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For all the talk these days of healthy eating and carb-avoidance, what happened to the importance of actually getting full? Nothing sticks to your ribs like a hearty dose of protein and fat.

The full English breakfast follows that “full is good” mentality. Sure it’s a salty, greasy and meaty array of things you’re not supposed to eat, but as a post-night-out treat or a destination meal on a weekend here in England, it can’t be beat.

The “Full English,” also known across the U.K. as a “Full Irish” or “Full Scottish,” is a breakfast centered around thick, fried British bacon and sausages, fried eggs, mushrooms, a grilled tomato, toast and perhaps the most important aspect of all, baked beans. That’s what really sets it apart from similar plates in the States. Out with the hash browns, in with the beans.

The English breakfast was a dietary staple in the country until modern times, when most folks just don’t begin their day with such massive servings of pork. Still, it’s enjoyed largely as a leisurely meal on the weekend, according to the Web site www.answers.com, or as an all-day meal option as well.

The meal was known as an upper-class rural treat in the 19th century, as fresh meat was considered a highly prized asset. It wasn’t until the 20th century and the relative wealth increase of the general population that such meals became more common.

In a perfect world, we could all eat this hearty and delicious meal every day for breakfast. We’d go off to a job that had us moving around all day and burning all those calories and fat almost as quickly as we ingested them. But we’re all mainly car and desk drones these days, and such a breakfast cannot be consumed daily without a potentially massive weight gain.

Most of Britain has picked up on the unhealthy effects of this caloric binge. The BBC reported new market research in 2002 that heralded the death of the Full English.

“‘Deskfast’ fare such as cereal bars and, God forbid, fruit are preparing to dance on Full English’s grave,” according to the BBC.

Got a question about something you’ve seen or heard around the United Kingdom? E-mail us at: uknews@estripes.osd.mil.


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