Breakfast v. Brunch

Modern bacon originated in Wiltshire in the early 18th century when many pigs were imported from Ireland. Calne in Wiltshire was a regular resting place for herds of swine and was thus assured of a constant supply of pigs for curing.

The local butchers developed a method of curing pork in a brine solution known as the “Wiltshire cure” Add to this the improved supply of farmed eggs and that levelled out the seasonal availability somewhat and therefore more accessible.

By 1837, when Victoria began her sixty four year reign as queen, breakfast for the upper echelons of society consisted of eggs cooked in a variety of ways with grilled or broiled bacon.

Bacon and eggs, with either tea or coffee, had become the ‘fashionable’ way to start the day.

Preceded by porridge or creamed oatmeal and finished with toast and marmalade, both the porridge and the eggs and bacon could be cooked beforehand and left in heated dishes upon the sideboard for the master and mistress to help themselves.

Prior to that, peasants and others of the lower orders would have “broken their fast” with a warm drink (soup or tea) and a simple grain product (rice, oatmeal, bread).

This combination was thought to stimulate the stomach, preparing it for the day’s labours. The wealthier types would add cold meats, pies and sausages alongside sweetmeats and pastries.

Breakfast, like most meals, is a moveable feast that depends upon cuisine, culture, and class. Most often eaten in the early morning before undertaking the day’s work, breakfast foods vary widely from place to place but more often than not include a carbohydrate such as grains or cereals, fruit and vegetables, a protein food such as eggs, meat or fish, and a beverage such as tea, coffee or fruit juice.

Other common examples of foods include proprietary breakfast cereals, pancakes, sausages, sweet breads, mushrooms, black pudding, baked beans, muffins, crumpets and toast with butter and jam or marmalade are common examples of breakfast foods.

It has long been regarded as the most important meal of the day, citing studies that find that people who skip breakfast are disproportionately likely to have problems with concentration, metabolism, and weight.

Although many “traditional” breakfast items consumed today trace back to ancient times, few people were fortunate enough to enjoy them as is customarily promoted today. “Traditional” British breakfasts marketed to today’s holiday celebrants and vacationers are typically reminiscent of wealthy-class Victorian fare.

And then, in 1896, the Oxford English Dictionary cited Punch magazine with  coining the word brunch to describe a Sunday meal for “Saturday-night carousers”

Brunch, the word is a portmanteau of breakfast and lunch, is designed to be eaten between breakfast and lunch as an extra ‘snack’ or as a relief from the post-church ordeal of heavy meats and savoury pies of an early Sunday dinner, a new meal to be served around noon.

By eliminating the need to get up to an early breakfast on Sunday, brunch would make life brighter for those Saturday-night carousers whilst promoting human happiness in other ways!
“ . . . brunch is cheerful, sociable and inciting. It is talk-compelling. It puts you in a good temper, it makes you satisfied with yourself and your fellow beings, it sweeps away the worries and cobwebs of the week”
Guy Beringer, writing in ‘Hunter’s Weekly’, 1895

A matter of choice and depth of pocket I suppose!

This entry was posted in Bakery, Breads, The Evolution Of . . . and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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