Novelist Somerset Maugham claimed English breakfast to be the best meal of the day and recommended serving it three times a day.
English cuisine is better known for its lack of refined and heavenly specialties, but breakfast represents an exception. Here the British cooks excel. Although British Isles yield fine beef, excellent fish, superb vegetables, great berries, apples pears and all kinds of tree fruits, butter, cheese, and jams. English chefs have never achieved the excellence of their French counterparts.
French breakfast are skimpy affairs consisting mainly of croissants or baguettes served with butter and jam, and copious amounts of café au lait, but lunch and dinner are a different matter altogether.
An English breakfast starts with porridge and cream, a boiled or fried egg, served along with a few rashers of bacon or Canadian back bacon, or dainty pork sausages. Often baked beans on toast accompany eggs. (Toast is fried with lard). Coffee or tea is available for generous pours. For those with a big appetite, grilled tomatoes are available, so are more toast butter and jam. Shortbread cookies conclude the meal.
In the country estates of the nobility breakfasts took a different dimension. The family took an early morning ride, and after freshening up, a buffet groaning with the following was awaiting them: eggs any style (scrambled, fried sunny side up, easy over, omelettes, boiled, coddled, poached), sausages, grilled kidneys, rashers of bacon, ham, porridge, cold cereals, kippers, kedgeree (smoked haddock and rice), grilled tomatoes, game stew, home fried potatoes, grilled pheasant breasts, game pies, hams, toast, country breads, quince and apple jellies, marmalade, coffee and tea). Even today in well-managed upscale British Bed and breakfast establishments English breakfast is an attraction and much appreciated by tourists.
English must have understood naturally that a substantial breakfast is much better than a heavy dinner from a nutritional perspective, and healthier than a skimpy muffin, a glass of orange juice and instant coffee. Practically all medical literature recommends a substantial breakfast, light lunch and even lighter dinner. Surprisingly, in a time-pressed, modern society, people do the reverse with much unexpected and unpleasant results over time.
For many years now, hotels in Toronto have been offering sumptuous brunch buffets along the lines of an English country breakfast, and judging from long line-ups, their popularity continues although prices outpaced inflation.
Cowboys in the west get-up early and start working only after enjoying a large steak, home fried potatoes, a few fried extra-large eggs, orange juice and a few cups of coffee!
They need the calories and energy since their work demands a lot of energy!