A Brief History of The Full English Breakfast

Weekends in Britain simply wouldn’t be the same without the smell of fry ups floating on the air of cafes up and down the nation. Whether traditional or vegetarian, filling a plate full of oily food for breakfast has become a national pastime for most of us. However, where did this breakfast tradition come from and how has it captured our affections? Here we take a brief look at the history of the great full English breakfast.

Origins

The history of the famous fry-up dates back to the 13th century and has been passed down for generations by hungry Brits. First popularised and eaten by the landed gentry in rural Britain, the humble fry up was eaten by those of a very high social class and great wealth. The gentry saw themselves as the natural heirs to their Anglo-Saxon forefathers and lived in large rural manor houses, with their land. Famed for their hospitality, this rural class would display their wealth through the spread of food they put out for people. Using traditional Anglo-Saxon ingredients and cooking methods, this display of wealth was the birth of one of England’s greatest dishes.

The Full English During The Victorian and Edwardian Eras

The full English remained a staple of the landed gentry for centuries until the make-up of social classes began to change with the Industrial Revolution. During this period, wealthy merchants and industrialists became the higher social class – especially in cities like London. This class of newly rich people looked to the gentry for inspiration on how to act and saw the traditional breakfast as something to emulate.

By the Edwardian era, a standardised recipe began to emerge and the breakfast tradition extended to the middle class as well as the upper class.

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