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A full breakfast is a substantial cooked breakfast meal, often served in the United Kingdom and Ireland. It typically includes bacon, sausages, eggs, black pudding, baked beans, tomatoes, mushrooms, toast, fried bread and a beverage such as coffee or tea. Hash browns are a common contemporary but non-traditional inclusion. Ingredients may extend beyond these or include regional variants, which may often be referred to by different names depending on the area. While it is colloquially known as a "fry-up" in most areas of the United Kingdom and Ireland, it is usually referred to as a "full English" (often "full English breakfast"), a "full Irish", "full Scottish", "full Welsh", and "Ulster fry", in England, the Republic of Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, respectively.
Many of the ingredients of a full breakfast have long histories, but "large cooked breakfasts do not figure in English life and letters until the 19th century, when they appeared with dramatic suddenness". Across the British Isles and Ireland, early modern breakfasts were often breads served with jams or marmalades, or else forms of oatmeal, porridge or pottage. Eggs and bacon started to appear in breakfasts in the seventeenth century, but they were not the only meats consumed in breakfasts at that time. The rising popularity of breakfast was closely tied to the rise of tea as a popular morning drink. Of note were the lavish breakfasts of the aristocracy, which would centre on local meats and fishes from their country estates.
The fried breakfast became popular in Great Britain and Ireland during the Victorian era. Cookbooks were important in the fixing of the ingredients of a full breakfast during this time, and the full breakfast appeared in the best-selling Isabella Beeton's Book of Household Management (1861). This new full breakfast was a pared-down version of the country breakfasts of the upper-class, affordable to the emergent middle classes and able to be prepared and consumed in a shorter time before a day's work. The full breakfast reached its peak of popularity in Edwardian Britain, and despite a decline following the food shortages of World War II, new technologies of food storage and preparation allowed it to become a staple of the working class in the 1950s. Since then the full breakfast has reduced in popularity as a daily meal, due to perceived concerns about health and its lengthy preparation compared to convenience-food breakfasts. However the meal remains popular as an occasional, celebratory or traditional breakfast.
It is so popular in Great Britain and Ireland that many cafés and pubs offer the meal at any time of day as an "all-day breakfast". It is also popular in many Commonwealth nations. The full breakfast is among the most internationally recognised British dishes along with bangers and mash, shepherd's pie, fish and chips, roast beef, Sunday roast, cream tea and the Christmas dinner.
"Full English breakfast" redirects here. For the tea, see English breakfast tea.
"Irish breakfast" redirects here. For the tea, see Irish breakfast tea.
There is no fixed menu or set of ingredients for a full breakfast. A common traditional English breakfast typically includes back bacon sausage links (usually pork), eggs (fried, poached or scrambled), fried or grilled tomatoes, fried mushrooms, bread, traditionally both fried bread and toast, black pudding, and baked beans. Bubble and squeak is a traditional accompaniment but is now more commonly replaced by hash browns.
A poll by YouGov in 2017 found the following to be on more than 50% of 'ideal' Full English breakfasts: bacon; sausage; beans; bread (either toast or fried); eggs (fried, scrambled or poached); hash browns; mushrooms (fried or grilled); and tomatoes (fried, grilled or tinned). Black pudding was the least popular of the traditional ingredients, chosen 35% of the time, and 26% of people included either chips or sautéed potatoes.
Buttered toast, and jam or marmalade, are often served at the end of the meal, although toast is generally available throughout the meal.
As nearly everything is fried in this meal, it is commonly known as a "fry-up". In the UK it is sometimes referred to as a "Full Monty". One theory for the origin of this term is that British Army general Bernard Montgomery, nicknamed 'Monty', was said to have started every day with a "Full English" breakfast while on campaign in North Africa during the Second World War.
Vegetarian or vegan alternatives can be made or are available in cafes and restaurants. Meat alternative sausages and bacon may often be used, with either scrambled tofu or egg substitutes. The role of the mushroom and tomatoes is generally larger in these versions.
In Ireland, brown soda bread, fried potato farls, white pudding and boxty are often included.
The "breakfast roll", consisting of elements of the full breakfast served in a French roll, has become popular in Ireland due to the fact it can be easily eaten on the way to school or work. The breakfast roll is available from many petrol stations and corner shops throughout Ireland.
In Ulster, the northern province of the island of Ireland, the "Ulster fry" variant is popular throughout the province chiefly in Northern Ireland, parts of County Donegal, northern County Monaghan and some parts of northern County Cavan where it is eaten not only at breakfast time but throughout the day. Typically it will include soda bread farls and potato bread.
In Scotland there are some distinctively Scottish elements of the full breakfast which include Scottish style or Stornoway black pudding, Lorne sausage (sometimes called "square sausage" for its traditional shape), Ayrshire middle bacon and tattie scones. Occasionally haggis, white pudding, fruit pudding or oatcakes are included.
Early editions of Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable referred to a Scotch breakfast as "a substantial breakfast of sundry sorts of good things to eat and drink".
Two key ingredients that distinguish the Welsh breakfast from the other "full" variations are cockles (Welsh: cocs) and laverbread (Welsh: bara lafwr or bara lawr) (an edible seaweed purée often mixed with oatmeal and fried). Fried laver with cockles and bacon was the traditional breakfast for mine workers in the South Wales Coalfield, but a breakfast may have also included Welsh sausages, mushrooms and eggs.
See also: List of American breakfast foods
This style of breakfast was brought over by Irish and British immigrants to the United States and Canada, where it has endured.
A few establishments in Hong Kong offer all-day breakfast or brunch options (hybrid of English and North American items) from formal restaurants to low-frills establishments.
The Irish might have soda bread, a potato pancake called boxty, white pudding (what you're used to, but with oatmeal in it) or black pudding (the same, but with blood cooked in).
The Scots like to have tattie (potato) scones, fruit pudding (actually a sausage made with very little fruit), and, of course, their curse on the earth, haggis.
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((cite book)): CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
Laverbread, not actually bread at all but seaweed, is rolled in oatmeal, fried into crisp patties and served with eggs, bacon and fresh cockles for a traditional Welsh breakfast.