back to article The ultimate full English breakfast – have your SAY

A turf war has broken out among the scribes at Vulture Towers North over the fried delicacies that should and should not be included in the world famous Full English gut buster Breakfast. Based as El Reg is, in deepest hipster central - East London - we've witnessed people starting their day in local coffee shops, consuming …

Full English:

2 good quality sausages

2 good quality slices of Back bacon

Fried egg (or 2)

several slices of Fried Bread

Black pudding (from good butcher - not supermarket)

mushrooms

Fried tomato

NO, and I repeat NO baked beans!!!!!!!!

Accompanied with English breakfast tea and freshly squeezed orange juice

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Fried Bread? oh Gods no...

I will stick anything in my mouth, up to and including deep-fried-battered-chocolate-covered kangaroo, but please don't make me eat Fried Bread! Just make me a cup of warm lard instead.

... and Eggs have to be fried and runny.

and Brown Sauce.

and don't put posh sausages in either. None of this Apple and Sage stuff. I like them, but no point when covered in egg yolk and brown sauce.

and only 2 vegs. Take your pick, Beans or Toms (never both,) Mushrooms, fresh Tom (but not with tinned)

And it taken after 11am, Chips. Lots of Chips...

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Re: Fried Bread? oh Gods no...

If you have room for chips, you're not eating enough meat.

( No fried bread? What's wrong with you man? )

Where's the black puddings? I could go on, but we'd fall out.

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Carbs

If a lack of a tattie scone option isn't grounds for a second Scottish independence referendum I don't know what is!

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Pirate

Dammit, it's lunch time... must be time for a Full English.

Bacon (snoked, back), sausages (butchers, not walls), tomato (halved, fried), fried egg, baked beans, fried white bread... I'm coming to eat you all! (with some brown sauce)

Black pudding has no place on my plate though.

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The ideal full English

2x Smoked Back Bacon

2x Cumberland Sausage

1 Fried Egg

2 Slice's Black Pudding

Peeled Plum Tomato's

Mushrooms

1 Black Coffee

2x Toast, buttered for the egg yolk

And peace and quiet

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Re: The ideal full English

Peace and quiet?

I think you mean Sky Sports Sunday Supplement?

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Rol

Betting on breakfast

many years ago, I used to rent a room in my mates house, who being veggie, insisted the whole house was veggie.

No problem, as just down the road was a brilliant cafe.

Full breakfast was a feast:- thick cut bacon and black pudding, with everything else in similarly, go large, quantities. After eating, it was arguable whether I was affixed to the planet or the planet was affixed to me.

Well such a feast didn't come quick, so with time to spare I amused myself on one of the many poker machines or pinball machines they had. By the time the meal turned up, I had usually clocked up about a tenners profit which they duly paid out. (Obviously not always, but on sufficient enough occasions for me to have eaten there for years at no cost)

Years later a friend mentioned the place had featured in the Guardian's good food guide, and I thought I'd make an effort to call back....What a disappointment. The gambling machines had gone, the ethos of service had been replaced with some perverse take on profit maximisation and the food no longer satisfied at any level, be that quality, quantity or value.

How is it that we're told the world is moving forward, when experience suggests the opposite is true?

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Anonymous Coward

Definative list

Includes:

Back bacon (smoked)

Eggs (fried, soft yolk)

Sausages (pork)

Beans (baked)

Bread (toasted sliced white with butter)

Bread (fried)

Mushrooms (fried)

Sauce (red)

Abominations to avoid:

Hash browns

Grilled tomatoes

Black pudding

Brown sauce

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Sausage - Cheap and cheerful

Definitely! I bought some gluten-free sausages recently by (expensive) mistake. 97% meat may be wonderful if you're coeliac, but they're not a proper banger.

Another major feature of a fried breakfast has to be the presence of 'burnt crunchy bits' which I agree with Terry Pratchett forms one of the four main food groups (the others of course being sugar, starch and grease)

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Re: Sausage - Cheap and cheerful

"the presence of 'burnt crunchy bits' which I agree with Terry Pratchett forms one of the four main food groups"

Absolutely! I've heard it said that burnt toast, and fried to black bits of food in general can be carcinogenic. As an ex-smoker, I'm prepared to take one for the team. All fried items MUST have some black crunchy bits. It's underdone if they aren't there.

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The Full English of choice

Smoked back bacon

Lincolnshire sausages

Fried eggs, sunny-side up, runny yolk

Black pudding

Fried mushrooms - but never out of a tin

Tomato, halved and grilled

Baked beans, provided they're actually cooked and seasoned and not just decanted from a tin and heated

Hash browns - Controversial! But England is practically defined by nicking all the best bits from other cultures and incorporating them (see also: tea, coffee, tomatoes)

Thick-cut wholemeal toast

Quantities all to choice

And Brown Sauce

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Can't believe this is causing an argument!

Tsk, people are missing the point badly here. Plus I can't believe there's this much argument about it!

The defining feature of a Full English Breakfast is that, with the sole exception of the mug of tea (refillable on demand preferably), is that it can be entirely cooked in a single frying pan loaded with approx 1/2" deep molten lard.

This automatically rules out:

- Poached, boiled or scrambled eggs - they all have their place, and it's not on an English Breakfast plate.

- Plum tomatoes (unless you're bold and have skin like leather, boy to those fellas spit)

- Hash browns (a Colonial treat - but not at breakfast time)

- Baked beans (also a colonial import)

- Absolutely anything green

You may, if your frying pan is not sufficiently large, substitute all but 1/2 slice of fried bread with toast, generously spread with real butter, and left to soak in. This will be used to mop up the leftover lard & any sauces you may have applied later.

The perfect breakfast IMHO: Fry all of the following in the same pan - Bacon (smoked back bacon, cooked until tender, never crispy), sausages, eggs, bread, mushrooms, black pudding, a whole tomato halved, white pudding if available. Any possible arterial damage is addressed with several cups of strong white tea.

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Happy

Full North British

Sausage(s) - cheap but non gristly

Bacon - well cooked but not shatter when cut

(fried) Egg(s) - runny yolks a must

Black pudding - this is the very base of a FBB

Haggis slices - comfort food for us exiles!

Mushrooms - fried in the bacon grease is nice

Beans OR Tomatoes - not both as they interfere with each other

500Mg Statins

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Re: Full North British

In the north, it's got to be cumberland or lincolnshire sausages for a full english. Anything else is just being cheap or lazy.

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British Standard 3512 Breakfast

Don't know the ISO code.

note- best quality, local ingredients should be used in all cases, and fried in lard.

contains

No less than two (2) rashers of back bacon (smoked or unsmoked, depending on availability)

No less than two (2) Link Sausages

Two (2) fried eggs - yolks runny, consistent with Standard 3517.

one (1) piece of black pudding.

Two (2) pieces of fried bread

1/4 cup of baked beans

1/4 cup of mushrooms (fried)

served with British Standard Tea [BS 6008}, (http://www.mus-ic.co.uk/images/blog/2006-04-27/bs_6008.pdf )

and a rack of four [4] slices of white bread toast.

Tomato sauce should be made available if required.

Regional additions are encouraged, without substitution of main ingredients.

======================

In my case the addition of

Lorne Sausage

2 Hash Browns

Extra link Sausage

Potato scone

Scrambled egg (1/4 cup)

Availability of HP sauce

The addition of anything green (garnish, green bits in bubble and squeak etc.) is strictly verboten.

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Re: British Standard 3512 Breakfast

I'm disappointed to find there isn't an RFC on the subject.

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Happy

Re: British Standard 3512 Breakfast

At last!

Someone who understands that wimpy cooking oils simply won't do. Lard it is.

However, nobody seems to have mentioned another essential - fried onions (until almost but not quite crisp).

The fried bread should be doorstop grade. None of this 3/16th inch thick rubbish.

The waiting staff need to pay proper attention to regional preferences. Black pudding is an insult to a Southerner - it's absence an insult to Northerners.

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Anonymous Coward

The caption picture looks far too much like the over-priced poncey stuff you'd get in a hipster cafe, baked beans in a separate bowl ?

Where's the fried bread and sausages ?

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Anonymous Coward

British Breakfast.

As long as its followed by a good shit and an harry does it matter?

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IT Angle

Live and let fry

There's some opinions being expressed in a fairly dogmatic way here.

For what it's worth, the best Full English I've been served was in Grangemouth, about 5 minutes' walk from the Kelpies. Diplomatically, it's called neither "Full English" nor "Full Scottish".

Haggis and black pudding, back bacon (thickly sliced), decent meaty sausages, fried egg, mushrooms, and a potato scone.

Baked beans I can take or leave, tomatoes (fresh, grilled) are hardly ever cooked properly, but I do enjoy a hash brown or two, and they tend to be more consistently well-cooked than fried bread.

If I'm at a Premier Inn this'll be preceded by a bowl of fruit with yoghourt, and followed with a croissant.

I continue to be baffled by the "Full Welsh" breakfast - there doesn't seem to be any distinguishing characteristic from the English variety.

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Vic
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Re: Live and let fry

I continue to be baffled by the "Full Welsh" breakfast - there doesn't seem to be any distinguishing characteristic from the English variety.

WDA subsidy?

Vic.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Live and let fry

"there doesn't seem to be any distinguishing characteristic from the English variety."

Its basically the same as fair trade chocolate. Its more expensive but shittier than the normal stuff but its helping a less fortunate race to feel empowered.

I'm sorry Wales, I do love your country but your lack of internet and therefore ability to defend yourself makes you a very easy and satisfying target.

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Re: Live and let fry

The unique ingredient should be Laverbread - rolled in oatmeal and fried in the fat from the bacon.

And of course the bacon and sos should be local. And the staff in the cafe should make rude comments about you in Welsh.

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Pint

The breakfasts in our "French company ran" canteen onsite are shite. Cheapest of everything and tight portions n'all. Hence why I try sample the local cafes when I can. Support ya local businesses people. A good walking breakfast is the BEST... Bacon, Egg, Sausage and Tomato in a large breadcake (breadbun to anyone not from Hull). Not quite a Flinglish, but Quality.

If making at home though:-

Lincolnshire, Cumberland, or just a good quality Pork sausage (2)

Decent dry cured unsmoked back bacon (2 or 3 slices)

Fried eggs - I like mine done quickly in lard in a hot pan so you get a slightly crispy bottom but still a runny yolk for dipping. usually have a couple. Don't forget to flick the hot lard on the top of the egg while its in the pan.

Fried mushrooms

Black Pudding (2 or 3 thick slices)

Tinned or Fresh Toms - Tinned I let reduce down so not too wattery. Fresh toms I fry until mush.

Fried bread - White sliced, cheap as ya like fried in bacon fat or lob it in the egg pan. Takes two ticks.

Beans - If I'm in the mood.

YORKSHIRE Tea deffo. Wet and Warm however it comes for the authentic Truck Stop/Greasy Spoon feels.

All that can be eaten any time of the day or night, even for me tea where its called a Fryup.

Extra points for having a Flinglish with pints of Stella whilst watching the World Cup at dawn. Hence Beer icon.

Check out Kay's good cooking... This is erm proper erm "cookin" ;) My presentation skills are better!

https://youtu.be/0hqVddkHf7Y

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I'm gonna get a few downvotes for this one I think....

Bacon, lots of Sausage, lots of Mushrooms, Scrambled Eggs, Fried Bread, splodge of Haggis stuff, Beans (yeah, bit of cheese melted into em is a good idea) Hash Brown...

Brown Sauce.

Black Pudding is an acceptable replacement for the Haggis.

and a pot of coffee that's strong enough to wake up a Frenchman...

non of this tea or tomatoes crap...

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Down voted, but with the greatest of respect such as is owed to one so misled by life thus far as to want coffee, not tea, with their breakfast.

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the problem I have with Tea in the UK is that its cheap nasty crap swept up from the floor of the factory/farm buildings in India or China...

Go to Taiwan if you want a cup of tea, (don't bother getting a coffee over there though)

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Fried bread should never be like warm lard. It should be dropped into smoking fat, turned and served within seconds and it'll be dry and crisp. Smear marmite on one side before frying for an extra zing.

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Thumb Down

"marmite"

Down voted. With such vengeance I nearly broke my mouse button!

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Marmite, and it's cousin Vegemite, are a food of the gawd/esses. You don't deserve a mouse after spouting such slander!

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Anonymous Coward

Bacon - Middle cut, must have crispy rind still on for extra pork scratching flavour.

Eggs - Fried (this is a fry up after all) runny yolk's a must.

Sausages - Traditional butchers pork.

Black pudding - Yes but not that sh*te with big lumps of fat in it.

Lambs kidney - Halved, cleaned and fried, hint of pink in the middle.

Tomato - Fresh, halved, fried.

Mushrooms - Lots of little ones or 1 big flat.

Fried Bread - Nice and crisp.

Bubble & Squeak - Plenty of crusty brown bits.

Beans - Never! If there's room on the plate, add more sausages, bacon, eggs etc. instead.

Sauce - Brown

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TRT
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Ooh! The kidney option. Not seen that in a while.

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Facepalm

spam, spam, eggs, and spam

and bacon. lots of bacon.

and fried eggs only.

and no sauce.

and a thick slice of pumpernickel with butter

and more bacon.

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Anonymous Coward

Haejangguk (해장국)

I am not a big breakfast eater, but when I need to get something decent to revive after a long night, I go for Haejangguk or similar at the next breakfast eatery. You'll have to move to the right neighborhood to find it though.

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Re: Haejangguk (해장국)

"I go for Haejangguk"

Yuk! Sounds disgusting! So likely it's very, very tasty! :-)

Not sure I've ever seen a Korean eatery of any kind around this neck of the woods thought.

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NTFS

Full English should be eaten with a hangover, preferably in works time.

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Re: NTFS

What's that you say? NTFS is a hangover?

More likely "designed which being subjected to a hangover.."

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Anonymous Coward

Black pudding

The short answer is that black pudding can be included provided the pigs were raised by a local farmer.

Does anyone else remember Mankinholes Youth Hostel (and Ruth Halliwell -I think - the warden) in the 1970s, where the breakfast was almost entirely local sourced and the eggs were so fresh and laden with protein that the yolks stood up in a hemisphere? Now I have to go and have a quiet nostalge.

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Fried eggs should be

crisp and dark brown around the edges from being bubbled in immense heat. I'm fed up with places that fry with a gentle heat so that the egg is left with the smooth white texture of a poached egg. If I want a poached egg I'll have one. Fried eggs should look fried; that's the point. Yolk runny, of course, and the top white cooked by basting with the hot oil.

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Pint

Proper Breakfast

A proper breakfast really should include Canadian Bacon. The only problem, though, is that if you go to Canada, and try to order Canadian Bacon, all you'll get will be strange stares. :-(

Dave

P.S. Hey, yeah, beer for breakfast.

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Re: Proper Breakfast

In Canada, we call what Americans call "Canadian Bacon" garbage. I don't know how Americans took the idea of good back bacon, then threw it out and started selling slightly fried slices of ham and calling it "Canadian Bacon". Sacrilegious.

Obviously I'm not voting on the Full British thing as I'm not qualified.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Proper Breakfast

"Canadian Bacon" is a term akin to "Military Intelligence", entirely illogical.

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Full Irish

none of this grilling nonsense

Fried soda bread x 2 slices

Fried eggs x 2

Fried smoked rashers x2

Fried sausages x 2

Fried tomato

Fried black / white pudding

Baked beans - haven't found a way to fry those yet...

Pot of Barrys or Lyons

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Fried bread, brown, toast if absolutely necessary

Tomatoes, tinned is fine, or fried and halved or both

Beans, preferably with a dash of Worcester Sauce.

Sausage - Cumberland

eggs, runny yolk fried.

Tea, classic English Breakfast tea

Bacon, thick and chewy

Maybe a small amount of black pudding as I'm just getting into it, never liked it before.

fug it, If we are going to do fat, Chips as well. Barbecue sauce.

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It should always be back bacon (dry cured). Sausages should be pork, with a high meat content; I second (or maybe hundred) Cumberland as a good option. Mushrooms should be incinerated and tossed in a bin. Beans are fine, and I don't mind either fried or scrambled eggs. A fried slice would be a good idea (white bread, NOT any brown, mealy crap), although I have a predilection for hashbrowns as well. I have a mild horror of cooked tomatoes (especially the tinned monstrosities). Black pudding isn't my favourite thing, but I probably won't throw it away if it turns up. Sauce-wise - worcestershire. Tea - builder's, and supermarket own brand is fine.

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No dog in this fight

As my handle indicates, I have no right to contribute. But questions of right never trouble us in the commentariat, here is a fragment from Hilaire Belloc:

"I should very much like to know what those who have an answer to everything can say about the food requisite to breakfast? Those great men Marlowe and Jonson, Shakespeare, and Spenser before him, drank beer at rising, and tamed it with a little bread. In the regiment we used to drink black coffee without sugar, and cut off a great hunk of stale crust, and eat nothing more till the halt: for the matter of

that, the great victories of '93 were fought upon such unsubstantial meals; for the Republicans fought first and ate afterwards, being in this quite unlike the Ten Thousand. Sailors I know eat nothing for

some hours--I mean those who turn out at four in the morning; I could give the name of the watch, but that I forget it and will not be plagued to look up technicalities. Dogs eat the first thing they come

across, cats take a little milk, and gentlemen are accustomed to get up at nine and eat eggs, bacon, kidneys, ham, cold pheasant, toast, coffee, tea, scones, and honey, after which they will boast that their

race is the hardiest in the world and ready to bear every fatigue in the pursuit of Empire. But what rule governs all this? Why is breakfast different from all other things, so that the Greeks called

it the best thing in the world, and so that each of us in a vague way knows that he would eat at breakfast nothing but one special kind of food, and that he could not imagine breakfast at any other hour in the

day?"

I guess he was English: he served in Parliament, though the regiment he refers to was French.

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Anonymous Coward

Full English

I've lived all over Britain, born in the Midlands, worked in the West Country, South Wales, Scotland, and London/Home Counties. I think the Full English can consist optionally of any of the following:

Egg - preferably fried with a soft yolk, but "well-done" fried and arguably scrambled (with plenty of butter) are acceptable. Poached, or other dodgy new-age garbage, is clearly unacceptable.

Bacon - either back or streaky, fried in preference to grilling.

Sausage - preferably good pork sausage, fried in preference to grilling.

Black pudding - definite place for a good piece of fried black pudding. White pudding seems a little too regional to qualify.

Fried mushrooms and tomato - common across much of the UK, and perfectly valid additions.

Bubble and Squeak - popular in parts of Britain. Probably the only other vegetable dish that can be on the plate without losing focus. Hash Browns are definitely too American to qualify, as are things like potato waffles.

Fried bread - for me one of the killer features of a real English Breakfast. Make sure it is fried in the fat that has dripped out of the sausages. It should also be fried on both sides, no one-sided French garbage.

The following though are marginal:

Toast - toast with marmite or jam or marmalade might be yummy enough, but seems distinctly out of place as part of a full english. I think you can argue reasonably for it as a starter or pudding before or after your full english, but not at the same time.

Baked beans - no - seems a little too American for my liking, and strictly probably descends from Cassoulet, making it too French for a "Full English". Also, by not being fried, it doesn't deserve a place in a quality fry-up.

The key criteria for me for a full English is that you should be able to cook it all at the same time in the same frying pan and in the same lard (or dripping at a push).

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A proper full english includes (in my opinion):

4 rashers of smoked back bacon

2 proper english sausages

Baked beans

Mushrooms

2 fried eggs on top of:

2 slices of fried bread

Bubble & Squeek

2 hash browns

Thin slices of potatoe, fried

Black pudding

and on the side:

Buttered bread

The finest brown sauce

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Facepalm

English vs. American

There are two things that distinguish an English breakfast from a breakfast you can get at any decent American diner:

1) Blood Pudding - this is mandatory

2) Brown sauce - if you have a sauce, this is the only choice

The rest of the details are negotiable as long as fried and runny are the primary adjectives.

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