What is a full breakfast? A full breakfast is a traditional cooked meal, typically and originally eaten at breakfast, though now often served at other times during the day (this is particularly true of the Ulster Fry).
The full breakfast traditionally comprises several fried foods, usually including bacon and eggs, (vegetarian alternatives exist) and is popular throughout the British Isles and other parts of the English-speaking world. Depending on where it is served, it is called:
- bacon and eggs, a fry, a fry up,
- full Irish breakfast, full Scottish breakfast,
The complement of the breakfast varies depending on the location and which of these descriptions is used.
Tradition: Bacon, eggs and capsicums frying on an electric barbecue, Jervis Bay, Australia- Many cafés and supermarkets serve the fry-up as an "all-day breakfast". The fry-up can be accompanied by orange juice and tea or coffee.
In hotels and bed-and-breakfasts, a full breakfast might include additional courses such as cereal, porridge, kippers, toast and jam or marmalade, kedgeree, or devilled kidneys. Fruit juice and dry cereal were added to the breakfast after 1950. The term "full breakfast" is used to differentiate between the larger multiple course breakfast, and the simpler continental breakfast of tea, coffee and fruit juices, with croissants or pastries.
Typical ingredients: The ingredients of a fry-up vary according to region and taste. The bacon, often called rashers, and eggs are traditionally fried, but grilled bacon, poached eggs, or scrambled eggs may be offered as alternatives. These are accompanied by toast or fried bread. Some of the additional ingredients that might be offered as part of a Full breakfast include:
- toast, fried bread, English muffins, or scones
- Soda Bread / Potato bread (Fadge) / French Toast /
- black pudding / white pudding /
- scrapple (in eastern Pennsylvania, USA)
- fried, grilled or tinned tomatoes
- sautéd potatoes or hash browns
- condiments such as brown sauce and ketchup
- pancakes (in the USA, Canada and Ireland)
- grits in the Southern United States
- biscuits (US-style, not British) and gravy (normally sausage gravy), also in the American South and never in the UK
Full Scottish breakfast
In Scotland, a square "sliced sausage" in the form of a patty slice, known as a Lorne sausage, Black Pudding, Fried Tomato, potato scones, oatcakes and fruit pudding might also be served, along with the foundation of Bacon and Eggs.
Full Welsh breakfast
The traditional Welsh breakfast include laverbread, a seaweed purée which is mixed with oatmeal, which is formed into patties and fried in bacon fat. Cockles are also often eaten.
Traditionally, people in Britain and Ireland have enjoyed a substantial hot meal for breakfast, featuring eggs, bacon, and sausages, accompanied by toast and tea or coffee. These items are sometimes eaten separately on morning rolls. Many other items (for example kedgeree, grilled or fried tomatoes, black pudding or white pudding, baked beans, fried sliced bread, various types of fried potatoes and mushrooms) may be included depending on taste and location. Today, this dish remains popular but is not usually served at breakfast time during the week. Many people instead reserve the full cooked breakfast for weekends, or go to a cafe for it at the weekend. A Full Breakfast is also a meal available any time at many cafes and greasy spoons. It is also served at hotels where it can be quite substantial in size and variety. The author Somerset Maugham once quipped that "the only way to eat well in England is to have breakfast three times a day."
This traditional cooked breakfast has largely been replaced by simple, light foods mainly eaten cold: fruit, yogurt, packaged cereal with cold milk, and toast with a variety of spreads such as butter, jam, marmalade, lemon curd, Marmite, or peanut butter. Boiled eggs with soldiers are also a popular breakfast meal in the UK although like the full English breakfast they are mainly eaten at the weekend. Porridge is a traditional breakfast in Scotland as well as the rest of Britain in the winter months. In most British hotels this breakfast is included in the room rate.
Another popular breakfast in England is the kipper, a type of salted, smoked herring that is then heated by grilling or frying.
However, times have progressed and due to the need for fast nourishment, cold breakfast foodstuffs such as commercial cereal brands (sugarpuffs, Cheerios, weetabix etc) are becoming the norm for many persons first meal of the day; the option of smoothies and yogurt has also became a popular choice in later years as well as French-influenced croissants as a sweet replacement to toast or crumpets.