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A full breakfast is a breakfast meal, usually consisting of bacon, sausages and eggs, often served with a variety of side dishes and a beverage such as coffee or tea. It is especially popular in the UK and Ireland and in UK-influenced cultures, including the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and South Africa. It is sometimes referred to as an English breakfast or a "full English breakfast". Sometimes it may be shortened to "full English" or "fry-up". The phrase "full breakfast" differentiates it from the European Continental breakfast, traditionally consisting of tea, milk or coffee and fruit juices with bread, croissants or pastries.
A full breakfast is regarded as a staple of traditional UK and Irish cuisine. Many British and Irish cafés and pubs serve the meal at any time as an "all-day breakfast". Other common names for the dish reflect UK and Irish locality and produce and include the full Scottish, full Welsh, full Irish and the Ulster fry.
Common foods and dishes
Britain and Ireland
The traditional Cornish breakfast includes hog's pudding and Cornish potato cakes (made with mashed potatoes mixed with flour and butter and then fried), or fried potatoes alongside the usual bacon, sausage, tomato, mushrooms, egg and toast. In the past traditional Cornish breakfasts have included pilchards and herring, or gurty pudding, a Cornish dish similar to haggis, not to be confused with gurty milk, another Cornish breakfast dish made with bread and milk.
A traditional full English breakfast includes bacon (traditionally back bacon), poached or fried eggs, fried or grilled tomatoes, fried mushrooms, fried bread or toast with butter, sausages and baked beans, usually served with a mug of tea. As nearly everything is fried in this meal, it is commonly called a "fry-up".
Black pudding is often added, as are fried leftover mashed potatoes (called potato cakes) or hash browns (borrowed from the cuisine of the United States). Originally a way to use up leftover vegetables from the main meal of the day before, bubble and squeak, shallow-fried left-over vegetables with potato, has become a breakfast feature in its own right. Onions, either fried or in rings, occasionally appear. In the North Midlands, fried or grilled oatcakes sometimes replace fried bread. When an English breakfast is ordered with everything available it is often referred to as a Full English, or a Full Monty.
In Ireland, as elsewhere, the exact constituents of a full breakfast vary, depending on geographical area, personal taste and cultural affiliation. Traditionally, the most common ingredients are bacon rashers, sausages, fried eggs, white pudding, black pudding, toast and fried tomato. Sauteed mushrooms are also sometimes included, as well as baked beans, liver (although popularity has declined), and brown soda bread. A full Irish breakfast may be accompanied by a strong Irish breakfast tea (such as Barry's Tea, Lyons Tea or Bewley's breakfast blend) often served with milk. Fried potato farl, boxty or toast is sometimes served as an alternative to brown soda bread.
The "breakfast roll", consisting of elements of the full breakfast served in a French roll, has become popular due to the fact it can be easily eaten on the way to school or work, similar to the breakfast burrito in the United States. The breakfast roll is available from many petrol stations and convenience stores throughout Ireland.
An Ulster fry is a dish similar to the Irish breakfast and is popular throughout Ulster, where it is eaten not only at breakfast time but throughout the day.
In Scotland, the full breakfast, as with others, contains eggs, back bacon, link sausage, buttered toast, baked beans, and tea or coffee. Distinctively Scottish elements include Scottish style black pudding, sliced sausage, and tattie scones. It commonly also includes fried or grilled tomato and/or mushrooms and occasionally haggis, white pudding, fruit pudding or oatcakes. As with other breakfasts it has become more common, especially within the home, to grill the meats, puddings and tomatoes and to only fry the eggs and tattie scones. Another more historical Scottish breakfast is porridge and may occasionally be served as a starter.
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The style of breakfast has carried over to the US and Canada, though continental breakfast foods are also popular. A full breakfast in these countries often consists of eggs, meat such as bacon, ham, sausage, scrapple (US only), pork roll (US only), Spam, steak or country fried steak (US only), and grits (US only) or fried potatoes such as hash browns or home fries. Accompanying the meal might be toasted white, wheat or rye bread, English muffins, bagels, waffles, pancakes, oatmeal, cinnamon rolls, biscuits, fruit or fruit juice and beverages such as coffee or tea.
Some of the foods that may be included in a full breakfast are:
- eggs; fried, poached, scrambled or in a basket
- fried or grilled bacon, also referred to as "rashers" or "slices"
- sausages or sausage patties
- white pudding
- black pudding
- kidneys, grilled or fried
- potato, either sautéed or served as chips, potato waffles, potato bread, potato cake, or hash browns
- bread, usually toasted or fried
- soda bread (common in Ireland, and available in both white and brown varieties)
- baked beans
- bubble and squeak
- fried mushrooms
- fried, grilled, or tinned tomatoes
- oatcakes (in Scotland)
- fruit pudding (in Scotland)
- potato (or "tattie") scones (in Scotland and Ireland)
- sliced sausage, also known as Lorne sausage (in Scotland)
- laverbread (in Wales)
- grilled smoked mackerel/kippers
- cockles (in Wales)
- hog's pudding (in Cornwall and Devon)
- corned beef hash (in the United States)
- grits (in the US)
- scrapple (in the US)
- English muffins or biscuits (in the US)
- Builder's tea
- Greasy spoon
- English breakfast tea
- Irish breakfast tea
- List of breakfast topics
- List of Irish dishes
- "Could a fry-up be good for you?". Daily Mail. Retrieved 26 February 2014.
- "The full English". Jamieoliver.com. Retrieved 26 February 2014.
- "Traditional Scottish Food". Visit Scotland. Retrieved 26 February 2014.
- Rowland, Paul (25 October 2005). "So what is a 'full Welsh breakfast'?". Wales Online. Retrieved 26 February 2014.
- Bell, James (29 January 2014). "How to... Cook the perfect Ulster Fry". Belfast Telegraph. Retrieved 26 February 2014.
- Mary Maddock. "Cornish Potato Cake Recipe – Cornish Recipes". Greenchronicle.com. Retrieved 20 January 2013.
- [dead link]
- The Ladies' Companion, December 1854, The Mercy of the Winter's Waves, (A Christmas Tale), by Silverpen.
- The Wordsworth Dictionary of Culinary & Menu Terms, Rodney Dale, 2000
- "The Traditional Full English Breakfast". The English Breakfast Society. Retrieved 20 January 2013.
- "Traditional Irish Breakfast recipe from". Food Ireland. Retrieved 20 January 2013.
- Traditional Irish Breakfast recipe from Barry's Tea
- Gerald, Paul (12 July 2012). "The Full English". Memphis Flyer (Contemporary Media, Inc.). Retrieved 30 July 2012. "The Irish might have soda bread, a potato pancake called boxty, white pudding (what you're used to, but with oatmeal in it) or black pudding (the same, but with blood cooked in)."
- McDonald, Brian (12 May 2008). "Top breakfast baguette rolls into Irish history". Irish Independent. Retrieved 30 July 2012.
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=IRJkufTjcQk#t=9 (image shown from 7 second until 10 second mark)
- Gerald, Paul (12 July 2012). "The Full English". Memphis Flyer (Contemporary Media, Inc.). Retrieved 30 July 2012. "The Scots like to have tattie (potato) scones, fruit pudding (actually a sausage made with very little fruit), and, of course, their curse on the earth, haggis."
- Elizabeth Foyster, Christopher A. Whatley (2009). A History of Everyday Life in Scotland, 1600 to 1800. Edinburgh University Press. p. 139.
- Alan Davidson and Tom Jaine (2006). The Oxford companion to food. Oxford University Press. p. 185.
- Brewer, E. Cobham. Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase & Fable. New York: Harper & Brothers. p. 812.
- Welsh Government. "Wales.com – Food". Government of Wales. Retrieved 30 July 2012. "Laverbread, not actually bread at all but seaweed, is rolled in oatmeal, fried into crisp patties and served with eggs, bacon and fresh cockles for a traditional Welsh breakfast."
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- The full English breakfast from the English Breakfast Society.
- Stress-free full English breakfast
- Ulster Fry and Eggs recipe
- Why the great British breakfast is a killer(subscription required)