kind of pancake was σταιτίτης (staititēs), from σταίτινος (staitinos), "of flour or dough of spelt",[19] derived from σταῖς (stais), "flour of spelt".[20] Athenaeus in his Deipnosophistae mentions staititas topped with honey, sesame and cheese.[21][22][23]

Ancient Rome[edit]

Romans called breakfast jentaculum (or ientaculum). It was usually composed of everyday staples like bread, cheese, olives, salad, nuts, raisins, and cold meat left over from the night before.[24] They also drank wine-based drinks such as mulsum, a mixture of wine, honey, and aromatic spices.[25] 1st century Latin poet Martial said that jetaculum was eaten at 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning, while 16th century scholar Caludius Saumaise wrote that it was typically eaten at 9:00 or 10:00 a.m. It seems unlikely that any fixed time was truly assigned for this meal.[26]

Roman soldiers woke up to a breakfast of pulmentus, porridge similar to the Italian polenta, made from roasted spelt wheat or barley that was then pounded and cooked in a cauldron of water.[27]

Middle Ages (500-1500)[edit]

Europe[edit]

Main article: Medieval cuisine
A baker with his assistant. As seen in the illustration, round loaves were among the most common.

In the European Middle Ages, breakfast was not usually considered a necessary and important meal, and was practically nonexistent during the earlier medieval period. Monarchs and their entourages would spend lots of time around a table for meals; however, only two formal meals were eaten per day—one at mid-day and one in the evening. The exact times varied by period and region, but this two-meal system remained consistent throughout the Middle Ages. The literal definition of breakfast is ‘breaking the fast’ of nighttime slumber, and many written accounts in the medieval period seem to reprimand eating in the morning.[2] The main pressure on admonishing breakfast was religion. The influential 13th century Dominican priest Thomas Aquinas wrote in his Summa Theologica (1265-1274) that breakfast committed “praepropere,” or the sin of eating too soon, which was associated with gluttony.[2] Overindulgences and gluttony was frowned upon and was considered boorish by the Catholic Church, as they presumed that if one ate breakfast, it was because one had other lusty appetites as well, such as ale or wine.

Breakfast in some times and places was solely granted to children, the elderly, the sick, and to working men. Anyone else did not speak of or partake in eating in the morning. Eating breakfast meant that one was poor, was a low-status farmer or laborer who truly needed the energy to sustain his morning’s labor, or was too weak to make it to the large, midday dinner.[28] Because medieval people saw gluttony as a sin and a sign of weakness, men were often ashamed of eating breakfast.[29]

Noble travelers were an exception, however, as they were also permitted to eat breakfast while they were away from home. For instance, in March of 1255 about 1512 gallons of wine were delivered to the English King Henry III at the abbey church at St. Albans for his breakfast throughout his trip. If a king were on religious pilgrimage, the ban on breakfast was completely lifted and enough supplies were compensated for the erratic quality of meals at the local cook shops during the trip.[30] In the 13th century, breakfast when eaten sometimes consisted of a piece of rye bread and a bit of cheese. Morning meals would not include any meat, but would likely include 1⁄4 gallon (1.1 L; 0.30 US gal) of low alcohol-content beers; and uncertain quantities of bread and ale could have been consumed in between meals.[31] By the 15th century it often included meat.[2] By this time, noble men were seen to indulge in breakfast, making it more of a common practice, and by the early 16th century, recorded expenses for breakfast became customary. The 16th-century introduction of caffeinated beverages into the European diet was part of the consideration to allow breakfast. It was believed that coffee and tea aid the body in “evacuation of superfluities,” and was consumed in the morning.[2]

Modern breakfast (1500-present)[edit]

Africa[edit]

Main article: African cuisine

Egypt[edit]

Main article: Egyptian cuisine

In the book The Bible cyclopædia (et al.) published in 1843, it was documented that Egyptians were early risers that sometimes had a first meal consisting of coffee along with the smoking of a pipe, and did not eat breakfast until noon.[32] At this time, it was documented that Egyptian breakfast foods included bread, cheese, eggs, butter, curds, clotted cream and stewed beans.[32]

In Egypt, fava beans (Ful Madamas) are an established national breakfast dish.[33]

Arab world[edit]

Main article: Arab cuisine

In the book The Bible cyclopædia (et al.) published in 1843, it was documented that during this time in the Arab world, Bedouins often utilized locusts mixed with butter for breakfast, spreading the mixture on unleavened bread.[34]

Europe[edit]

Main article: European cuisine

Austria[edit]

Main article: Austrian cuisine

The croissant appears to have originated in Vienna, Austria, in 1683.[35][36]

France[edit]

Main article: French cuisine

French breakfasts are often similar to what Americans call a continental breakfast.[37] French breakfast pastries include apple turnovers, brioche, croissant[38] and pain au chocolat.[39] Croissants have been described as becoming a standard fare in French breakfast cuisine by 1875.[38]

Great Britain[edit]

Main article: British cuisine
An English full breakfast with scrambled eggs, sausage, black pudding, bacon, mushrooms, baked beans, hash browns, and half a tomato

In the early sixteenth century, some physicians warned against eating breakfast, because they said it was not healthy to eat before a prior meal was digested.[40] By the 1550s, there were multiple sources claimed that breakfast was actually an essential, and necessary meal. For example, in 1551, Thomas Wingfield stated that breakfast was an essential meal. In 1589 Thomas Cogan stated that it was unhealthy to miss breakfast in the morning. He was one of the first to claim that it was healthy for those who were not young, ill or elders to eat breakfast.[41]

Prior to 1600, breakfast in Great Britain typically included bread, cold meat or fish, and ale.[42] Edward VII, King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions and Emperor of India from 1901 until his death in 1910, was fond of crêpes, and was reputed to have said that eating them would "reform a cannibal into a civilised gentleman".[43]

The full breakfast is a staple of British cuisine, and typically consists of bacon, sausages and eggs, often served with a variety of side dishes and a beverage such as coffee or tea.

Beverages[edit]

Tea, chocolate and coffee were introduced to Great Britain in the mid-1600s, and in the 1700s coffee and chocolate were adopted as breakfast drinks by the fashionable.[42] Tea eventually became more popular than chocolate as a breakfast drink.[42]

Netherlands[edit]

Main article: Dutch cuisine

The word waffle derives from the Dutch word "wafel", which itself derives from the Middle Dutch wafele.[44] The word "wafel" is likely the origin of the food as it is known today.[45]

In Islam[edit]

Iftar refers to the evening meal when Muslims break their sawm (fast) during the Islamic month of Ramadan. Iftar is one of the religious observances of Ramadan, and is often done as a community, with people gathering to break their fast together. Iftar is done right after Maghrib (sunset) time. Traditionally, three dates are eaten to break the fast, in the tradition of the prophet Muhammed, who broke his fast in this manner.

During the month of Ramadan, Muslims replace traditional breakfast with suhoor, an Islamic term referring to the meal consumed early in the morning by Muslims before sawm during daylight hours. The meal is eaten before fajr (dawn).[46] Traditional suhoor foods include bread, porridge or fruit, and the eating of dates as a part of suhoor is believed to have been recommended by the Prophet Muhammad.[47][48]

Middle East[edit]

Lebanon[edit]

Main article: Lebanese cuisine

In the book The Bible cyclopædia (et al.) it was documented that circa 1843, poor Lebanese people would consume raw leeks with bread for breakfast.[49]

North America[edit]

The first groups known to have produced maple syrup and maple sugar were indigenous peoples living in the northeastern part of North America. According to aboriginal oral traditions, as well as archaeological evidence, maple tree sap was being processed into syrup long before Europeans arrived in the region.[50][51]

Canada[edit]

Main article: Canadian cuisine
Lumberjack Breakfast[edit]
Lumberjacks

While it has been a source of controversy where the lumberjack breakfast came from, the most cited source is that the lumberjack breakfast was first served in a Vancouver Hotel, in 1870. The breakfast consisted of eggs galore, assorted fried pork strips, slabs, slices, and flapjacks. It is said by Anita Stewart (culinary author) that the tradition of hearty cooking developed because of men that needing the energy for manual labor.[52]

United States[edit]

Early in U.S. history, American pioneers consumed largely cornmeal-based breakfasts.[53] Common breakfast products included corn pone, Johnnycakes, ashcakes, hoe-cakes, and corn dodgers.[53] Ashcakes consisted of cornmeal wrapped in cabbage leaves cooked in the ashes of a campfire, while corn pone, corn dodgers, and hoe-cakes differed only in baking methods.[53][54]

In 1620, waffles were first given introduction to North America by pilgrims who had lived in the Netherlands.[55]

Bacon, egg and cheese sandwich

After the Civil War, it became fairly common in America to eat sandwiches that were made of ham and eggs. These sandwiches were not strictly consumed in the morning. In the 1897, the first true breakfast sandwich recipe was published in a cookbook.[56]

Breakfast cereal[edit]

Popcorn cereal was consumed by Americans in the 1800s, which typically consisted of popcorn with milk and a sweetener.[57] Cold breakfast cereal has been consumed by Americans since the late 1890s, and during the 1920s a considerable number of new cereals were marketed.[58] The reason for this movement towards cold breakfast cereals was inspired by the Jacksonian-era Clean Living Movement (1830-1860). This movement focused on a lot of lifestyle changes, but specific to breakfast it claimed that eating bacon, eggs, pancakes and hot coffee was too indulgent for oneself.[59] The first prepared cold breakfast cereal marketed to American consumers was created by Dr. John Harvey Kellogg, who introduced it in 1878 and named it granola.[60] The product was prepared with baked wheat, oatmeal and cornmeal, and was the first brand-name breakfast cereal in the United States.[60]

Asia[edit]

See also: Asian cuisine

Japan[edit]

In Japan, it is common to eat Miso soup, and rice soup (porridge hybrid jook) for breakfast.[61]

Beverages[edit]

In the United States, canned fruit juice became prominent as a breakfast beverage after the discovery of vitamins.[62] Circa 1900, orange juice as a breakfast beverage was a new concept.[60] The development of frozen orange juice concentrate began in 1915, and in the 1930s it was produced by several companies.[63] Additionally, mass-produced tomato juice began to be marketed in the mid-1920s, and became a popular breakfast drink a few years thereafter.[58]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Albala, Ken (2002). Hunting for Breakfast in Medieval and Early Modern Europe. Devon, UK. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Anderson, Heather Arndt (2013). Breakfast: A History. AltaMira Press. ISBN 0759121656
  3. ^ "Breakfast". Etymonline.com. Retrieved February 2, 2013. 
  4. ^ Katz, Solomon, ed. (2003). Encyclopedia of Food and Culture 1. New York, NY: Charles Scriber's Son. p. 244. ISBN 0-684-80565-0. 
  5. ^ Dorian, Fuller (2007). Contrasting Patterns in Crop Domestication and Domestication Rates: Recent Archaebotanical Insights from the Old World. 
  6. ^ Behre, Karl Ernst (1992). "The History of Rye Cultivation in Europe". Vegetation History and Archaeobotany 3. 
  7. ^ Alcock, Joan (2006). Food in the Ancient World. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. p. 181. ISBN 0-313-33003-4. 
  8. ^ a b Anderson, pg 9
  9. ^ Homer, The Odyssey (London: Macmillan, 2005), 265
  10. ^ Flacelière, p.205.
  11. ^ ταγηνίτης, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, on Perseus
  12. ^ ταγηνίας, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, on Perseus
  13. ^ τάγηνον, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, on Perseus
  14. ^ Cratinus, 125, Comicorum Atticorum Fragmenta
  15. ^ Magnes, 1
  16. ^ Eugenia Salza Prina Ricotti, Meals and recipes from ancient Greece, J. Paul Getty Museum, 2007, p.111
  17. ^ Andrew Dalby, Siren feasts: a history of food and gastronomy in Greece, Routledge, 1996, p.91
  18. ^ Gene A. Spiller, The Mediterranean diets in health and disease, AVI/Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1991, p.34
  19. ^ σταίτινος, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, on Perseus
  20. ^ σταῖς, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, on Perseus
  21. ^ Atheneaus, The Deipnosophists, 646b, on Perseus
  22. ^ Andrew Dalby, Food in the ancient world from A to Z, Routledge, 2003, p.71
  23. ^ Athenaeus and S. Douglas Olson, The Learned Banqueters, Volume VII: Books 13.594b-14, Loeb Classical Library, 2011, pp.277-278
  24. ^ Albalam. Hunting for Breakfast. p. 20. 
  25. ^ H.T. Riley (1852). The Comedies of Plautus. London: Henry G. Bohn. 
  26. ^ Becker (1844). Roman Scenes of the Time of Augustus; With Notes and Excursus Illustrative of the Manners and Customs of the Romans. London: John w. Parker. p. 357. 
  27. ^ Encyclopedia of Food and Culture, vol 1, pg 244
  28. ^ P.W. Hammond (1993). Food & Feast in Medieval England. Phoenix Mill: Alan Sutton. 
  29. ^ C.W. Bynum (1987). Holy feast and holy fast: The religious significance of food to medieval women. Berkeley: University of California Press. 
  30. ^ Collin Spencer (2002). British Food: an Extraordinary Thousand Years of History. New York: Columbia University Press. 
  31. ^ M.A. Hicks (2001). Revolution and consumption in late medieval England. Woodbridge: Boydell Press. 
  32. ^ a b Goodhugh; Cooke Taylor 1843, p. 843.
  33. ^ Bsisu, May (2005). The Arab Table: Recipes and Culinary Traditions. HarperCollins. p. 105. ISBN 0060586141
  34. ^ Goodhugh; Cooke Taylor 1843, p. 779.
  35. ^ Calvel, Raymond (2001). The Taste of Bread. Springer. p. 141. ISBN 0834216469
  36. ^ Scott-Hamilton, Carolyn (2012). The Healthy Voyager's Global Kitchen: 150 Plant-Based Recipes From Around the World. Fair Winds. p. 115. ISBN 1610581741
  37. ^ Kittler, Pamela Goyan; Sucher, Kathryn P. (2007). Food and Culture. Cengage Learning. p. 151. ISBN 049511541X
  38. ^ a b Clarke, Stephen (2012). 1000 Years of Annoying the French. Open Road Media. p. (unlisted). ISBN 1453243585
  39. ^ Edelstein, Sari (2010). Food, Cuisine, and Cultural Competency for Culinary, Hospitality, and Nutrition Professionals. Jones & Bartlett Learning. p. 138. ISBN 0763759651
  40. ^ Lind, L. R. (1988). On the Care of the Aged; and Maximianus, Elegies on Old Age and Love. Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society. p. 247. 
  41. ^ Albala. Hunting for Breakfast. p. 25. 
  42. ^ a b c Mason, Laura (2004). Food Culture In Great Britain. pp. 34-35. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. ISBN 031332798X
  43. ^ Clay, Xanthe (February 17, 2007). "With a flame in your art". The Telegraph. Retrieved 2013-04-09. 
  44. ^ "Definition of waffle". Merriam-Webster. Retrieved 2013-04-09. 
  45. ^ Duda, Carlene (2007). Beyond Oatmeal: 101 Breakfast Recipes. Cedar Fort. p. 83. ISBN 1599550180.
  46. ^ "BBC — Schools — Religion — Islam". Retrieved 11 April 2010 
  47. ^ Schmidt, Arno; Fieldhouse, Paul (2007). The world religions cookbook. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 167. ISBN 0313335044
  48. ^ Salih Al - Munajjid, Sheikh Muhammad (2004). Seventy Matters pertaining to Fasting سبعون مسئلة في الصيام. Islamic Books. pp. 10-11. ISBN Islamic Books
  49. ^ Goodhugh; Cooke Taylor 1843, p. 755.
  50. ^ Ciesla 2002, pp. 37, 104.
  51. ^ "History". Michigan Maple Syrup Association. Retrieved 20 November 2010. 
  52. ^ "Big Breakfasts, Dinner Dates, Fish & the Dishes Read more: Lumberjack Breakfast - Origin of the Term Lumberjack Breakfast". Esquire. Retrieved 8 October 2013. 
  53. ^ a b c "History Of Breakfast In America". The Early Show. CBS. November 6, 2009. Retrieved 10 April 2013. 
  54. ^ Hundley, Daniel R (1860). Henry B. Price, ed. Social Relations in Our Southern States. New York. p. 87. 
  55. ^ Serna-Saldivar, Sergio O. (2012). Cereal Grains: Laboratory Reference and Procedures Manual. CRC Press. p. 270. ISBN 143985565X
  56. ^ Cook, Maud C. (1897). Breakfast, Dinner, and Supper, or What to Eat and How to Prepare it. Philadelphia: J. H. Moore. p. 328. 
  57. ^ Smith, Andrew F. (1999). Popped Culture: The Social History of Popcorn in America. Univ of South Carolina Press. pp. 57-59. ISBN 1570033005
  58. ^ a b Drowne, Kathleen Morgan; Huber, Patrick (2004). Nineteen Twenties. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 122. ISBN 0313320136.
  59. ^ Lincoln, Mary Johnson (1884). Mrs. Lincoln's Boston Cook Book: What To Do and What Not To Do in Cooking. Boston: Roberts Bros. p. 110. 
  60. ^ a b c Sivulka 2011, pp. 87-90.
  61. ^ Kenney-Herbert, Arthur (1885). "Culinary Jottings For Madras". Culinary Jottings, a Treatise for Anglo-Indian Exiles (1). 
  62. ^ Smith, Andrew F. (2007). The Oxford Companion to American Food and Drink. Oxford University Press. p. 69. ISBN 0195307968.
  63. ^ Smith, Andrew F. (2013). Drinking History: Fifteen Turning Points in the Making of American Beverages. Columbia University Press. p. (unlisted). ISBN 0231530994

Bibliography[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • History of breakfast
  • History of breakfast cereal
  • Other sources