How great is the “Great British Breakfast?”

By | Category: Travel rumblings
Is this a "Great British Breakfast?"

Is this a “Great British Breakfast?”

I was sitting in a small hotel in Edinburgh awaiting breakfast. A group of six Italians were opposite me and when breakfast – the full monty – was brought to them, the elderly man whom I took to be the grandfather gave it a long, hard look.

It wasn’t just for seconds that he looked at his plate of bacon, sausage, fried egg, baked beans, tomato (uncooked) and potato waffle. It had to be at least a full minute. The expression on his face didn’t alter but the cogs of his brain were definitely whirring. He gazed at the plate and I could see his eyes mentally trying to understand each part of this “Great British Breakfast.”

Perhaps he was just being wary because moments earlier he had gone to the breakfast bar and helped himself to a slice of brown bread (obviously from a well-known supplier of standard  bread products to supermarkets rather than from a bakers) and some of that plastic cheese which has been cut into slices and then enveloped in a plastic wallet that you have to peel off before it can be eaten. He had had difficulty removing the plastic and, at one stage, tried to knife to peel away the cheese from the stuck wrapper.

I thought that having undergone that ruinous breakfast experience, his wariness about trying the Great British Breakfast might be justified. As it was, it was about the same as you might get at any greasy spoon up and down our countries. There was lots of it, it was edible and you wouldn’t complain about it but spectacular it wasn’t.

Was I expecting too much?

I have had some wonderful great British breakfasts wherever I have travelled although I would say that the best tend to be in small hotels, pubs and guest houses. Larger hotels tend to try to be clever or produce exactly what I had at this hotel.

Which is a shame because when a breakfast is properly prepared and cooked, it deserves its epithet. Local sausages and bacon accompanied by farm fresh eggs, field mushrooms, beautifully prepared black pudding, maybe fried potatoes and baked bread that has taste to it can make breakfasts memorable.

But if the Italians are anything to go by, they don’t see the best breakfast that can be served. They see the results of something that is slung together in minutes and, because it is hard to really make an absolute mess of a breakfast, think that that is what the Great British Breakfast is.

How about a campaign to restore the British breakfast to its greatness again?

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