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Sunday, 26 May 2013



The word breakfast was coined due to the fact that after sleeping for hours, we are "breaking our fast."

Breakfast for most Ancient Greeks was a hot porridge made from cereal.

The ancient Greeks served at breakfast watered down wine to a constituency of three parts of water to one part of wine. As it spoiled easily, often cheese, herbs, honey or other flavorings were added to enhance its taste and the Greeks often liked to dip their bread into the drink. Indeed the Greek term akratidzomai meaning “to breakfast,” literally translates as “to drink undiluted wine.”

For upper class Romans in Britain, the day began with a light breakfast of bread and fruit whilst wealthy citizens in Rome started the day with such items as bean meal mash and unleavened bread-cakes.

The wealthy section of the Roman population generally drank water for breakfast that was either warm or cooled with snow.

In Old English the word “disner” from which “dinner” derives meant "to have breakfast." The word “breakfast” only came into general use in the 15th century, by which time a later “dinner” was the main meal of the day.

Queen Elizabeth I of England disliked gluttony and retained a reasonably slim figure. Her regular breakfast was a biscuit and undercooked boiled beefsteaks with a half pint of strong ale.

Before his execution in 1649, Charles I of England had a condemned man’s breakfast of claret and swan pie.

Oliver Cromwell's family ate for breakfast toast topped with a variety of toppings such as hot honey, ginger and cinnamon. They drank a spiced hot drink made from ale, thickened with egg yolks and sweetened with honey.

In North America Colonial housewives served popcorn with sugar and cream for breakfast. The corn was popped by means of a cylinder of thin sheet-iron that revolved on an axle in front of the fireplace

Ten years after Dorothy Jones became America’s first coffee trader in 1660, the new drink had replaced beer as  the favorite breakfast beverage for many New England colonists.

Previously in England, when making such dishes as toasted cheese, the toast was generally moistened in wine. By the turn of the 18th century, the fashion was to butter it and hot buttered toast was being eaten at breakfast.

The great 18th century Italian lover Casanova recommended eating 50 oysters for breakfast.

The Scottish economist Adam Smith (1723-1790) was notoriously absent-minded. On one occasion falling into discourse with a certain Mr Damer during breakfast, Smith took a piece of bread and butter, and after rolling it round and round put in into the teapot and poured the water to brew it. Shortly after he poured out a cup, and on tasting it declared it was the worst tea he had ever met with.

A typical seaman’s breakfast in the British navy at the turn of the 19th century was burgoo, made of boiled oatmeal seasoned with salt, sugar and butter, and accompanied by ‘Scots coffee’ - made of hard-baked ships biscuits burnt to a charcoal, then crushed and mixed with hot water.

In 1824 Boarding house keepers in New York, responding to the high cost of living, voted to serve boarders only four prunes each for breakfast.

A 19th century breakfast for an American cowboy included salt pork or bacon, and eggs, which being shipped west for considerable distances, sometimes went bad.

A typical Victorian Royal breakfast consisted of five courses. There would be an egg dish, bacon, grilled trout or turbot, a meat dish, and woodcock, snipe or chicken. But Queen Victoria herself ate only a boiled egg-scooped with a gold spoon from a gold egg cup.

French novelist George Sand ate her breakfast from the same bowl as her cat Minou

Breakfast for England's King Edward VII was eggs followed by large thick slices of bacon then fish (turbot, lobster or salmon) with finally steak or chops with a little game or poultry.

Marmalade was the breakfast of choice for Sherlock Holmes, who ate the jam with prawns on toast, calling it ‘his brain food.’

U.S. President Calvin Coolidge liked to eat breakfast in bed while having his head rubbed with vaseline.

The saying "breakfast is the most important meal of the day" was originally coined in 1944 by a marketing campaign from General Foods, the manufacturer of Grape Nuts, to sell more cereal.

In 1975, Margaret Thatcher became the first woman to lead a major British political party. Before her first Shadow Cabinet meeting, she had a breakfast of grapefruit, poached egg and coffee.

On September 24, 1989, the French Health Education committee launched a campaign for healthier breakfasts, suggesting bacon and eggs.


38% of Americans eat breakfast everyday.

Photo: SymmetryBreakfast/Instagram

31 million Americans skip breakfast every day.

Eating breakfast will help you burn from 5-20% more calories throughout the day.

The proportion of Brtish families who eat marmalade from breakfast is down from 36per cent 40 years ago to just 7per cent today. Generations of kids have been put off by the bitter taste from the use of Seville oranges from Spain and the chewy bits of peel. The result is that the market has become limited to the over 45s.

Sources Daily Mail May 30, 2012, Daily Express,  Food For Thought: Extraordinary Little Chronicles of the World by Ed Pearce

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