Until I went to Great Britain last summer, I didn’t even realize there was a traditional full English breakfast. I always just assumed the British, Irish and Scottish all ate exactly what we do — bacon, eggs, waffles, pancakes, etc. Apparently, that was just me being a stupid tourist.
I was first introduced to a traditional full English breakfast in Kilkenny, Ireland. My mom and I walked into this restaurant and aside from a case full of pastries, there was just one thing on the menu – a full breakfast. Since I was hungry, there were no other options, and I wanted to eat like the Irish — I dove right in (not knowing what was included).
A traditional full English breakfast consists of poached or fried eggs, bacon (which is more like a thin slice of ham — not the bacon we’re used to in America), sausage, baked beans, a fried or grilled tomato, and white and black pudding. Depending on where you are, there are also sautéed mushrooms (my breakfast in Kilkenny didn’t include them, but my breakfast in London did). It’s a massive amount of food.
I didn’t know what white and black pudding were all about, I was just going to eat them no matter what. A few minutes into breakfast, one of the workers came up to our table and asked me, “How come you haven’t tried the blood pudding?” I wasn’t exactly sure what she was talking about, so I gave her a quizzical look. She pointed down to the black pudding and said, “That’s blood pudding.” That was the last thing I ever wanted to know. After that, I was hesitant to give it a try (I have a weird thing about eating blood). I finally gave it a try though, and I wound up eating the whole thing of black pudding (although I’m pretty sure I held my breath for the last few bites). It wasn’t the best thing I’ve ever tasted, but I honestly wonder if I would have liked it if I didn’t know it was blood pudding? I guess I’ll never know the answer to that.
The traditional full English breakfast I had (in Kilkenny and London) was a little bland, but it was still good. I just remember being really, really full when I was done. There’s quite a bit of food to consume. I’m heading back to London this summer and I won’t hesitate to have another traditional full English breakfast when I’m there. In fact, I might do some research to find out who serves the best in the city. When in Rome (or London), right?
The really cool part is, you can make a traditional full English breakfast at home. Aside from the white and black pudding (which I’m not sure are easily found in America), you can get all the ingredients you need at your local store. If you really want to make it traditional, buy back bacon (aka Irish or Canadian bacon) instead the bacon you typically have for breakfast. Don’t forget the baked beans! That’s one of the things that makes a full English breakfast unique.
You have to eat a traditional full English breakfast when you’re in Great Britain. If you don’t have plans to travel abroad, then you should cook one at home. It’s always fun to step outside of what you know and try something different. In this case, it’s not that much different than what we normally have in the States, but it still gives you a feel for how other people eat around the world.
Have you ever tried a traditional full English breakfast? What did you think of it? I would love to hear from you! Please leave a comment below or connect with me on Facebook, Twitter and Google+. Don’t forget to also check out http://allaroundtim.com for more on the world of food, sports and music!